Friday, November 16, 2007

Do people really know how to drive on the roads ?

When we are driving on the roads of our wonderfully congested cities, there are so many things you see that make one angry. You are driving on a crowded road, inching along, and see two-wheelers and three-wheelers darting among traffic with nary a care in the world; you give them some criticism, strive to control your road rage and brake or swerve to avoid hitting them, and so on. All of us must have seen such things happen often enough that they are not worth writing about. More scary is the concept of a big bus screeching right next to you, or chasing another bus and you are driving in the vicinity, and it is worth it to waste a couple of minutes and let these buses go on the way.
But these pale in comparison to what I saw one day. I was flabber-gasted to say the least, and the road was crowded enough that I could not do anything about it. And what did I see ? It was a buy driving a small car, wearing a seat belt, and driving perfectly normally. And what was scary ? Well, this guy had no other co-passenger except for one - his infant. Now, one really does not expect people in this great country to have too much concern about a car seat or other such requirement for a baby, but in this case, the baby was sitting on this guy's lap, right between the steering wheel and the guy.
I took a double-take, I have not read all the various safety articles that are available regarding how to carry one's child safely in a car, but I was pretty sure that having your baby between you and steering wheel is not one of them. In an impact, and in the case of a baby, even a slow impact, has the effect of pushing the driver towards the steering column (and that is what the seat belt and air bag try to prevent) and most of the injuries in such cases is due to the steering column hitting the chest and the ribs. And this idiot was carrying around his baby on the most dangerous possible location in the car.
I was unsure what to do ? Traffic was such that it was impossible to reach this driver, but even if I could have stopped him, what could have I done ? What would you do ? Given that he had no idea of the danger or did not care, would he care to even listen with a bit of patience about the danger if I tried any education ?

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:49 PM