Systems Checks: Tips to stay safe while driving
It's a Wednesday morning, you've had a rough week at work so far and are constantly tensed about all the work that's left to do. You also need to give time to your other half and the kids while managing a tight schedule. All of this has left you a bit lost and preoccupied. So when you get into your car and start driving to work, putting the seat belt on just slips your mind.
Something like this sequence of events is usually a prologue to all the horrific road accidents you seemingly keep hearing about. Most of the injuries or deaths that arise out of these mishaps are easily avoidable if drivers take a few basic steps. Now is an especially good time to start. The new amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act have increased fines significantly, becoming a strong deterrent. Further, cars have never been safer in India thanks to the now mandatory safety tech and crash protection. With these positive steps taking place, it's imperative that road users take action and do their bit to keep themselves, their loved ones and other road users safe.
Obey Traffic Rules
Following traffic rules is the easiest but most effective step you can take to be safer. Maintaining speed limits, following traffic signals, proper signalling, obeying signages and keeping a safe distance from other users may seem to be slowing you down when you need to get somewhere in a hurry but that is hardly the case.
We'd be the first ones to tell you how much fun driving is. Just make sure you start at the right time and when you are fully prepared to take on the responsibility. Wait till you are 18 before you take your driving test and are fully certified to get behind the wheel. In tight situations, inexperience and immaturity can show itself, even if it isn't evident otherwise. Parents have a major role to play here in making their kids take ownership of their actions and be aware of the consequences of a mishap.
Stop Using Mobile Phones while driving
According to the WHO, you are four times more likely to crash while talking on the phone while driving. This increases to 24 times when you are texting on the go. You don't need us to tell you that it's just not worth it. It's so dangerous because your reaction times increase and you are more likely to overlooking traffic rules.
Keep your car in good shape
You might be very responsible and be a responsible driver. But this may lose its effectiveness if your machinery is not up to the mark at avoiding high-pressure situations. Service your car as recommended, have all your lighting in working condition, keep a check on your tyre pressure and regularly inspect your brake pads and rotors, replace whenever advised. These steps will make sure you are as well-equipped as possible to avoid an accident.
Don't drink and drive
You've probably earned yourself a few drinks with your friends over the weekend or after a hard day's work. It's a very tempting thought but you need to be careful. Have a designated driver in your group or just leave your vehicle at home. A couple of pints of beer is known to impede reaction times, reduce concentration, impair vision and bring a lack of coordination.
As much as your safety is important, so is the safety of everyone else on the road. Pedestrians have the right of way and the duty falls on you to help them enforce their rights. Make sure to stop at the zebra crossing and behind the white line at traffic signals, even if it means you run a little late.