Good Motoring
Lessons to be learnt
H. Kishie Singh

We lost our son because he was sending messages on the mobile phone while driving. He had everything going for him. Just 23, an Army officer, a father, he let something as silly as this take his life. I have made it a point in my life to speak to everyone on these dangers so that another family will not have to go through the pain and suffering we go through everyday."

This is a plaintive and anguished message a mother posted on the Net. So, this is a lesson to be learnt. No cell-phone while driving. The messages or missed calls will be there to attend to later. Things happen very fast while driving, and the cost of a human life is worth more than a phone call. You will be safer, as will be other road users. Research shows that messaging while driving is 27 times more dangerous than drunk driving.

Talking on the cell-phone while driving is an invitation to disaster
Talking on the cell-phone while driving is an invitation to disaster

There is another theory doing the rounds. Excessive use of cell-phones, 50 minutes a day, plastered to your ear is enough to change brain cell activity. Researchers believe that a radio-frequency signal from cell-phones does have the potential to alter brain activity since the antenna, in the upper part of the cell-phone, is pressed against the ear, close to the brain. The positive side is that the change could be for the better!

The other day, while entering the parking lot, there was a queue. The person behind me kept blowing his horn. Except being a noisy nuisance, he did not accomplish anything. The reason for the delay was that the driver about three cars ahead had given the parking lot attendant a Rs.100 note to pay Rs 5, and this the first thing in the morning! Please, people, get organised. Cars today come abounding with cubby holes and cup holders. Why not keep some loose charge handy for parking purposes? It will save a lot of time for a lot of people and you will not make a nuisance of yourself.

Another observation at parking lots. The attendant hands out the ticket to the driver, who puts the ticket in his mouth as he finds a parking place. Yukh! The personal hygienic habits of the attendant are highly suspect. Even if he had washed his hands with soap and water in the morning, high unlikely, he licks his fingers to moisten them with spit to help separate the tickets as he hands one ticket to you. This is what you put into your mouth. You can look forward to diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting and, possibly, food poisoning, depending on what the attendant ate. As Suresh Kalmadi's aide Lalit Bhanot said: "Indians have very different sanitary habits!" He was right.

The last Diwali was the noisiest we have had for years. It was not the sound of crackers but the noise of car horns that contributed to the din the city was subjected to. Diwali means shoppers are out in hordes; pedestrians and cars choke the streets. Traffic jams and snarls are common place. Cars crawl. And everyone has his finger on the horn button. It won't help a bit.

Here is what the journal of the American Medical Association has to say about people who are trigger happy with the horn button: "It attempts to tease out the unhealthy effects of psycho-social factors and it is apparently the first to pinpoint impatience as an independent risk factor for high blood pressure."

Here is another common sense No-No! The area around a hospital is a silence zone. No horn. Never mind the area around the hospital. People in the hospital parking lot use their horns indiscriminately. It is shameful that people have no regard for the sick. The reason for a silence zone is simple. Unnecessary noise increases tension and stress levels and decrease productivity.

Straddling. Whether driving or parking, there are lines painted on the tarmac. You are supposed to keep within the lines and not on them. That is straddling. It is common to see a Maruti 800, which is about the size of a bathtub, parked squarely on a painted line, taking up the parking space of two cars. Two badly parked cars take up enough space where four or five cars can be parked. So don't complain about lack of parking space. Concern yourself about parking correctly.

It is also extremely poor etiquette to park behind a parked car and block his exit. Observing good manners while behind the steering wheel goes a long way in improving traffic conditions. Actually all traffic problems, to a large extent, are the result of bad road manners.

These good manners must be taught to youngsters.

Happy motoring.