According to a report in one of the leading dailies in India, ‘Indian roads, which account for the highest fatalities in the world, became yet more dangerous in 2015 with the number of deaths rising nearly 5% to 1.46 lakh. This translates to 400 deaths a day or one life snuffed out every 3.6 minutes, in what an expert described as a “daily massacre on our roads.’ Likewise, the statistics posted on various websites depict that National Highways account for a larger percentage of road accidents than State Highways. While this may sound dangerous and tempt you to stop driving, you can always take a few simple safety measures to avoid road accidents and their disastrous consequences.
- Check your Speed
In India, speed limit is not enforced across many National and State highways. However, you should adjust your driving speed based on the condition of the road and your car. Also be aware of your own skills and limitations.
- Overtake With Care
You must not overtake other vehicles unexpectedly, without any indications. You need to stay on the left lane without hogging the right lane frequently. It is also important to move to the left lane after overtaking a vehicle from the right side.
- Overtake Heavy Vehicles Cautiously
Often drivers of overloaded tankers and lorries drive at very high speeds. Exercise adequate care and caution while overtaking such overloaded trucks and lorries to prevent accidents.
- Look for Unmarked Speed-breakers
While driving on Indian roads, you will come across many unmarked speed-breakers at random intervals. These unmarked speed-breakers make the drivers either brake or veer their vehicles suddenly. If you are driving too close to the car in front that brakes suddenly, you will bang onto it. On the other hand, if you are the one driving the car that brakes suddenly, you might cause a chain of accidents behind you. Hence you must remain alert and maintain a safe distance between vehicles.
- Interpret All Signs Correctly
You can land up in major trouble if you do not read the road signs properly. These signs help you to identify variations on the road like a narrow bridge, railway crossing or gradients in advance. Likewise, you must pay attention to the flashing headlights of vehicles coming behind you or from the opposite direction. Also do not honk or flash your headlines continuously.
- Handle Breakdowns Efficiently
You must check the fuel tank, spare tyre, and tool box of the vehicle before starting on a trip to handle breakdowns efficiently. In case of a breakdown, take the vehicle off the road, park it to the left and turn the hazard lights on.
- Take Short Breaks
While driving long distances, you may feel tired. The fatigue will affect your driving skills adversely. So take short breaks while driving long distances to avoid committing driving errors and prevent accidents. You can even switch driving responsibilities with another driver to share the load.
- Respect Others
Remember that you have to share the road space with bicycles, motorcycles, buses, three-wheelers, cars, pedestrians and stray animals. Hence, learn to be sensitive to others’ needs and do not drive on the middle of the road. Hone your driving skills adequately to drive safely on Indian roads.