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INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE-YOUR PASSPORT TO OVERSEAS DRIVING

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Being the master of your own travel with least dependence on others not only thrills but saves you money, time and avoidable formalities during your overseas visits of long durations. Some people have some interesting ideas touring foreign countries by car-often based on fantasy, or fear.   The notion of a couple waiting through a grapvine-bedecked countryside in their little tiny 2 Hp car, is about as sensible as thinking the only way to do Europe safely and efficiently is by organised coach tour.


While in Europe meandering through la-champagne in search of sunshine, great provincial food and wine is perfectly achievable most comfortable in a self-driven vehicle which you would be crazy to do. Hire yourself a decent -seized vehicle, with at least an engine of 1600cc, so you can stack a bit of luggage in it and be able to cope with the speed of traffic on the main highways.

And, no doubt, tours by coach are more appropriate for people with little time, on a specific budget, going to places where coach travel is most appropriate, or who feel they are of too advanced an age to cope with the rigours of independent travel in a self-driven car.

Those who do have time and looking for excitement can polish up their school, French, Spanish, German or English a little bit to take them closer to locals. Reading road map, flexibility to change plans is an added exercise which makes your travel an eventful experience.  Once ventured, you will develop the habit and know for yourself that touring by car is a lot easier than some would have you believe. Those who did a coach travel and then rental car trip in Europe with partners were surprised and delighted at how easy it was to travel by car.  The first thing you notice will be excellent sign posting everywhere. If you have a good detailed road map obtained from a touring club or an automobile association, it will be relatively easy to find your way.  Signpost are the pride guide and are repeated several times so you have time to prepare to get off in the chosen direction.

The major motorways all over Europe are all purpose built to get you where you want to go directly and quickly. The roads, signage and driving is so disciplined that even making 140 km/h, you will be passed by those traveling in a fast lane.  There are usually two or three lanes to use.

People do drive fast and it's important have a vehicle with plenty of boot-space and with lots of power to move when you need to.  A small car is obviously not good option both for comfort and safety.  There are always large numbers of huge trucks on the highways but they stay in their lanes so can usually be passed easily.  The recently built motorways don't take you through the picturesque villages you wish to see. So use secondary highways which meanders through areas of beautiful historical towns and gorgeous countryside.  Secondary roads are usually in good condition but are two-way so keeping on your own side of the road is fairly important.  With little traffic on these roads, you can move at your own pace which gives you convenience of speed as you wish.

And Finally

  • Don't forget to obtain International Driving Licence which is your passport to overseas driving.  This document which you can obtain also from Automobile Association of Upper India and From its sister regional associations (AAEI, AASI, WIAA) is recognised worldwide to identify you is properly licensed driver.  The License is only valid for one year and essential for car rental abroad.  It must be accompanied by your domestic licence as per rules.

So enjoy your summer vacations overseas every year with these useful tips. Stop wherever you wish and go wherever  your fancy takes you.


CHOOSING THE RIGHT DRIVING SCHOOL

Author T. K. Malhotra, President
 
Most driving instructor work as self-employed proprietors of single or twin-car schools.  Many of these initially take the plunge from the relative safety of a secure job into the business world with little knowledge of business affairs and merely with commonsense which in fact alone does not work for this kind of business involving human safety.  Is there a difference in driving schools? Yes, there is! As with everything else there is a great deal of difference in driving schools! As you learn only once in your lifetime you owe it to yourself to be aware of these differences. There are are plenty of driving schools in India. Many are reputable others leave much to be desired and unfortunately a few are unethical.   How can you tell the difference? More specially. " What makes one school fair, another good and yet another excellent?" Certainly it is not  the training car used because all schools have access to the same kind of car with dual control.  Unless you have had a first hand experience with a driving school it is difficult to tell the difference between schools. However, there are some guidelines that may be useful to you, Here are some question:

Q. 1.  Does the school have a bona fide office?

Ans.  In some areas the driving schools are allowed to operate from homes and are not necessarily " Professional". many a time the owner has other interests besides his driving schools.  An office devoted exclusively to the operation of a school tends to indicate that the school is well established in the community as a legitimate business enterprise, and not as a part of time method for the owner to supplement his income.

 

Q. 2. How long has the school been in business?

Ans. The longer a school has been in business, the more assured you can be that they are giving quality lessons.
A school giving poor training will not survive very long possibly two or three years at the most and then they are out of business.

Q. 3.  What is the school's reputation?

Ans.  If you know someone  who has gone to a particular school you are indeed lucky because you can get firsthand knowledge of the training imparted by that school. Not having this advantage, you may have to do a little investigation on your town.

Q. 4. What is the fee charged?
Ans. "Bargain rates" at a driving school should be looked upon with suspicion.  All school have about the same basic operating expenses, if managed  in accordance  with the governing rules.  They all are supposed to pay the same for training cars, for tyres, maintenance, petrol, insurance and other necessities.  The only place where a driving school can cut costs and thus make more profit is with the salaries of its instructors.  Good professional instructors  command a good wage.  This cost, in turn, must be passed on to the students.  A school that charges below the average fee is invariably employing instructors who are willing to work below the average wage.  A well qualified professional instructor simply will not work for lower wages.  Clearly a driving school is no better than the caliber of instructors employed. The price you pay for lesson is your first clue to the qualifications of the instructor who will be training you. While all driving instructors have more or less the ability to facilitate the learning process, a particularly well qualified and trained " professional instructor" can impart more knowledge in an hour than the average instructor can in two hours or more. The difference between can be amazing! A professional instructor makes learning to drive an enjoyable experience and the student actually welcome each lesson! 

