Saturday, September 6, 2003
G O O D  M O T O R I N G

Study safety rules before going solo
H. Kishie Singh

Get acquainted with your car before you take to driving alone
Get acquainted with your car before you take to driving alone

SO, you have got your driving licence. It means you can go out driving alone. Solo. It will definitely be a different drive ó the first time it always is. The heart will beat a little faster ó for the first time you will be making all the decisions. All the confidence you had built up ebbs as you get caught in the chaos of the honking traffic. Almost everyone is making a wrong move and, consequently, a dangerous one. These drivers are making the road unsafe for all road users.

This is where you, the driver, can make a contribution to society. Drive safely, correctly, courteously. Last year, more than 60,000 people died in auto-related accidents in India. Many more such deaths go unreported. It is horrifying statistics. You can do something about it.

If you have got your licence through a proper procedure, then you must have had an inspector or instructor sitting next to you for the driving test.


In the Police Traffic Park you would have been under the strict scrutiny of the police. On that occasion you must have obeyed all the rules and regulations of the road lest you failed the driving test. You must have been a model driver that day. A model citizen. Is it too much to expect you to continue to behave like that forever?

There are countries with higher car population than ours but lower number of fatal accidents. The reason is discipline. Traffic flows fast and safe. Traffic is courteous. This is known as the "smile factor". Every driver waves and smiles at the other driver. It makes for a cool, calm and relaxed atmosphere. Practise safe driving from day one.

After half an hour of drive around the city, you would have remarked to yourself, dozens of times: "He cut off the rickshaw!" "He has parked on a pedestrian crossing!" "The biker jumped a red-light!" "Look at that fool switching lanes!" These all are moves contrary to traffic rules, good driving and safety regulations.

Make a mental note of all these moves and what you should not be doing because soon you will be doing all these things!

If you are going to be driving solo, get acquainted with your car. If you do not want to know any thing about the car, I can give you some advice a young lady gave me a few years ago.

Her father had bought her a new car and I felt I could give her some useful hints on driving. Nothing doing. She was not interested. "Itís Dadís car, so he will refuel and do all that sort of thing," she told me. "Itís a new car, so thereíll be no break-downs. Whatís there to know?"

"At least find out where the spare wheel and jack live in the car. They can be required any moment. What will you do in case of a puncture?"

"I will stop the first good-looking man who goes by. He will do the needful!" she said confidently and happily.

Happy motoring!