Road Safety Starts At Home

LIFE SAVERS!

While we cannot be responsible for the action of other road users, there are measures we can take to protect us and our loved ones.

In 2010, CWG archery coach Cherukuri Lenin (26) was driving back to home in a Scorpio. At around 2 am, while trying to avoid an autorickshaw that came suddenly from opposite direction, he lost control over the car and rammed the road divider. Lenin who was thrown out of the vehicle died instantaneously owing to head injury. He was not wearing his seat belt.

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It’s been proven time and again, on back roads and superhighways: A seat
belt can save a life in a car accident. According to the US National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
, lap-shoulder belt systems
reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury by 50 percent when used
by driver and passengers. The three-point
safety-belt restraint, which includes a combination of lap belt and
shoulder-to-hip belt, protects the internal organs in a crash as it
controls the forward motion of the body and the accompanying rotation of
the pelvis. It also minimizes head contacts and excessive neck motion, preventing head and neck injuries. When crashes occur, unrestrained drivers are thrown against their steering wheels or ejected from their cars, while unbelted passengers hit the dashboard or go through the windshield. People who are ejected
in crashes are 25 times more likely to be killed than those who remain within the vehicle.
BACK SEATS: Seat belts are absolutely necessary for rear bench passengers as they aren’t that safe either.
As a teenage passenger and subsequent adult driver, I never thought twice about strapping myself into a seat belt. To me, it is as second nature as closing the door after you get into the car. Since my first encounter behind the wheels of a car while learning, I never hesitated to buckle up my seat belt. Owing to that, now I can’t drive a car without being strapped to my seats. It would be troublesome for me to find a good position and confidence without buckling the seat belt. It became habitual. And are the back seats so safe withour seat belts?? Certainly not. In fact, all these day experts insisted on front seats safety only because they are occupied always. But back bench passengers do require seat restraints. So, beginners and young drivers must understand the importance of seat belts and make them habitual.
I notice that a majority of my friends and parents simply proptheir children on their laps or carry them in their arms instead of tucking them safely into proper child seats. The awareness of using a child seat is very less or nil in India. Their usual excuses are “the kids don’t like to be strapped in” and “we drive slowly, so it should be okay na..”. Children are not small adults — they need specialized protection in a moving vehicle. Since their skeletal structure is different, age, height, and weight determine the safest way for a child to travel.
Children under age 1 and those who weigh less than 10 kilograms should sit in rear-facing, child safety seats. Children older than 1 should ride in
forward-facing child safety seats. The seat should be placed in the rear
of the vehicle until the child reaches the upper weight or height limit
of the particular seat. Typically, a child will outgrow a safety seat
around age 4 and once she reaches about 20 kilograms. Children age 4 and older should ride in
booster seats. A child can safely progress to a seat belt when the belt
fits properly across the upper thighs and chest. “This is usually at age
8 or when they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics. When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use seat belts, but
they still should sit in the back of the vehicle. Really, all children
should be riding in the backseat of the car until they are at least 13
years old! Unfortunately, there is no law pertaining to the use of child restraints and booster seats in India. Even if it exist, we will easily defy it. Such a mentality must change.
It is just a myth that children will resist being strapped to their seats or using exclusive child seats. Do not compromise on your child’s safety, even on occassions when they would struggle and whine in protest. Surely after some trips, they will voluntarily submit themselves to their child seats without battling an eyelid.
YUMMY MUMMY rather than DUMMY MUMMY

It is also wrongly advised that pregnant women must avoid wearing seat belts. One must wear it properly to reduce the pressure that is exerted on one’s belly and baby, in case the brakes are applied suddenly. Experts recommend that the shoulder portion of the belt should sit over one’s collarbone; it should be placed between her breasts and then move
lower to the side of her belly. The lap portion of the seat belt should be worn below her belly and as
low as possible on hips and across her upper thighs. Never place
the lap portion above one’s abdomen.

The FIA’s (Federation Internationale de’l Automobile) global call for a “Decade of Action for Road Safety” from 2010 to 2020 is an eye-opener. This initiative, supported by governments worldwide, aims to reduce road deaths by 50 percent. The safety of ours and our family members ultimately lies in our hands. It stars from our home. We should not be practicing safe motoring habits merely to comply with road traffic rules.

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.