Q. 5 Instructor Training?

Ans. Does the school have a formal training programme for their instructors? This is a very important requirement that you should take into consideration, why? There are tests to take regarding the vehicle code, basic teaching principles, mechanics of a car which is all very basic before practical driving lessons.  Progressive Driving Training School. Traffic safety educators and safety officials all agree that a  professional instructor should receive far more training than this. In Germany, for example, a person wanting to become an instructor is required to attend 40 hours a week for a six month period and then pass a very hard test. They truly become "professional" in this length of time.  There are similar requirements in other countries throughout the world.

Q. 6. What type of trading equipment is used? 

Ans.  The training vehicles should be of the 'make' usually found on roads.  These cars be kept in good mechanical condition. I would like to tell you that the driving electronic simulator, through not mandatory, has helped the AAUI Driving School students learn faster, better and gain more confidence in themselves.

None of the above guidelines is a guarantee of quality in any driving school unless the school is a bona fide institution professionally operated and has the requisite infrastructure needed to make you a safe driver.  Therefore selection of a proper driving school is foremost to acquire new skills, new knowledge, new concepts to master the technique of handling a vehicle. It is interesting  to note that many "celebrities" in the world did join the driving schools to teach them to drive.  Among these are the richest women in the world, Christine Onassis; Michael Jackson and three of his four brothers and sisters; singers Barry Manilow and Sheena Easton; actor Michael Caine and Martin Sheen; actress Kay Ballard and Kelly Lebrock, Marrill diez-Barroso; Pearce Sisters and many T. V. stars such as John Russell and Red Buttons etc.  The points raised in this chapter are significant barometers as you learn to drive once in your lifetime and you deserve the best.

 


THE BEST TIME TO CHANGE CAR

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

There is no hard and fast rule to fix the best time to change your vehicleHowever, analysing the breakdown calls received by the AAUI, some advice can surely be given.  We often to change our vehicle when it makes little sense to do so.

A high-tech modern car newly-purchased should perform well for 10 years with average usage of 12,000 to 15,000km a year.  Possibly we may not wish to retain our vehicle that long; changing in less than five or six years is likely to reduce the value for money you get from the original purchase price.

Looking at a purely financial standpoint, it makes a little sense to change your vehicle in less than three years' time.  The vehicle loses most of its value in that time, and also is likely to have one year warranty covering manufacturing defects.

Normal estimates of operating costs reveal that a new car on average loses 15 p.c.  of its value every year for the first five years. But in the first year, depreciation is a wallet battering 20 p. c. reducing to 10 p.c. in five years.

Thus more often we buy a new car, the more often we will have to bear that burdensome 20 p.c. depreciation.  Nonetheless, some of us do change our cars frequently for a variety of reasons.

Technically speaking, for a real value for money we can hardly beat buying a low mileage one to two-year-old car provided we have it put through an expert pre-purchase check to ensure it is in sound condition. Pre-purchase check facility is available from AAUI on request.

With such a planned purchase we can avoid the early lacerating depreciation and get four or five good years of services from the vehicle. We can repeat the process as well. Even ex-rentals, if near new, may be a good buy with around 30, 000 km run completed. We should ensure that the car no longer carries the stigma that used rental once bore.  Because much of their travel is likely to have been long trips, near new ex-rentals can be in better condition than some private vehicles subjected primarily to short around-city running.  Again, if they pass a pre-purchase check, they can represent a good value.

We do also have other option for buying repeatedly older cars that are in good condition and turn them over every three or four years.  Thus, over a ten year span our total motoring costs may then be reduced significantly through the unknown factor is that we may be shocked with unexpectedly severe repairs costs if something goes seriously wrong one of these old cars.

Viewing the car operation costs such as depreciation, insurance, registration fee, petrol, tyres, repairs etc., we sometime feel astounded to find just how costly it is to be a motorist.  Nevertheless, there is an overgrowing craze in the community to acquire many cars as they can with easy finance facility now available country wide.

On average cars up to 1300 cc cost appx. Rs. 1,40,000 a year in total operating costs, calculated on average usage of 1,200 km a year to operate.

Cars 1300 to 2000 cc cost on average 1,60,000 to Rs. 1,92,000 a year to operate. And those over 2000 cc cost on average Rs. 2, 25, 000 a year to operate.

Thus over 10 years, if we buy new and keep each car five years, out total operating costs will range from Rs. 13,35,000 to more than Rs. 22,25,000 depending on the size of car we drive.

If we change our car more frequently than every five years, those  cost will rise, if less frequently than five years, they will fail.   But as said earlier, if we do not buy new, our motoring cost can be reduced substantially by avoiding that early lash of depreciation.

Well, these comments deal only with financial aspects. Many of us do buy new and change regularly. These reason may be vanity because we regard our vehicle as an extension of ourselves, or because we delight in new technology, or because we want to keep up with the latest development in car safety and elegance.

We may also want to avoid the risk of incurring expensive repairs, which is a factor to weight up when buying an older car.

Nonetheless, whatever our purpose, the AAUI experts can render suitable advice to you in this respect.  The advice can save your time and avoidable expenses on major repairers that are not required.  You should not be surprised if advised by experts not to go for striping and rebuilding the gearbox against the finding of a workshop.

Occasionally, AAUI technical experts have also helped car owners and insurance companies in detection of the cause of a crash when they were approached. To examine a damaged vehicle.

 


HOW EFFICIENT ARE YOU AS A DRIVER

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Does getting behind the wheel Sometimes bring out the beast within us?  Driving is a matter of attitude and we can certainly fortune our driving skills.  Plainly speaking. Driving is complex task consisting of variety of coordinating skills with a wide plays an important role in development of competent drivers. It really helps a driver to periodically assess his attitude by doing an experience to self-assess his mental outlook behind wheel.

