Forget swine flu. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road accidents will be the real "epidemic" to tackle by the year 2030 since they will be the fifth largest killers of people.
Meanwhile a survey carried out by our sister magazine in the UK, Auto Express, has come up with a few surprises about road accidents. Digest this. Drinking and driving or breaking the speed limit are not among the top three reasons for major car accidents! Instead there are things like extreme weather, dirty and ill placed signage and even slow driving that figure in their list.
Statistics from other sources show that at least 13 people die every hour in our country, ensuring that India gets a top slot in the list of countries with the highest road fatalities counts in the world. This is a pity really because many of these accidents can be avoided.
Auto Bild INDIA has a simple solution to this. Drivers should use common sense and obey rules. Not only will it save you the pain of injuries, or worse, this will also save you spending extra money on car repairs. Most such accidents are the result of one form of negligence or another. Read on to learn what factors lead to such car accidents.
1. Curiosity kills the cat
There is shocking data that the root cause of 16-20 per cent of car crashes are due to rubber necking, or slowing down to gawk at another accident. Traffic tends to crawl at an accident scene while the road is being cleared, but it becomes unduly slow as rubber neckers pay more attention to the accident than they do to the road ahead of them. So keep curiosity at bay when you drive.
2. Irregular car servicing
Is your car in good condition? Is the maintenance of your car regular? Many accidents occur due to a neglected vehicle. If your brakes are squeaking, listen to what they are saying. A car that has squeaky brakes or bald tyres is an accident waiting to happen. Cars are nothing but machines, and machines can be defective or can crash any time. However, drivers should give their vehicles a periodic check to see if all the parts are working properly or not. Not a single mechanical problem should be left unattended to.
3. Comfortably numb
Signs of fatigue can seriously impair your driving skills. When you are tired, your reactions are much slower, your ability to concentrate on driving is reduced and it takes longer to interpret and understand what is happening around you. Here are the symptoms that suggest driver fatigue: yawning, tired eyes, boredom, inability to remember the last segment of the road and restlessness. Drivers who notice any of these symptoms starting, should pull over to rest and, ideally, get out of the car and stretch.
4. Vent out anger
You might be a caring and sensitive person but excessive traffic can force the raging impatient Hulk in you to take control and cannonball verbal abuses at other drivers. Just take a deep breath and avoid reacting to another driver’s actions, no matter how annoying. Also remember to keep your doors locked and your windows up if an aggressive driver approaches your vehicle, and avoid eye contact. If nothing works then, just call the men in khaki.
5.One for the road
Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is preventable. Whenever alcohol is involved, choose a designated driver in advance. This way you enjoy the party and not endanger yours as well as other people’s lives. Remember accidents also take place when pedestrians and bikers are drunk.
6. Playlist peril
Music can ease our stress but continuously fidgeting with the in-car entertainment can very dangerous. You just steal a look at the music system while driving and trying to choose your favourite track and the next thing you know, it's crash-boom-bang. A good habit is to set a playlist on your system and let it play all your favourite songs. Never set the configurations while driving. Distractions can easily lead to life-and-death situations. Always stay alert.
7. Fast-track danger
Speeding is a double-edged sword that not only reduces the amount of time necessary to avoid a crash but also increases the risk of crashing and makes the accident more severe if it does occur. Simply slowing down and obeying posted speed limits can go a long way toward making roads safer. In this fast moving world, where we all seem to be in a great hurry, we need to reduce speed on roads and drive at a comfortable speed. The police did not determine speed limits on a whim – they have good reasons for them.
8. Natural hazards
Bad weather, like heavy rain, hail, snowstorms, high winds and fog, can make driving extremely difficult. You will need more time to stop and may have trouble seeing the road clearly. So when the weather gets bad leave extra space between you and the car in front. And slow down. If necessary, pull over where it's safe to do so and wait until the conditions improve. Avoid rushing to your destination. You're not going to reach anywhere if you have an accident.
9. Silence is golden
Not only is using a mobile phone when driving against the law, it poses a significant distraction and substantially increases the risk of crashing. Drivers using mobile phones are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them and fail to see road signs. They also tend to fail to maintain proper lane position or drive at a steady speed. Not to mention their decreased reaction time and the longer time they take to brake. If you need to attend to a call, just pull over and do it.
10. Buckle up
We know we are stating the obvious, yes, but there is absolutely no sense in not using the seatbelts. If you are not too keen on smashing into the windshield or flying out of the car in the event of a sharp halt, buckling up is a good thing. Not to mention, it is the law.