Road Rash

 
By Bilal Ahmad Parray
 
INDIA is going to observe 32nd National Road Safety month instead of a week from 18th January to 17th February, 2021 with a main motive and objective of generating general awareness regarding traffic rules with main focus on violators. This year's theme is, "Sadak Suraksha - Jeevan Raksha"
In India, every year, more than 1.5 lakh people lose their lives due to road accidents. Each and every day many lives are lost due to natural and manmade accidents. 
 
Recently, upon seeing an accident, people were engaged with video shooting, photos and some with news items. Nobody was ready to assist or provide first aid. One would have expected Good Samaritans or farishtey to land on the scenes and act responsibly and urgently. However, people were only interested in sensationalising the accident.
 
There's an urgent need for all of us to act responsibly. 
 
When we talk of the Srinagar- Jammu National Highway, the road journey is a big risk. About a decade worth of data compiled by J&K Traffic Police Department reveals that the Srinagar- Jammu NHW has seen 8128 road accidents resulting in about 1750 deaths and has led to accident induced injuries to about 12131 people.
 
Even after so many accidents in the past , the road's functionality and condition is still not streamlined for efficiency and safety. There is a need for society at large to take cognizance of the issue and make road safety awareness a mass moment. 
 
To sensitize all the stakeholders on road safety, every year the government conducts a long road safety programme, wherein various initiatives and activities are taken up in order to generate mass awareness. 
 
The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways intends to provide financial support for organising various road safety activities and unique initiatives like seminars, debates, walkathon, gifting of helmets, flowers, two wheelers rallies, honoring, awards, workshops in order to create mass movement for road safety awareness.
 
The Traffic Police along with various pipeline departments together generate awareness among the public, distribute pamphlets and special learning tips for the driver's community . In one of its special seminars organised by the Traffic Police Srinagar, a renowned religious scholar, Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasmi delivered a detailed talk on the use of roads and following traffic rules in light of the traditions of the Prophet pbuh. SSP Traffic City highlighted the socio economic issues including hospitalization woes connected to road accidents and appealed to all stakeholders to play their role. 
 
Road traffic accidents or collisions occur when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal or other stationary obstruction, such utility pole or a stone. Many people die in accidents only as a consequence of inexperience, speeding, intoxication through drinks or drugs or just plain recklessness and casual driving. 
 
Most traffic accidents are a product of several factors. The probability of these accidents can be reduced in a number of ways. A majority of accidents are caused due to the following reasons :
 
Condition of Vehicle 
 
A well-designed and well-maintained vehicle, with good brakes, tyres, functional speedometer, adjusted side mirrors and well-adjusted suspension will be more controllable in an emergency and thus be better equipped to avoid collisions. The design of vehicles has also evolved to improve protection after collision, both for vehicle occupants and for those outside of the vehicle. Speeding also increases the risk of collision . Failure of brakes or steering, tyre burst, insufficient headlights, overloading, projecting loads being the main causes of collision. This can be prevented by Vehicle engineering, which comprises regular inspection and fitting safety equipment such as seat belts.
 
Condition of Roads 
 
This factor includes road design, pot-holes, damaged roads, eroded road merging of rural roads with highways, diversions, illegal speed breakers, blind curves. Crashes are common in areas of high vehicle congestion but fatal crashes occur disproportionately on rural roads at night when traffic is relatively light. The preventive measures includes road or smart traffic engineering which comprises; the design of new roads, separating opposing traffic flows, elimination of cross traffic, existing road improvement, resurfacing of slippery areas, installing traffic signals, road markings, and regulatory signs such as “stop” and “give way” signs; and assisting the driver with warning and destination signs to avoid danger and confusion.
 
Human Interference 
 
This includes all factors related to drivers and other road users such as pedestrian carelessness, illiteracy, poor eyesight or physical impairment, crossing at wrong places, moving on carriageway, waiting passengers, passengers projecting their body outside vehicle, by talking to drivers, alighting and boarding vehicle from wrong side travelling on footboards, catching a running bus etc. that may contribute to a collision. This causes many accidents when the vehicle is at high speed. Today literate & responsible passengers force the driver for wrong driving , this all makes the driver habitual and incites other drivers to attempt it. Some drivers lose patience which leads to accidents.
 
Behavior of Driver 
 
Driver’s behavior led to the realization that signs and regulations had an adverse effect on a driver's ability to interact safely with other road users. A number of factors contribute to the risk of collision, including driver’s skill, impairment due to alcohol or drugs, eye teasing, over smartness, over-speeding, rash driving, violation of rules, failure to understand signs, fatigue and street racing. Apart from alcohol many drugs, medicines also affect the skills and concentration necessary for driving. A red light jumper not only jeopardizes his life but also the safety of other road users. This act by one driver incites other drivers to attempt it and finally causes chaos at crossings. 
 
Casual Driving 
 
Though distractions while driving could be minor but they can cause major accidents. Distractions could be outside or inside the vehicle. The major distraction nowadays is talking on mobile phones, updating Facebook pages, sharing WhatsApp messages, chatting while driving. 
This becomes one of the reasons of collision. One should not attend phone calls while driving. Avoid stereo or radio and LCDs while driving. Preventive measures comprise enforcement by adopting reasonable and enforceable traffic laws which, at the same time, are best designed to prevent accidents.
 
Traffic cops can’t alone control and manage traffic with omnipresence but other pipeline departments can also play their positive role in reducing traffic accidents. All the concerned departments need to work in unison to end this menace. Parents should avoid offering of motor bikes, cars, high speedy vehicles  to their wards at a very young age. Educated people and senior citizens also support this cause. The main approaches to preventing accidents includes education and training of children in schools by road-traffic instructors & school teachers and by means of print and electronic media and other publicity to draw the attention of all road users both to dangers and to safe practices on the road. 

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