As usual today when I left from home to drop my daughter to school, I just saw a banner at the O’Coqueiro circle in Porvorim put up by the traffic police which showed that they were celebrating the ‘Road Safety Week’ from Monday to Friday. After crossing it as I was nearing Mall de Goa, I saw a private bus which had suddenly stopped right in the middle of the road, and the car which was right behind the bus was trying to overtake the bus by changing its lane without caring about the vehicles coming from the other lane in speed. I just hit the breaks in time and avoided the collision with the car which was trying to overtake the bus. A few metres ahead, before the Porvorim petrol pump, I dodged a cattle sitting on the road and then reached near the under construction Mandovi bridge. There I saw a car driving and changing lanes dangerously. On driving by a little closer to the car I saw that there were two kids sitting behind and I could make out that a very young boy was driving the car, probably the parents of the kids had hired a young driver. As I came closer to the new Mandovi bridge, on the turn, I just avoided hitting a bike coming from the wrong side. Due to the construction of the bridge, the circle has been closed and the traffic coming from Betim has to go to take a U-turn opposite hotel Majestic in order to proceed to Panaji. Since there are no traffic cops present in the early morning, the two-wheelers try to take a short-cut by coming into the wrong side of the circle.
So I dropped my daughter and on the way back I saw more banners put up by the traffic cops at different places in Panaji. I observed that most of the banners were there to create awareness about wearing helmets and wearing seat-belts. I just wondered whether road safety is only about wearing helmets and seat-belts. What is road safety? Well, road safety may start with wearing a helmet or putting on the seat-belt, but it does not end there as these are just the basics. Doing such things does not ensure that accident will not happen, but all these things will come into play once the accident has happened. A Helmet or a seat-belt is a thing that will save you or ensure your safety once the accident has happened. So, people understand road safety as something that one should do to avoid a damage after the accident has taken place. Nowhere had I seen any illustration on how we can avoid an accident. If we do an analysis, most of the accidents happen because of reckless driving, over speeding and non-observance of traffic rules. So, if we actually want to make road safe these are the things that we need to bring under control. But, whose responsibility is it? Can we appoint one traffic cop per vehicle? Or, can we install CCTVs everywhere and observe traffic 24×7? These are not the solutions, but self-awareness is.
The road belongs to all, it is the responsibility of the driver to give safe passage to the pedestrians also. Bigger the vehicle bigger the responsibility. When someone is crossing the road make sure that you stop, and stop keeping a distance of at least 20 metres from the person crossing the road. When the children or aged persons are crossing the road, make sure that you do not honk at them. If you are threatening any pedestrian with the speed and honking of your vehicle then it is as good as attempt to murder, may be not in the law but actually it is. And I am sure that we are not criminals. So, let’s respect everyone’s right on the road, and after that- bigger the vehicle bigger the responsibility.