In our daily life, we come across splashes on traffic snarls, road rage, accidents, and casualties in the media. Sometimes we happen to see such incidents. Those are harsh experiences. Yes, we need to be aware of traffic rules and follow them. We need to be responsible. Well, aren’t we? Yes, we are.
In India, we are observing the 30th Road Safety Week from 4th to 10th Feb 2019. Road Safety Week is an event organized across all parts of our country to spread awareness about road safety and hence to avoid road accidents.
During events such as national Road Safety Week, we come across posters with tips and guidelines on road safety. Those tips and guidelines are easy to remember. Ask any driver, you will hear a list of things. Here is a sample list. Wear your seat belt as soon as you close the door and then start the engine. Wear helmet before you start the ride in a two wheeler. Adjust your side-view and rear-view mirrors before getting on road. Be aware of and follow speed limits. Slowdown and watch out for traffic in traffic signals or junctions. Stop for pedestrians. No driving after drinking. No cell phone, or other gadgets while driving. No racing. No eating or putting make-up or adjusting your seat while driving. Stay focused. Don’t get distracted. Don’t drive when you are stressed or angry or deprived of sleep or sick. Don’t drive if you are below the minimum age limit. The list goes on.
All drivers remember such tips and guidelines. However, some of them accelerate when they see a green turning into amber and increase the speed further when that amber turns into red. Some of them change lanes without using indicators, that too at an unsafe distance. Some of them allow their below eighteens to drive. Some of them keep honking after every two breaths. Some of them tend to speed up when a police man signals at them to stop. This list goes on and on too.
In spite of all these, we do our bit and hope for road safety. Driving is a daily affair. Now and then, we get scratches and bumps. And, our life goes on!
Think! How else can we ensure road safety? With two decades of my driving experience in Pune, I suggest that we think and practice PET. PET is an acronym for Patience, Empathy, and Tolerance. PET plays an overarching role on top of all tips, guidelines, rules and regulations. PET creates harmony and relaxation. Let me explain.
Be Patient. When you are, you don’t honk or succumb to undue acceleration. You wait. You keep a good attitude while waiting. You smile and not frown. You listen to music at low volume. You have a soft and humble voice. You are kind.
"Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we are waiting." - Joyce Meyer
Empathize. When you do, you do not give your car or bike to a novice or learner and let her drive. You understand and follow traffic rules including speed limits. You don’t push or bully the diver of a slow moving vehicle. You stop for pedestrians. You tend to slowdown when you are close to hospitals or schools. You thank a driver who lets you pass. You look level-headed and pleasant but not haughty or short-tempered. You don’t use your cell phone or make-up kit while driving. Nor do you eat or drink while driving. You drive and live with the full awareness that stress-free driving and safety are equally important and valuable to everyone on the road. You don’t race your car or bike at any time of the day for whatever reason. You remember and value your family and friends.
"The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy." - Meryl Streep
Tolerate. When you do, you endure those who violate. You tolerate those who are not patient and do not empathize. You don’t become a follower of the wrong doers. You don’t take short cuts. You don’t try to teach them a lesson. You don’t try to win them over a race and give it back. You continue to think the right things and keep a positive attitude.
"Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." – Robert Green Ingersoll
Makes sense? THINK PET! – How else can we ensure road safety? What else do you think? Let me know.