Watch below what your score means to a quiz if given to you  for self assessment of your driving attitude.

8-16 point.  Overcautious -you may be leaving a string of wrecks in your wake , through you might not have crashes.  You tend to feel out of control and constantly check to see what's happening.  Your erratic behaviour this way may confuse other drivers, who expect traffic to behave consistently.  Such are the drivers who block the passing lane at the speed limit and don't feel they have to pull over.  They frequently pay attention to the rules, like actual speed limit. And others still may think they're going to slow.  Experts advise that such drivers should move to the left lane.,  So that others wishing to take more chances that you do won't feel irritated if they cannot get buy safely.

Some of this overcautious, unsafe driving behaviour may be age-related. It is seen that mature drivers tends to recognize their sensory and psychomotor skills.  They feel that they can compensate for the effect of aging by, say, slowing down when it is simply not safe to do so in traffic.

17-29 points.  Cooperative-you are in a habit of adjusting to traffic needs and conditions.  You make allowance for other drivers behaviours while at the same time obeying the law.  You care to allow "safety margin"  that can mitigate the effects of unforeseen actions by others on the road.  To you being safe is more important than right.

30-42 points. Demanding-You take a few too many chances.  You can be so preoccupied with something irritating or aggravating in your life that you fail to pay attention to your driving.  Suppressed feeling about what you would like to have done with your life can come out when you're driving.  There is also the competitive aspect.  People like to do better than others, they do not like people to get ahead of them.  Slow down, breathe deeply and relax.

43-56 points.  Dangerous-You feel you're always entitled to get your way, and other drivers are there just to irritate you.  Taking chances or getting angry at other drivers does not change them or teach them a lesson, but it can kill you.

This attitude too many be somewhat are-related.  Younger drivers tend to externalise; for example, they may drive to fast, may weave across lanes, or may drive under the influence.  They feel that can dominate their environment and their environment will accommodate them.  In some ways it may be sex-based also.

There may be still tendency of males to try to get in front of women drivers. Also, a problem attitude is acting out on the road some of the life situations that you would have liked to have gone better for you, like being in front so you are really the leader or better expert and smart driver to prove.

Self-assessment (like this one) is only as valid as a driver's self perception.  Sometimes drivers don't always do what they say.  For example, drivers may give socially acceptable and desirable responses for what might other wise be regarded as moral habits or personal deficiencies.   Consequently , drivers might under-report on drinking and driving, driving after taking drugs (medications) or traffic accidents and violations.

Your ability to understand your self and interact with people is important.  This is how I would like to conclude.  If you have trouble interacting with people in a nondriving salutation, you're probably going to have trouble in a driving situations as well.


HAZARDOUS RAIN DRIVING

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Hazards and emergencies caused during rains make driving more difficult.  During this season, the road surface is covered with rain water and poor visibility further compounds the situation by causing traction problems.  The changes in road conditions affect the way in which our car operate and we must be ready to respond to emergency situations.

Reduced visibility , glare from the headlights of the oncoming vehicles and unseen objects on the road all combine to make driving hazardous during the rainy season .  Heavy rains can also cause fog, especially if the wind is blowing, making it difficult for you to see vehicles to the rear and the blind spot areas through rain-spattered windows.

Fog reflect light and can reflect your own headlight back into you eyes.  As such, care has to be taken as you pass through areas of thicker fog.  You will have to be adjust your speed and be prepared  for emergency maneuvers, like pulling off the road until the fog lifts.  The blades may smear if you do not wait before using your windshield wipers while it is raining. There is an added hazards if extra care is not taken during the first half hour after it begins to rain; grime and oil on the surface mix with water, making the road slippery.

Hydroplaning may occur during rain-storms.  During heavy rains, the tyre ride on a film of water like water skis.  At 80 km per hour, they can lose all contacts with the road. Under inflated worn-out or bald tyres lose contact with the road even much lower speeds.  A slight changes of director or gust of wind could cause the vehicle to skid.  You can face irreparable damages, both to your self and your car if you do not slow down.  But if your car still does hydroplanes, you should take your foot off the accelerator, avoid breaking and steering changes, and, if possible, hold the steering wheel firmly until the tyres grip the road again.

Bad roads with invisible potholes  and more than kneedeep water under the fly-overs is a usual sight every year during the monsoons.  Through rains do bring respite to the city which continues to reel under intense heat wave problems caused to roads and driving leads to chaotic conditions. Well such a ' Road Scene' is neither new nor can we take it as uncivilized. Regretfully, however people generally lack the preparedness to handle such a situation before it takes a serious turn.  The water collected in huge volumes disrupts the entire traffic and throw the normal life out of the gear due to delayed drainage,  It is highly advisable that government and concerned municipal authorities keep vigil to ensure instant operation of pumping system and keep the road drainage under check rather than waiting for the situation to go bad. At the same time, the motorists and road users too should cooperate to tackle the conditions.

  • Before starting the engine, you must clear all the windows and lights of  your vehicle fog, dew, dust and water.
    Check the tyres to prevent skidding and to reduce the stopping distance.
    Drive gently. You should not change speed or direction suddenly.
    You should slow down before stopping or turning to compensate for reduce visibility and wet road surface.
    Increase your space cushions-double the normal following distance to four seconds.
    Avoid deep water if possible. The water can stall your engine and a hidden pothole can do even worse damage. Estimate the depth of the water by looking at parked  cars or other objects along the roadside and watch what other vehicles are doing.
    Ensure that two vehicles do not meet in deep water, Allow one vehicle to pass through before you start coming from the other direction. This will reduce the possibility of stalling due to waves caused in the water.
    The cruise through deep water must be made at a slow, steady speed. Applying the brakes gently and avoiding gear shift will eliminate the risk to a great extent.

