Feeling extremely unsafe due to multiple road safety-related incidents

Every time I leave my house (even on my feet), I fear something will happen. We need several high-profile road safety campaigns to bring some sanity to the roads.

BHPian bhargav_dave recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The last year or so (2023) has been absolutely brutal when it comes to road safety-related incidents with myself and those near me. First time in my life I met with a serious accident that shook me to the core. Several other serious incidents with colleagues in my own office (at least two colleagues with 6-month absences and life-altering operations), I think we are facing an epidemic related to traffic safety. The situation in my city is so bad that every time you leave your house (even on your feet) you fear something might actually happen.

Incident 1

Driving on the outskirts of Jodhpur, we were turning into an alley. A motorcycle driver who was driving at a very high speed could not control and rammed into the back of my vehicle. My car got damaged (rear bumper needed a change etc) and he received minor injuries (which was lucky).

Incident 2

During the Diwali break, we decided to go to MP. On the Ahmedabad - Indore highway we were cruising at around 80-100 when a car from the opposite side of the highway decided to make a turn, realised I was coming and froze in the middle of the road. My previous near miss that I reported here was also on this highway and on that occasion, I avoided hitting the vehicle by quickly steering away.

This time I had no time or space. I hit the other car head-on. I was in my Hexa and the other car was a Hyundai Aura. We did not receive any injuries except some whiplash as all were wearing belts. However, the driver and passenger in the other car were not wearing seat belts. They had some head injuries but luckily nothing life-threatening as I managed to slam my brakes really hard.

This shook me to the core as I just could not fathom how stupid someone be and how easily they could have lost their lives if I hadn't managed to slam the brakes or if I was nearer to the turning. The other driver was apologetic and the police asked me if I wanted to press charges. I was advised by people not to do that so I let it go. My car had to be towed back and I had to make alternate arrangements to continue on the holiday.

When I pressed him into what he was thinking, his response was "Maine Socha Aage wali gaadi nikal Gai to meri bhi nikal jayegi! (I thought if the previous car could turn I could also do that)". He did this on a national highway without even looking if there was a vehicle coming from the opposite side. He was a teacher at a local school. This made me think that we need stricter driving tests and much wider awareness campaigns. Affordability and improvements in quality of life (which are great things) mean there are an unprecedented number of drivers on the road now. Without proper training, we will see far more of this.

Incidents 3 and 4

Two colleagues in my office met with accidents where they were hit by cars while they were on 2-wheelers. Both needed 6 months of rest and several operations.

Incident 5

A relative in Jodhpur, while walking, was hit by an unmanned motorcycle and was left in a coma. Two kids (not sure if they had a licence) were performing a stunt and lost control of their motorcycle, which then hit my relative, he received multiple injuries - to his head, several fractures in both feet and so on. The kids had jumped off and were quite ok barring minor injuries. It has been 3 months and he still can't walk. This will have permanent effects on his quality of life. All this when he was actually walking!

There have been several high-profile incidents in Ahmedabad involving the deaths of multiple people and yet no awareness campaign or anything by the police here or at the national level. Just within 1km of where I live, I have read about several pedestrian deaths in the newspaper in the last 3 months or so.

These are not isolated incidents any more but a problem at an epidemic level. I have never felt unsafe like this ever before. I have been driving for 28 years and have driven in at least 12 different countries! I hope that someone in the authority will do something to take action. We need several high-profile campaigns about road safety to bring some sanity to the roads.

Wonder if those having influence in Team-BHP can play a role here?

Here's what BHPian mygodbole had to say about the matter:

I apologise up front, but we as a nation have the gene to "resist any rule/authority" embedded into our DNA.

Unless there are visible and punitive damages inflicted on the careless/negligent road users (and that includes pedestrians), the attitude is "Can I get away with it?".

Walk in almost any urban area of our nation for five minutes and we can see at least one (a) biker/rider with a kid up front, or (b) car driver with one hand cupping a phone.

So 'catching them early' in school is instantly negated on the way home. I have seen too many school buses with children, sometimes more than one, in the single seat up front, no seatbelts even for the school bus driver.

As Gadkari says, we neither fear nor respect the rules of the road. We are NOT law-abiding citizens, we are danda-fearing road users.

I gave up many moons ago and drive with the attitude: "This (any other driver/rider) plans on meeting me by accident (pun intended), take preventive measures." Despite that, collided with a cattle carcass some months back on a highway; no humans were injured but the car was damaged.

Drive safe and sane.

Here's what BHPian SS-Traveller had to say about the matter:

While there are many road safety campaigns and Sadak Suraksha Abhiyan efforts in progress in various forms across the country, run by both the government authorities such as the traffic police, RTOs and MoRTH as well as multiple NGOs, the focus is never to take dangerous and untrained drivers off our roads, nor to investigate and pinpoint fault in case of crashes. Whether it be the unknown cars and motorcyclists or the Aura driver, none will lose their driving licences due to these incidents (one cannot really call these 'accidents' since all were avoidable), and will continue to endanger themselves and others.

While you let it go to avoid great inconvenience to yourself, the police also let the Aura driver go without penalizing him or suspending his DL, even sending him for driver re-education (which does not exist in India anyway), despite the fact that he drove dangerously and was not wearing seat belts (both him and his passenger), and caused a crash. If the Aura driver or passenger had died, you would have been at the receiving end of legal and police harassment, without investigation regarding whose fault it was. In this scenario, the Aura driver will continue to drive in the same manner as before, despite any kind of road safety campaign anywhere.

In this situation, you need to do some soul-searching about whether you yourself could have done anything different to avert these accidents where you were involved and choose to drive differently in future. The Team-BHP Road Safety section is a treasure trove of threads that talk about safe driving. If you have any dashcam or other video recording of the incidents, it may be possible to analyse where you could have driven more safely.

Here's what BHPian Neil Roy had to say about the matter:

Kudos to you for accepting that we have a problem rather than blaming bad times, bad omen/karma or whatever comfortable solace denial can give. To be honest, I don't foresee any solution from the outside. We are a nation of a billion people who are ingrained in cutting corners, jumping signals, breaking minor laws, accepting that bribery is the only way etc, etc, etc. The reason is also simple. With such a population explosion, it is always survival of the fittest or the most adaptable one. Add opportunistic politicians to the mix and we have a cocktail of apathy and zero accountability. This is the truth.

The only way forward is what we can afford to be financially. Idiots on the road are not going to change. Better to buy safe vehicles, use seat belts even in rear seats, use branded helmets and protective gear etc. and while walking or using public places like malls, theatres etc, have situational awareness.

OT, I am an electrical contractor and trust me when I say that most of public places are built to a cost and there is only perceived safety, not real safety. Proper earthing which is mandatory for safety and discharge of leakage is only there on paper. Earthing has to be maintained every year which no malls or cine complexes or even housing societies do. I always educate my family about presuming that all metal parts might have electrical leaks which can be fatal, not touching any poles, not walking into puddles et al. Call me paranoid, but in a country of a billion people the govt is not going to be bothered about one less and the only people who will need me is my family and I owe it to them to be safe. Sorry if it sounds more like a rant.

Here's what BHPian HIGHWAY_PATROL had to say about the matter:

Absolutely agree with you that we need a revolution in raising awareness about safety on roads here in India.

I firmly believe that driving schools can and must play a significant role in that.

I have also often thought that school syllabus should include compulsory lessons on traffic rules and regulations.

I also believe that Team-bhp is already playing a great role in raising awareness on road safety. Wish more and more people, especially youngsters would read the forum pages and contribute to making our roads safe.

Thank you very much for raising this important and necessary topic.

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