mid-day editorial: Alert driving is the need of this season
Ten members of a Dombivali family, on their way to a Bhavnagar temple, died when their jeep collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction on a highway in Ahmedabad. The police suspect that the driver, who also died, fell asleep at the wheel. One person from the group has been admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
The report underscores the dangers of long distance road travel in this season, when the driver’s faculties or alertness is compromised in any way. We can take away important lessons from this humungous tragedy. First, the driver, who is responsible for his and of course, the lives of others travelling in the vehicle, needs to be completely sharp during such drives.
The season, where roads are wet and may be slick and at times even thunderclouds that obfuscate the light may also pose a challenge, is perilous and demands preparedness on all factors. If the driver was sleepy he should not have been at the wheel at all. Enough sleep, regular doses of coffee to keep one awake and even parking on the side if you feel that you simply cannot drive is the need and must be the duty of a responsible driver. You cannot and should not endanger lives by being complacent. Here, the occupants of the vehicle and the driver himself died. A sleepy driver can also kill those walking on the road and people travelling in other vehicles.
There should not be any distractions for drivers. Mobile phones and driving do not go hand-in-hand. This applies to short and long drives. This accident brings home the absolute importance of being totally focused on the road ahead. Complacency and a casual attitude are as dangerous as failing brakes and over speeding.
There may be a myriad of other factors when it comes to road accidents, but if we can mitigate errors over which we have control, it is half or even more of the battle won.