    Check the brakes after leaving water to examine if they slowly and evenly. If brakes are wet, they may suddenly grab or pull to one side. Dry them by accelerating slowly while lightly holding down the brakes pedal.

    Use low-beam headlights only during fog and look for road edge marking to guide. Even light fog reduces visibility and our ability to judge distance.

ALL ABOUT TYRES

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Many accidents are caused by worn-out tyres. It is, therefore, very essential that due attention be given towards maintenance of tyres. Some important hints about maintenance of tyres are given as under to enable all the automobile users to take timely action to avoid sudden blow out and punctures causing accidents:

Uneven wear and tear: Each tyre should rotated at least once every 3 months to eliminate any uneven wear and tear to nay-particular tyre. It may show up as greater wear on one side of the tyre, in the center or on both sides of the tyre tread. The main reason for this could be the unbalancing or non-alignment of the wheels. Driving with underflated or over inflated tyres shortens the life of the tyres considerably. The remedy lies in getting the alignment and the wheel balancing done, ensuring that the tyre pressures are maintained. Incidentally, manufacturers do suggest the tyre pressures for the tyres used in their models.

SAFE-TREAD WHILE DRIVING: A tyre must retain at least 1/8th inch of the tread for safe driving. Thereafter, retreading or replacement of the tyre becomes essential. Basically, the tyre tread provides the necessary grip on the road while applying brakes and turning. In case of a worn out tread, this grip is seriously affected and there is no danger of the car skidding and not coming to halt within the safe distance after application of brakes. The problem becomes more serious when the road surface is wet or slippery due to any reason.

INFLATION OF THE TYRES: For properly retreated tyre, a specified inflation pressure needs to be maintained.
However, when the tread is worn out, it is advisable to reduce the tyre pressure by 5 to 7 per cent, so as to provide better grip and resultant safety.

ROTATION OF TYRES: The importance of rotation of tyres lies in the fact that the wear and tear of the tyres is evenly distributed. There is, otherwise, a danger of a particular tyre losing its tread much earlier before the other tyres. Tyres should be rotated regularly, from 6000 to 8000 Kms. The pattern for rotating is by the Cross Change Rule. The right hand front tyre is shifted to the left-hand rear and the left-hand front tyre is shifted to the right hand rear.

This rule is generally adopted for radial tyres. In case of nylon rubber tyres, the rule is slightly modified. The front left-hand tyre is placed in reserve and the reserve tyre is fitted at left- hand rear. The left-hand tyre rear goes to right hand front and the right hand rear goes to left-hand front. So the basic rule is to cross the rear tyres with the front tyres diagonally.

 

One for the Road? Never!

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

May be Christmas or New Year Eve, festivity, does not mean 'celebration' with alcohol if we have to drive. During the festive season, we must exercise greater care to avoid road crashes and not to add to the fatal figures which are already alarming.

Factors which intensify the effects of alcohol include

Fatigue: If you feel tired you should be very careful when drinking. Eating a substantial meal accompanied by two or three pints of beer may make you tired even through your alcohol level may not be dangerously high.

Strain and stress: Even small quantities of alcohol may turn simple impatience into irritability, just being annoyed may well lead to aggression, frustration and depression. Be careful-washing down a problem with a drink does not help, it may crop up again at an untimely moment e.g. when you are overtaken by another car.

Illness drugs: Illness may effect you metabolism so that even small quantities of alcohol may have serious consequences, if you are taking drugs the effect of alcohol is intensified even more and the reactions which may occur are extremely complex and unpredictable.

Smoking and Coffee: cigarettes and coffee may have a stimulating effect, but can also use up your energy resources. Smoking and drinking alcohol, coffee or tea at the same time delays the catabolic functions of the liver, as it has to process the other substances as well.

Effect on driving

Besides, alcohol consumption causes serious impairment of visual abilities, difficulty to identify single tree when driving through an avenue, very delayed reactions, impaired judgement of peripheral areas, non-notcing of traffic signs, impairment of ability to carry out delicate manoeuvres and sight direction changes, serious impairment of ability to adjust sped, extremely faulty manipulation, impaired processing of sensory perception by the brain and above all, tendency to take higher risks.

Many motorists believe that they are safe with an alcohol level of less than 50 or 80 mg/ml. They are wrong-because even at a level of 20 mg/ml. Symptoms of impaired concentration may be registered. Remember that factors like fatigue, illness, stress and drugs have additional adverse effects and may cause severe concentration loss even when only small quantities of alcohol are consumed.

How to avoid drink driving offence

  • If you're going on the road with your car, motorcycle, don't touch that second drink. Or, better still, don't even have the first.
  • Never force a drink on somebody who is going to drive.
  • If you're going to party either don't drink or choose a "non-drinking chauffeur" who will get you home safely.
  • If you're giving a party-offer to put your guests up for the night or call a taxi. A good host will look after guests.
  • Decline a lift offered by a person who has been drinking.
  • Take a taxi-committing a drink-driving offence may be expensive and risky too.
    Be on your guard -you can never tell-the aftereffect of alcohol may catch you unawares!
  • Mixing intoxicating liquor and drugs can make you lose control.
  • Be careful when offered strange drinks -they may contain alcohol.
  • Why not try non-alcohol drinks they may me as delicious.
  • Fruit Juice are recommended when driving for they help to prevent fatigue.
  • Copious meals also contribute to fatigue and sleepiness when driving.

HILL DRIVING IS SKILL DRIVING.

