LIFE

Road truths

A bad way to begin New Year.

A bad way to begin New Year.  

EVERY YEAR at least 60,000 accidents occur in the State. The most common cause for accidents is speeding, which results in carelessness. Disregard for road rules, drunk driving and insufficient sleep follow next. More people die in accidents than from AIDS. The statistics come from the Tamil Nadu Traffic Police.

The accidents are highest between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. and lowest between midnight and 3 a.m. In the City most accidents occurred on 100 ft road while only seven were recorded on the Pulianthoppu High Road between 1997 and April 2001. Two wheeler drivers and pedestrians are the easiest victims while lorries, cars and two wheelers account for the largest number of accidents, in just that order. "En Iniya Ottunare" is a drivers' handbook published in Tamil. It lists telephone numbers of private hospitals, Accident Victims Association, blood banks, traffic police, Trauma Care Consortium, ambulance services offered by private nursing homes and round-the-clock pharmacies in the City.

The Automobile Association of India has supplied information about the rules for defensive driving, the road signs, punishable driving offences and the emergency procedures to avoid accidents.

The book explains a driver's role in an accident and lists road signs that every driver should be familiar with. The handbook is a guide to all - including bus drivers and cyclists. It explains parking rules, stop lines, signages and the traffic police's signals. The rules for signalling left and right turns are different for cyclists, two wheeler riders and auto drivers. For instance, two wheeler riders turning left use their left hand. They should ideally use the right hand and make an anti-clockwise circle with their index finger. Auto drivers must always use only their right hand because they are seated in the middle of the vehicle, says the manual. The use of musical or strange sounding horns is punishable and the driver can be fined for misuse of horns on the grounds that it causes noise pollution. Raising the level of exhaust pipes is also punishable.

Brought out by Rama Diwakaran, a member of Save a Life Club, the 30-page booklet has a suggestion - inclusion of road safety and first aid training in schools. An elaborate second edition of this booklet is due this month. Even as accidents are on the rise just as vehicles are on the roads, the book is a must for every road user.

By Sujatha R

Photo: K. Pichumani

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