The same old story unfolds and makes it to the headlines :
"In a road accident five persons were injured, two of them seriously, when the Van they were travelling in rolled down into a gorge in Lag valley of Kullu district on Thursday morning. All injured were rushed to Kullu hospital for treatment."
"A CTU bus crushed a cyclist and injured three others included a scooter rider woman in a road accident at Kala Gram Light point on Madhya Marg on Tuesday. The bus driver escaped from the spot. The accident triggered around 1km long traffic jam."
"Five persons included three engineering students and an NRI couple killed and over two dozen others injured in a road accident between HImachal roadways Volvo and one Swift at the light point sector 45/46 on late Friday night. Injured were included an one-year old daughter of NRI couple from UK, England."
"A major road accident at Periyapatna in Mysore district claims nine lives including that of three children. Accident involved a tempo traveller and a lorry."
These headlines makes me stay miles away from newspapers. It ignites an unbearable pain in my gut; I feel their pain. The pain of losing somebody, the pain of losing body part or the pain of living in a paralysed state for life. Being a speech, language pathologist and audiologist, RTA (Road Traffic Accident) patients are common to me.
True RTA incidents of my patients (won't disclose their names) -
As usual she was riding her Honda activa to work. She was 43 years old living a middle class life with husband and her two kids. A Maruti swift over took her Activa only to immediately brake in front of her. She lost her balance and fell down. No external injuries other than few scratches here and there. She got up only to feel dizzy and began vomiting and fell down again. She had internal brain damage due to the fall and when she woke up in the hospital she could hardly understand anybody or talk. I didn't know how to counsel her husband who was left with two children and a wife whose recovery chances seemed less than his high hopes. For the many years to come, she requires therapy and constant medical attention. It is not about money or time but about the emotions. He had lost his wife (even though she was alive) to the stupidity of a car driver.
A north Indian male married to a very beautiful south Indian female. Seven years of love and four years of marriage, life seemed no less for this couple. They had to go through their share of hurdles to convince their parents for an inter-caste/inter-state marriage. However, groom's family never agreed and without their blessings these two got married. They had a beautiful baby girl of two years. When I saw him, he was bedridden, with multiple fractures, no speech, no communication and it wouldn't be wrong if I say he was no more than a vegetable. One more RTA and this time it not only hit him but also their dreams and shattered them. I never saw his wife cry though (which is very common) and she always smiled and encouraged him. Little did she know that the prognosis was very poor. All I could do was boost her hopes and tell to hang in there. With so much pain in my heart I have cursed that driver who hit this man so badly and did not even stop to get him to a hospital.
This is my life. And now I just don't feel like working in any hospitals. It is filled with pain, sorrow, grief and everything that is going wrong in the society. I can't even share my heavy heart with my husband as it makes him sad as well. So here I am pouring my heart out when given an opportunity.
Watch this video before reading further and decide if your rash driving is worth it!!! Not an Indian made video but sends across a beautiful message. Show you Little finger to all those who break traffic rules and tell them how small they are!!!!
Now if you are convinced let's proceed further
To avoid these accidents and breaking every bone, every dream, every heart, I feel we should follow these simple measures (nothing that we don't know) -
1. Avoid over speeding
2. Be careful while changing lanes and do indicate
3. Before taking turns, make sure you are in the right lane
4. Driving is not a competition, so don't overtake unnecessarily
5. Wear your seat belts while driving and helmets while riding
6. Do not drink and drive
7. Follow the traffic signals, no matter how much hurry you are in
8. Never use mobile phones while driving
9. Drive in the appropriate speeding lanes and always on the left side of the road in India
10. Stop chit chatting while driving; driver needs to concentrate
11. Vehicles are not for fun; stop showing your stunts
12. Definitely no romance while driving (Don't laugh, I have seen it)
13. Do not use high beam headlights unless necessary and say no to those "yellow" lights
14. If you are a learner, then take along an experienced driver with you and focus
15. Maintain a proper gap between vehicles; they may be having powerful brake but you don't and if you do, the one behind you doesn't!!!
16. Pedestrians wait for your green signal to cross roads
17. Always use Zebra crossing to cross roads
"As responsible citizens we should follow these rules for safety and not for the police. I see people wearing helmets without buckling it. What is the use? The moment they fall, helmet will be outside their head and their brain on the road!!!"
How about implementing these rules???? Just my opinion -
1. I got my driving license ten years ago when I could hardly drive. May be in India, we get license very easily. I believe license tests should be made very strict and only those who truly deserve should be given the license.
2. Just by paying 100 rupees bribe we can get through breaking any traffic rules. I believe this practice should be strictly monitored. Breaking traffic rules should be considered as a serious offence and punished severely (like 10 thousand rupees or three days in prison). So that the mere thought of punishment makes nobody break traffic rules.
3. As people of this country, if we see anybody breaking any traffic rules we should stop them and advice them to follow these rules. If they don't abide or argue back, take down their number, their photograph (of not wearing seat belt for example) and report it to the traffic police or may be we can have a separate helpline for this.
4. And by any chance if we hit somebody then it is our responsibility to take the person to a nearby hospital and get him treated. Most of us slip away to avoid punishments but what if the law punishes less for a person who takes the responsibility of admitting the victim than the ones who run away? May be then more people will come forward to help.
I know bringing these changes in India is not easy. Most of the villages don't even have proper roads. But in metros and cities these can and should be implemented. Awareness is important and Nissan is doing a great job of spreading awareness regarding road safety.
I hope everybody pledges to keep our roads and lives safe!!!
This post is written as a part of IndiBlogger contest in association with Nissan Safety Driving Forum. For more information please check their website https://www.nissan.in/innovation/NSDF.html
"The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., conducts the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India as part of its safety driving promotion activities. The program began as an annual activity in 2012. The overall reach and engagement levels have phenomenally grown and NSDF has effectively reached close to 2 lakh citizens. It continues to stay committed to its core objective of promoting safe driving behaviour in India. NSDF also conducts live simulated experiences to understand how safety features function through a simulated car crash. A 360-degree turn over highlights the use of seatbelts, while sessions on road safety emphasises on road etiquette to stay safe. NSDF encourages drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts, and participants learn through interactive activities the importance of wearing seatbelts. Nissan seeks to support reducing fatalities and injuries caused by traffic accidents, and NSDF represents the company's commitment in contributing to young, vibrant and mobile India."