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

The summer sets in and seen on the roads are vehicle with dark black tinted glasses. Many private cars are even noticed with curtains fitted in the interior preventing total transparency. You are tempted to increase cooling efficiency. Using these measures through may slightly increase cabin-cooling of your car, don't forget that the safety of your vehicle in close proximity with other vehicles will be jeopardised. The Motor Vehicles Rules make it abundantly clear that every motor vehicle shall be maintained to ensure minimum 70 percent visual transmission of light. The glasses used of fitted to the vehicle shall be maintained in a manner to provide visual transmission of light not less than 50% conforming to IS standards. These rules have been framed to permit clear vision from outside to inside and outside. We have, therefor, to be extra cautious not to fit our vehicles tinted glasses or sun control films that are so dark as to obscure clear vision.

While taking about summer, many of the city motorists must also be planning a holiday with their families to nearby hill stations. Hill driving needs special skill indeed. So we must take the following precautions.

Test the brake setting off.
Shift to the correct gear before climbing and descending .
Avoid changing gears mid-way on a gradient.
Give way to heavy vehicles and the traffic that is upcoming.
It is risky to switch of the engine or shift to neutral gear for saving fuel. If we do so, we may lose total control on our vehicle.
Religiously follow traffic signals and use caution by blowing horn reaching blind corners and sharp turnings. AT night use dipper instead to forewarn the oncoming traffic.
Avoid always overtaking near the bends and at the crest of hill.
While passing the traffic coming from the opposite side, use dim light only.
Use the same gear for descending a gradient which would have been used by you to ascend it.
Allow to brakes to cool if found fading which happens due to excessive heating.
Care for parking rules when stopping on a step gradient. Use hand-brakes and place stones or bricks under the wheel but remember to remove those while resuming your journey.

It is highly important to position your vehicle when negotiating sharp curves. The vehicle should be pulled towards right to bring it as close to the road centre as possible. Move gently tot he left/inner side of the corner to reduce sharpness of the curve. Put your vehicle straight.

On leaving the corner, move to left.
Before arriving at corners, the vehicles should be pulled to the extreme left. Then move towards right close to the centre of the road. Move well thereafter to the left and leaving the corner steer your vehicles straight.

Fitment of TV in a vehicle seems to be yet another craze though it also jeopardises vehicle safety. Must you find this irresistible, take precautions to place the unit in your vehicle in a manner that it does not distract the person at the 'wheel'.

It must be placed behind the driver, so that the telecast is not within his view. The audio should be operated at a low level to avoid distracting other drivers sharing the road with you.

 

WHO SAYS ACCIDENTS ARE MADE IN HEAVEN?

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

The latest updates on figures of road accidents since January this year reveals that there has been no fall in the graph despite the many awareness programmes launched by the authorities and NGO's.

Nobody wants to die. Nobody gets into their mobike or in their car and says. "Today I am going to smash into the back of a truck and annihilate myself." Still, once a day, on an average, some do just that.

Why? It seems that a lot of drivers forget the basic rules of good driving once they've passed their driving test.

First a motor vehicles is potentially a lethal weapon. Your primary task, upon learning to drive, is to be able to control this weapon at all times-to avoid injuries to yourself and other people.

Anyone who can animatedly discuss, while driving, last night's gala party, a new outfit or what the boss and new private secretary are upto, is a potential accidents victim looking for the time and the place for the accident to happen.

Although the mechanics of automobiles are vastly improved version of yesterday's vehicles it does not mean we don't need any other sort of warning systems.

The warning system I am referring to is concentration. Concentration means keeping your mind on what you are doing. In this instance, DRIVING.

Concentration is vital on on the crowded roads of today. Infect there are no road upon which a driver can allow his concentration to ease.

Without exception, not a single accident should have occurred on roads this year if the concerned persons had paid attention and concentrated on their driving (with the exception of those suffering from heart failure or a stroke at the wheel).

While driving on a busy road, how far ahead do you try to see? if you watch the rear end of the car in front of you and you are travelling at 80 km/h, even the fastest reacting driver (concentration intently) will travel between seven to eight metres before his foot even moves towards the brake pedal. So watching the car ahead of you is not enough.

I remeber narrowly avoiding example of rules forgotten on the road. It is both a perceived and actual threat to the driver in the front vehicle. In short, what a tail-getting driver is doing is shaking his fist at the driver in front and saying," Get out of may way." You're too slow you shouldn't be there.

Road hogging is surely the most arrogant, selfish, thoughtless act that any road user can be involved in.

THE DEPENDENCE ON VEHICLES

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Some 80 percent car owners may find it difficulty to abandon use of their cars. Almost one third of drivers may like to travel less by car, if circumstances allowed. A study is needed to analyse to what extent people are dependent on cars.

Car dependence is a reality for almost 80 percent of trips people make. Nevertheless, most people would not describe themselves as dependent, but rather see the car as providing independence, real financial saving and privacy. However, some people perceive effects of car use such as declining fitness due to lack of exercise or stress when stuck in traffic.

About 80 percent of car owners may not imagine living without car. People who drive a lot tend to regard public transportation to be inferior quality, unmatched with their status and standards of living.

It is seen that middle income people in the urbanized towns own more cars and travel farther than counterparts in cities. The "rural poor" are now forced to own and use cars or two wheelers to a greater extent than their income would normally supports due to lack of alternatives to satisfy their commuting requirements.

The people with the highest income presumably own nearly 60 percent of the cars and account for 70 percent of the traffic. Middle and high-income groups rely heavily on cars wherever they live.

