Be Careful of the New Hazards of Corona Crisis

Bob Rupani Updated: May 21, 2020, 04:55 PM IST

With the easing of COVID-19 lockdown norms, a lot of vehicles have begun venturing onto our streets, especially in cities like Delhi and Bengaluru. Over the next few weeks when norms are eased further, we shall see even more people starting to move about. While this is necessary for the economy, it's also very important that we do not let our guard down.

We will surely take precautions against getting infected with the virus, but at the same time we also need to be very cautious and mindful about some other new hazards of this corona crisis. Motorists in particular must exercise complete caution and protect themselves from new corona crisis-related risks like -

Dangerous Driving

Most people have not driven for almost two months. So they will be rusty and the driving and riding competence of lots of them is likely to be compromised. Even a champion batsman like Rohit Sharma has said that because of lack of practice and somewhat sluggish reflexes, it will take him a few months to start middling the ball and finding the sweet spot on his bat again. Similarly, I am also sure that due to the lethargy in hand and eye co-ordination, many motorists will also initially find it difficult to accurately judge distances, speed, stopping time, etc.

With the easing of the lockdown, vehicles are crowding our streets again.

Then there is also the fact that some people, particularly those associated with the administration or essential services, have been driving in this lockdown. The problem with them is that they have been driving on largely deserted roads and not following any traffic rules whatsoever. The police have also had their hands full imposing the lockdown, so nobody has been enforcing the rules either.

The Corona crisis has given birth to several new hazards

Thanks to this several motorists have now got used to not stopping at any traffic lights, driving on the wrong side, not slowing at junctions, turning and stopping without looking and speeding on even the narrowest of streets. Once people start stepping out again, it's going to take some time for these traffic lawbreakers, to relearn how to drive and safely share the road with other motorists.

Given all this, I strongly urge you to keep safe distance from everyone on the road and drive defensively and very carefully. It really would be a shame if you manage to keep C-19 at bay, but fall victim to bad driving.

Watch out for road-rage. People are angry and have a lot of pent-up frustrations

Avoid Road Rage

None of us have been in a lockdown like this before and it's taken its toll on each one of us in different ways. This forced confinement due to the COVID-19 virus, has surely resulted in a lot of pent-up anger in many of us. And when people cannot do what they normally would, it also results in frustration. Therefore, we will surely see and meet a lot of angry and frustrated motorists too. For this reason, I will again suggest you drive most cautiously and don't provoke anybody. Don't cut across someone or block or squeeze them for space. Don't blow the horn unnecessarily. Don't tailgate or stop or swerve suddenly. And in case you do annoy someone or get into any sort of incident, don't argue, but apologize. Remember what Dale Carnegie said, "the best way to win an argument, is not to get into one". There is no better time to follow this because you don't want to enrage anyone. Due to the high frustration levels, even the smallest of blunders could result in a disproportionate response and incite unnecessary violence and aggression. So please strive to stay cool and be safe.

Punching bags in public places could safely allow people to release their anger and frustrations

I also think it would be a great idea if we put up punching bags in fuel stations, parking lots, at dhabas or eateries on our highways, and maybe even in housing society compounds. Instead of taking out their frustrations on the road, motorists could just punch the hell out of these punching bags.

While a mask may protect from the virus, it can also conceal the identity of a person

Don't Flash The Cash

The corona crisis has had a terrible impact on our economy. I also doubt if anybody can ever forget the sufferings of our migrants and the sight of so many of them walking barefoot across the country. Millions have lost their jobs and livelihoods. People are hungry and in pain. And flashing your cash or wealth at a time like this, would not only be highly insensitive, but could also invite trouble. With so many confronted with poverty, moving around with large wads of cash or carrying expensive phones and wearing fancy watches and jewellery, could spur some helpless people to snatch and steal. And do remember that the law now requires us all to wear masks when outdoors and while a mask may help against infection from corona, it also conceals one's identity. Thus identifying a thief who is wearing a mask, is extremely difficult, even if they are caught on camera.


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