India – On the “Road” to recovery?

It was three am in the morning, and my husband and I were driving up to the airport along with my in-laws. My mother-in-law was leaving town to visit my niece a.k.a her granddaughter for her first birthday party. She was really excited and the trip and I was thrilled about experimental cooking once she leaves. (Come on, a girl’s gotta eat!)I was riding shot-gun and I am O.C.D about seatbelts. Gratefully, his car starts bleeping when the driver’s and the passenger seat belts’ are not firmly intact. He got around to wearing his seat-belt after getting that blessed car.

After teary farewells and a successful check-in, she boarded her flight and gave us the green signal to leave the airport.

It was almost four-thirty by the time we cruised on to the high-way roads. When we were almost nearing the Adyar Bridge Signal, this truck dude popped out of nowhere and he skidded right in front of us with his rear tanker poised a few feet away from the hood of our car, still skidding. That douche-bag was entirely drunk and both his headlights were switched OFF and he had no rear-reflectors that could tick off his presence.

He had no clue that a car was coming in the opposite direction and since it was a junction road and nobody bothers about the traffic lights four-thirty am in the morning that issue was conveniently ignored. He finally got a hang of his ridiculous truck and stopped it just in time. Otherwise, we would have been gloriously burdened with his rear-tanker. My husband and my father-in-law had a swearing row with a man that was partially conscious of his actions.

This is not a tale, but merely a hint at the road situation in Chennai, Tamil-Nadu, India, where nobody gives a damn about the rules or about drunken driving. The truck drivers deliberately down the alcohol and go for a spin ride. All I could think of were the negative possibilities that could have transpired that morning.

You think the truck drivers are nasty, wait until you hear about the high and mighty pedestrians. They run in front of speeding cars on highways, the lord alone knows if it is just for the fun of it. They let their children out on the loose and blame the accidents on the driver and get compensated. And the other unbearable instance that you encounter on a daily basis, getting onto a running bus! I mean, haven’t you read enough news articles and watched clippings to know that it is extremely hazardous to do so?!

I would like to elucidate this little term that defines the manner of the pedestrians’ misbehaviour on the roads. Jaywalking/Jay-crossing is the term describing the illegal or reckless crossing of a roadway by a pedestrian. It is not illegal in our country as it the population does not compromise the circumstances. The low level of traffic control means that jaywalking is often more of a necessity to a pedestrian and is rarely punished outside of major commercial hubs such as Singapore. It is quite common scenario, given the level of traffic that pedestrians eventually will walk out into oncoming traffic and effectively pave out a route to the other end of the road.

Do you have some of those annoying friends, who gamble their lives along with yours when they listen to music plugging in BOTH the earphones whilst driving a ruddy two-wheeler? Well, of course you do! They won’t listen to you rambling on about the rules, obviously. So, what do we do in situations like that? How do we convince them not potentially kill ourselves in the process of getting to a destination?

It is quite simple actually, HIDE THEIR EAR-PHONES. Make sure that your rat-bag of a friend never finds his/her earphones when she is about to drive her two-wheeled vehicle. They might get agitated or aggravated, but put their safety before the little brawls. The long and chatty conversations with their boyfriends or girlfriends will just have to wait. Some losers actually think they can text and drive at the same time?! Punch them in the face (okay, not really!), knock some sense into them and give yourself some credit, you are saving TWO LIVES!

Especially, in a city like Chennai where hand-signals (occasional hand-waving is so not qualified) are not considered to be a form of communication and buzzing the loud horns is the only method of alerting the people riding along-side you (More like scare the crap out of you). Some believe that using indicator signals on the vehicle would make you too much of a Mr. /Ms. Goody-two-shoes if you do so, on the road.

In my experience on the road, I have always found that multiple people riding in a single two-wheeler could be nothing but asking for trouble. It is wiser to avoid such imprudent situations instead of losing control of the vehicle in the middle of the road!

How can I forget the treasurable bike messengers and paid-up cab drivers who takes the phrase ‘run like the wind, bulls-eye’ (toy-story reference) too seriously? They are the key elements in creating the perfect time-bomb, on a road. Evidently, their job requirements maybe “need for speed”, but that should not be at the cost of others’ lives on the line. People should start to value their lives more than a cold pizza (Which can be heated up in a micro-wave!).

Road-safety cannot be attainted over-night and it is the need of the hour, which is what we have all been working towards for quite a long time and continue to work for as well. And that is just what Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. aims at accomplishing. They have launched an annual programme that urges this very obligation called the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India as part of its safety driving promotion activities, initially launched in 2012. They have come a long way branching out from New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai to several other cities like Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Mangalore and Kochi.

They have grown phenomenally and have corroborated a startling 126% growth in the sensitisation of wearing seat-belts. Not only that, they also have this cool initiative where they let the drivers indulge in the live simulated experiences to comprehend how the safety features activate during a car-crash. It also includes a 360-degree turn over which emphasizes on the usage of seatbelts during the sessions in progress on road safety. This focalises on road etiquette to stay safe.

NDSF’s mechanism comprises of working towards creating an awareness of driving safely in India, beneath their Blue Citizenship banner. They urge passengers and drivers to travel safely by wearing their seat-belts and also high-light their importance. Their ultimate goal is to spread the cognizance of the repercussion of traffic accidents and its causalities.

Topic: Responsibility on the road is not just towards one’s own self but also to the other motorists and pedestrians. In a blog post, tell us what steps, according to you, would help with road safety in India.

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ndsfThis post is a part of Nissan India’s Nissan Safety Driving Forum contest in collaboration with IndiBlogger

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