Car dependence is a process and not a state: car use changes as people get older and perhaps richer. In general, people are not forced to buy a car and then immediately adopt a life style. It is also a fact that once we buy a car we drive more and more and play less attention to alternatives.

A small proportion of car owners drives once a month to supermarkets and shopping centres close may be a walking distance.

Many do so once a week or as frequently as required not caring to maintain inventory of provision and consumable on monthly basis. Cars have thus become an indispensable delivery system for grocery shopping.

The number of journeys by car or less than half a kilometer appears to have increased from 4 percent in 1970 to 30 percent today. If one calculates the time spent in traffic and parking the car, it may have taken the same time walking.

Cars use seems to be growing for all purpose. More than 15 percent trips are for escorting passengers, often children. Escorts trips have been growing thrice as fast as average, increasing short trips so radically.

A majority of car trips could be replacement of suitable alternatives are available. Only 2o percent car trips perhaps cannot be avoided.

The current driving trends indicate much more car use and fewer acceptable alternatives. In an attempt to reduce car travel, addressing the most car dependent will be least successful.

The best strategy will be to target the 20 percent of non refundable journeys: very short car trips that can be avoided or have good alternatives. The government has to continue to cater to the car dependent travellers. At the same time, policies directed for specific travel needs are necessary to encourages walking or cycling for short journeys, to provide more efficient and safe school transport and to encourages supermarkets and grocery stores to be near residential areas. With plenty of parking and home delivery services.

 

AVOID SHIVER TO YOUR CAR

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

During winter flat batteries are the main cause of emergency service calls received from Automobile Association of Upper India members. About 50 percent breakdown calls received were for electrical problems, mainly faulty batteries. Following is a simple, easy guide on how to maintain car battery: The battery is the vital electrical power source that drives the starter motor, the ignition system, the lighting fitments, horn, wipers, air conditioning and stereo system.

The average life of a battery is about 18 months but is depends upon the working condition of your car and the care taken by you.

Periodical maintenance should be done. The maintenance typically involves five Cs: Checking the electrolyte level, Cleaning the battery terminals, Clearing battery top, Checking the battery tray and hold down clamps and Caring the battery for physical damage.

Top up Battery Fluid: Remove the cell caps and fill each one to the level marked on the battery case. If there is no mark fill until the electrolyte covers the battery plates, which can be seen through the filler holes. The battery fluid should be checked at least once a month and topped up below the correct level - just above the top of battery plates. If the battery fluid level falls, below the tops of the battery plates, the related cell starts to lose its efficiency.

Ensure to use filtered or distilled water. Buy proprietary topping-up fluids only in sealed containers to be sure that these are not contaminated.

Always keep the battery top clean - wipe it before removing the cellcaps or through a cover; when dirt is likely to fall into the cells.

The cell caps or covers have ventilating holes to allow the escapes of gases when the battery is being charged. Make sure holes are clean.

After topping up, wipe away any water spilled on the top of the battery.

CAUTION: Never top up battery with tap water, which usually contains minerals that may damage the battery. Use distilled or purified water.

The hydrogen gas produced by the chemical reactions in the battery is highly flammable. SO keep all sparks and flames away from the top of the battery.

Battery test: It is possible to find out how well a battery is charged by measuring the specified gravity with a hydrometer. The specific gravity is the weight of a specific volume of liquid compared with that of the same volume of water. The specific gravity is the weight of a specific volume liquid compared with that of the same volume of water. The figure for electrolyte in a fully charged battery is between 1.270 and 1.290-meaning that it is 1.270 times heavier than water. However, as the battery loses charge, the specific gravity drops to 1.130 or lower. The hydrometer contains a weighted float. The float is marked with a graduated scale usually reading from 1.10 to 1.30.

Battery Charge test: Insert the syringe into a cell, then squeeze and release the bulb to draw up a sample of electrolyte-enough to make it touch the bulb.
Read off the graduation mark, which is level with the surface of the electrolyte.
The state of the charge can be graduated from how much the figure is below 1.290. A reading of, say 1.200 would show the battery to be about half charged and 1.150 would represent a fully discharged battery.
The float may be graded red, yellow and green to slow low, half or full charge.
After talking the reading, squeeze the bulb to return the electrolyte to its cell, and test the other cells in turn.
All should give similar reading within about 0.04 of each other-any greater variation indicates a defective cell and the battery must be replaced.
The readings taken immediately after topping up are inaccurate and are misleading.

TOO MANY DUCKS ON ROADS

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Roads in India , particularly in metros, look like having many ducks, judging from the excessive and often unnecessary blasts of horn heard on our roads.

While our ears are more or less attuned to this kind of noice menace drivers in many other countries are sentenced to jail for punching a fellow car driver. They are not both legally or socially permitted to have a honk-honk much along road. Unfortunately such senseless and rather violent action is not restricted to the less educated but well educated and people with established status are also no less to take the fancy to this rowdy music.

When I was in Cape Town in connection with the International General Assembly in South Africa, I came across an accident in which a driver was incensed when a fellow educated professional provoked him by honking at him. Hot words were exchanged. The pilot of the car went into auto schedule; I would no longer offer to witness the incident. But most probably the honker seemed to have sustained a permanent eye injury. The " honkee" may have made to jail-who knows-as their roads rules are quite stringent. In the case of the pilot, one can't help but empathise with his bewildered family whose world may have suddenly been turned upside dawn-all because of a car horn!

It is too much and never an excuse to punch someone, but also there is no reason for someone to be so impatient as to practically stand on his horns.

If the honkers in such cases exercise a little patience or given their horns friendly loot followed with a smile or wave. I think the resulting unpleasant incidents can be avoided.

