The other day, I was driving to office in my car, and there was an autorikshaw moving in front. On its rear was written Jinko jaldi thee, woh chale gaye (those who were in a hurry have departed). I found it quite original, and true.

Once on the road, and behind the wheel, people appear to be in a tearing hurry to reach their destinations. In the process there are overspeeding and overtaking — left, right, and centre — leading to fatal accidents. Look at various situations, how impatient and rash we are. When we stop at a traffic signal, it is bumper to bumper, leaving no cushion for the next vehicle to reverse even by a few inches. Once the light turns green, we start honking. Is the next person blind, dumb, or deaf? He will move only when the next vehicle moves. So, what is the point in sounding intermittently, and irritating people around.

The same thing happens when you wish to overtake a vehicle, fully knowing that he is not in a position to make way as there is another vehicle in front of it. But still, we will keep honking and anger the poor man. You stop at the toll tax barrier and again start pressing the horn for the vehicle in front to hurry up. Where can he go till such time he is cleared by the person sitting in the toll barrier cabin? It just shows we are adat ke majboor.

Most of the road accidents take place because of overspeeding. India loses over one and half lakh lives every year in road accidents. These precious lives can be saved if we become a little more patient and control our foot on the accelerator. By going at 120 km/hour, instead of at 80 or 90, you may save a few minutes, but imagine the magnitude of the chances of an accident, leading to despair and life-long regrets.

It is in India where people suddenly appear on roads from the sides in all sorts of conveyances, from a tractor to a bullock-cart, or just obliviously walking across. You may also find a cow or buffalo sitting in the middle of the road at night, throwing your vehicle topsy-turvy. The only way to save yourself is to control the speed, drive in your senses, and avoid using the mobile phone. Driving after a drink makes you rash, increasing the chances of accidents by 100 per cent. Often, the poor pedestrians become your victim.

We have made our life so fast, and tense, that we do not have time or thought for an accident victim. We will zip past a bleeding man, without helping him to the nearest hospital. Are we afraid of the legal complications or have we become insensitive? At least, we can stop and inform the highway police, while we move the victim to a safe place.

Let’s encourage our children to use a cycle till they finish schooling, if not college. That will reduce the rapidly increasing vehicle density on the roads, besides being good for their health. It is better to leave the house five minutes early than rush on the road. Once in a vehicle, we are not only responsible for our lives but also become accountable to avoid accident to others. It’s time to be cool and considerate. Happy driving!

(The writer’s email: ripu_d2003@yahoo.co.in)

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