Driving lessons to learn from COVID-19 lockdown
We are all stuck in our homes for at least 19 more days and we need to continue to observe the lockdown more than ever. Because this is the important juncture where our behaviour will decide if we get ahead of the COVID curve to hope a limp back at normalcy. Well, we already have spent three weeks in self-quarantine and that has given us a lot of time to contemplate on many things.
One behaviour that we all need to contemplate is our driving etiquette. We have been impatient, driving up the wrong side of the road to save a few minutes, cutting into the smallest of the gaps to make what two seconds? We have been jumping lights if there is no cop around and we have been stopping on zebra crossings because we just do not care.
When this lockdown ends, we would have been off the road for almost six weeks and that is enough time to break old habits and even get rid of addictions. Back on the road, if we swear to abide by these simple rules, we are going to make our roads a better place to drive.
- Keep safe distance and do not jump in the gap
The Corona outbreak has given us the most valuable lesson keep safe distance. During driving, safe distance means you have enough time to act and react. We understand it is difficult in urban traffic to keep distance, but if we all agree to not jump into that little gap between two cars in the lane beside us, everyone will maintain distance. There will be less run-ins, scratches and dents if not more peace.
- Respect the law and appreciate public servants
We stood up in our balconies and cheered for the COVID warriors but what do we do when we come across the traffic cop who toils all day in the sun and rain to regulate car movement? We need to appreciate their efforts more and work positively towards making their job easy. Avoid jumping signals or crossing the stop line at crossings. Driving on the wrong side, even for a few metres is a crime.
- Stay safe and use signals
Safety starts from yourself. Why do we need the government to tell us to wear helmets? Do we not value our head enough for it to be protected? Same is the case with seatbelts and traffic laws. Rules and laws are made not only for your safety but also for the safety of others who share the same piece of road with you. If you are going to do something that isn't a part of the driving etiquette, others might be caught unaware and result in a mishap. So, use signals and indicators and enough time to react before you make your next move.
- Sanitisation and cleaning are basics of life
'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' is what we all learnt in school, but have we almost forgotten the golden rule as we grew up? Keeping our cars clean, keeping our environment clean are paramount. Cleaning the interiors regularly and changing/cleaning of the AC filter periodically is recommended. Not throwing trash out when you travel, is also as much a part of cleanliness.
- It is better to be prepared and do it yourself
With the nation suddenly going into lockdown, we all ran to stock up supplies and we did it all ourselves and not through a smartphone app. But, if we were better prepared, such undue public gatherings could have been avoided. Similarly, you have to keep your car/motorcycle up to date for any kind of eventuality. Keep it filled, oiled and always ready. Also, it is better to have a basic course in automotive awareness how to change a tyre, how to check engine oil, how to replace a fuse and more.
It has to be a part of our culture to become a better driver, and should be inculcated into young minds. It should be fashionable to be the better man on the road and may be then, India can dream of getting on the global map of good driving nations!
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