A horn whether of a car, lorry, bus or a truck is really meant for emergency use. Why then often it is used as a sharp tongue or for hostile intentions. We know how easy it is to blow the horn prematurely, unnecessarily or worse in anger. It is indeed on act of mounting aggression which is harmful to both honker and honked besides causing abuse to the environment.

I really doubt whether anyone on reflection would wish to 'ask' for a punch or be the indirect cause o another being convicted.

We have to recognize the fact that it's rather simple to something ship into an uncivilized manner once behind the wheel, treating other motorists as combating enemies rather than fellow road users. It is easy to be provoked by other drivers too.
LET'S NOT FORGET

HORNS CAUSE STRESS AND
TENSION TO CO-ROAD USERS
AND ARE HARMFUL TO HEALTH

· Horns increase blood pressure and have bad effect on the heart
· Horns damage hearing power and cause digestion problems.
· Horns cause serious disturbance to sleeping children, patience and old persons.
· Horns cause irritation, tension and sleeplessness.

Then why not hold on to our temper, strive for patience and keep our hands off the honker!

On lea

COURTESY IS CONTAGIOUS  

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

You take newspaper in the morning to look at and you will find that it focuses on the road toll and serious accident happening on and around Delhi roads. The tragedy sometime hits headlines more prominently than a most wanted political news. It all shows the deep concern which the Press as well as the readers share on road killings. But however, how many of us really remain serious and thoughtful when it comes to us behave on the roads while driving or using roads as pedestrians.

If we look at the confirmed figures compiled for the year 1997 , as many as 4531 persons were killed in 5 metro cities. Injuries were sustained by 18185 persons. The number of accidents that took place in Delhi alone was 5661. No one likes or talks about one of the main causes of death in the country. The fact is, death in these numbers do occur on our roads with continuous monotony from one year to another.

How often have we heard from those visiting India that Indian driving culture is the worst in the world. These comments are invariable made in the startled realization  that the Indian driver, compared to overseas counterparts, does tend to display less regard for fellow for road users - he they motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, two- wheeler riders or bus drivers.

If drivers generally had more consideration for other road users, more courtesy on the road, I have no doubt that the road toll would further reduce. Courtesy to other means being constantly aware of fellow drivers and of what happens in fast changing circumstances. This is the first lesson taught in a defensive driving course by the Automobile Association of Upper India (AAUI). 

Let me illustrate this further in the situation of lane driving. When a driver ahead courteously make way for you to change lanes or overtake, with a friendly wave, it certainly fosters the same spirit and encourages you to do the same.

This is why the AAUI in the year ahead has decided to focus its road safety promotional emphasis on engendering higher awareness of driver courtesy under the banner "Courtesy is Contagious". Specifically such a campaign is needed to be devised for promotion running through the year to begin with.

In this campaign you will not be alone. Plans may be to enlist as much support as possible from other voluntary agencies, motorists and above all the traffic police which remains eager to associate such programmes of public interest. Initiatives such as those of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Transport Department, Traffic Police and other safety organizations like AAUI focusing on education programmes - Particularly, the lane driving, violations of signals and higher awareness of the dangers of drink-driving are definitely paying rewards.

This aside, even a single death on our roads in one too many it behooves us all to play whatever part we can to ensure that the road toll continues to be improved. Each of us shares the responsibility and should not just leave it to others.

You may ask: how can we as motorists make any meaningful contribution? I am myself no exception, we would all say we are good safe drivers. The fact is that accident don't just happen they are caused - by us.

Personally I believe many of these accidents should be avoided if all of us had more regard for the fact that we are alone on the roads; that there are other road users.

IF YOU HIT PEDESTRIAN   SPEED IS A CRITICAL FACTOR

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

If a pedestrian is stuck by a car speeding more than 70km/ph. his death is virtually certain. If a vehicle with this speed strikes a pedestrian, a glancing blow dismemberment (loss of an arm or leg) is likely to occur.

Serious injury is likely even when a pedestrian is hit by a car traveling at under 50km/ph. Any pedestrian hit below the center of mass (waist height) will be flung over the bonnet and into the windscreen. The car may run the victim over if the impact is above the center of mass.

The victim's body is accelerated to the same speed as of the vehicle in a fraction of a second when a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle and carried into the bonnet.

The body falls to ght ground as the car brakes (the loss of friction between the two surfaces causes the body to fall off as the car slows), resultingin further injuries.

In a recent fatal hit-and-run accident reported from another country, the right hand front corner of a speeding car struck a woman pedestrian, breaking her leg, in three places. The victim was, as a result, propelled onto the bonnet of the falling car with such force that her head struck the top right hand corner of the roof andwindscreen. She died of massive head injuries on the way to hospital.

While tragic, this impact is a text-book example of what happens in many pedestrian accidents. According to experts, "serious head injuries frequently occur at vehicle impact speeds of 50 km/ph or greater. Even at substantially lower speeds accidents can result in broken legs an ribs followed by head injuries". Further, the type of injuries depend on the Car's speed and whereabouts you are hit. Frontal impacts are most usual in which the body isstruck quare-on by the car. These account for 80 to 90 percent of all car-pedestrian accidents. If the driver falls to stop in time, the vehicle may run over if victim's body is hit above waist height. (This happens usually with children because they are smaller). If hit below the waist, the victim's body will rotate, landing on the bonnet.

According to foreign experts, "normally, when a car strikes a pedestrian, the victim's body is accelerated to the same speed as the car. When two colliding surfaces do not reach the same speed it is referred to as a portial impact." This kind of accident frequently results in dismemberment and tragic death of a pedestrian.

It is said that one of the three things usually happens in this type of crash.

