A monster bigger than flu


We are driving on the wrong side of the road!” screamed my five-year-old daughter as soon as we drove out of Bangalore airport. When she heard us laughing, she remembered that in India left is right and right is wrong!

“Why aren’t there any stop signs or speed limit signs or school zone signs?” was her perpetual question as we drove along NH4 towards Chitradurga. There were more questions about road safety in the next couple of hours. How would people know what speed is safer on different roads if there aren’t any signs indicating that? Why aren’t there any ‘side walks’ here? How would you know you are approaching an intersection? How come vehicles overtake from both sides? Wouldn’t there be cops to catch those who violate traffic rules? Why do they allow a lot of cattle right in the middle of the road, where traffic treads heavily?

By the time we reached home, the conclusion she had drawn was that it’s a challenge to drive in India and not safe at all. This was 10 years ago. The only consolation then was that there weren’t as many vehicles on roads as in USA; so the roads weren’t as dangerous as my little girl thought and the accident rate was not as high. Ten years down the line, it’s a totally different story now.

The number of vehicles has gone up multi-fold and so is the accident rate. Thanks to IT and BT for pulling up our economy as the fastest growing one in Asia. But where are the traffic signals/rules that need to be in place to make the traffic flow smoother and safer? Not only do we need traffic signs displayed according to the rules, we need to educate the drivers and the public on a regular basis until it becomes part of our personality to care for road safety. With ever-increasing vehicle numbers on the road, this is the main thing; not  the swine flu as portrayed by the media in the recent past.

In fact, the panic that has been created by the so called ‘swine-flu deaths’ is what made me think about road safety. Since April, this pandemic has been talked about day in and day out and has left none in India who doesn’t know about it. I wish the media would take up the road safety issue with the same intensity and spread awareness.

Once people are educated about the dangers of current traffic situation, we will reduce the injuries and deaths due to road accidents and have less ghastly deaths than any flu can inflict.

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