mid-day editorial: The first thing to learn about driving is safety

Updated: Dec 14, 2016, 08:09 IST | mid-day correspondent

What started out as a husband giving his wife a driving lesson ended in tragedy as the woman rammed their car into two children, crushing them to death

What started out as a husband giving his wife a driving lesson ended in tragedy as the woman rammed their car into two children, crushing them to death. The incident happened on Sunday afternoon at a residential society in Navy Nagar, where the children (aged 13 and 7) were riding their bicycles, and where the woman was also learning to drive.

She was new to driving and did not have a learner’s licence. When she saw the kids riding ahead of the car, she panicked and pressed the accelerator instead of the brakes, driving straight into them.

This tragedy occurred because the woman was practising with her husband and not an instructor from a driving school, who would have had a parallel set of brakes with which he could have controlled the car.

Often, we see new learners being coached by a relative or friend. One understands that driving schools usually give an hour to the person and the learner feels that they should practise more at home.

There are dangers in this though, as the friend/relative will be unable to stop the car in case of a problem. Learners tend to panic and, in that state of confusion, they forget what they have learnt, like which pedal is the brake and which the accelerator. They may unintentionally end up speeding and driving rashly, resulting in an absolutely unnecessary and colossal tragedy like this.

It’s best to leave the teaching to the experts, even if it takes longer to learn with only an hour’s practice per day. If you must practise more, however, you need to do this on a secluded road where no one is walking or cycling, or even driving.

It is not just the children’s parents but also the accused woman and her husband who will have to live with the consequences of her fatal error — a colossal burden to bear.

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