The driver brakes and the pedestrian slides off the bonnet onto the road. Provided the car brakes heavily, the car will stop with the pedestrian just ahead.

The body rotates after being struck. The head hits the windscreen before the body passes over the vehicle and lands in the road. The pedestrian is scooped by the vehicle and then rolls off to one side.

Research shows that drivers slow far too late when they first see an object in front off them. A small object such as child, does not represent danger to a driver. The driver's subconcious mind does not accurately judge how far away the child is.This, in turn, translates into a failure to brake early. This is the reason that in manly other countries motorcyclists often travel with their headlights on -- being smaller than cars they need to be seen earlier and this helps drivers judge their distance. Pedestrian injury is a significant child health problem in many countries. On average a child pedestrian is injured everyday, requiring hospitalisation. Many child pedestrian are killed every seven days on average.

It is difficult for small children to see and be seen by drivers especially if emerging from between parked cars. In addition, children under 10 years are unable to judge both speed and distance as well as adults. Child pedestrian injury according to rough estimates accounts for 35 per cent of pedestrian injury accidents although children may account for much less of the population.

It is, therefore, socially important for vehicle manufacturers to go to considerable length to make vehicle as safe for pedestrian as possible . Features such as plastic coated bumbers with polystyrene inside, sloping vehicles fronts, impact-resistant side mirrors, disappearing headlights and smoother surfaces are the primary requirements.

Drowsy Driving is Lousy Driving

Author T. K. MALHOTRA, President

It is said that old habits may die someday with 'resolve' but odd habits being not regular are difficult to get rid of. This chapter is for those who get away with their habit of sleeping and driving at the same time. There are known cases when drivers had shut their eyes for a few seconds and landed in emergency wards.

Anyone who's ever fought the urge to doze while driving -and experts say that includes most drivers - knows how close they have come to the disaster. Studies reveal that a surprising number of people drive drowsy not wrecking cars but killing people.
Drowsy drivers cause most of the accidents and highway deaths every year. The problem has been particularly worse on Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi-Agra and Delhi-Amritsar Highways where major number of fatal crashes over the past several years were blamed on sleepy drivers drifting off the road.

People have been driving tired but the problem is worse now than before, as busy lifestyle compel drivers to sacrifice sleep in order to adhere to their schedule, it is like burning the candle at both ends.
It is estimated that 20 to 25 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their drive, although most snapped out of it which no accidents, which gave them the confidence to carry on with this odd habit in subsequent travels.

Most people know what it's like to drive on the edge of drowsiness. If they do not actually nod off, they exhibit other signs of "driver fatigue" dropping eyes, blurry vision, a dropping head and slow reactions.

No one knows for sure how many accidents are caused due to sleep. The problem came recently under serious studies abroad and because people who have been involved in accidents often do not remember falling asleep, either they won't admit or do not survive to tell about it.


Many of us may suffer unknowingly from sleep disorders. A revealing story was highlighted by our sister concern, an automobile association abroad. A 40 year old person drove for a decade with no problems. Then eight years ago he started having accidents he could not explain.

"I'd go off into a ditch and drive back on the road. Clip a guardrail and blow a tire," he says, "I figured I was not paying attention." He occasionally found himself driving onto a farm. Most of the mishaps were so minor that the police and his insurance company never knew except for the two times he hit cars, slightly injuring the passengers.

But after a few days he fell asleep in his pick-up while returning from work. "The next thing I remember, they were pulling me out of the truck." They said, " I hit a parked car going about 50 miles an hour. " During his long stay in the hospital, doctors discovered he sad sleep apnea. This means certain breathing muscles would close while he slept, causing him to wake up repeatedly during the night to gasp for air. He was not aware for of those awakenings but the result is that he got only a few hours of sleep at night. Even though he felt tired while driving, he says, "I just kept pushing myself I had to be some place"

Those who work two jobs or at night are more vulnerable as they drive when their bodies expect to sleep. According to sleep specialists there is a truly biological clock within us. The clock in most people is programmed for sleep at night, and for a small rest in mid-afternoon. Even those who don't feel sleep-deprived, but who try driving through those natural sleep periods, face a greater risk of an accident. Unfortunately, many people feel that risk but keep driving. They say, "I am going to make it to destination by tonight" - though tired but they keep going.

READ BEFORE YOU DRIVE

Be Realistic: rather than trying to cover a long distance in one shot, think about stopping a few times for short rest, or even an overnight stay in case the travel is too long.

Avoid alcohol and drugs: Even one drink may make a slightly tired person more drowsy. Avoid medication, like allergy pills, that induce drowsiness.

Travel rested: Get plenty of rest the day before a long trip.

Respect your body clock: If you try to drive when you normally sleep - and for most people, that's at night - you are fighting your body's natural rhythm. Avoid this, or make plans to rest along the way.

Nap: A 10-20 minutes rest is the best antidote to sleepiness. Find a safe place, like the lighted parking lot of an open restaurant or departmental store.

Stay stimulated: Listen to the radio (a talk station will keep you more alert than music) open a window.

Share the ride: A travel partner can keep you awake with conversation and give you a break from driving.
Never allow your front seat partner to sleep while you are on the wheel.

Take a walk: Get out at a rest stop just to take a quick walk to the bathroom or stroll around for five minutes. Even a short break from the driver's seat does wonders.


WATCH OUT YOUR HATCHBACK

Author T. K. Malhotra


Bric-a bric storage in the back of your hatchback is but natural. Yet it would take only a
screeching halt for your bags and bottles to take off on a potential lethal flight. So watch out the trouble with hatchbacks.

In today's car craz world, majority of people prefer taking to the road on a voyage rather than trust train with us accompanying risks. Train accident in the recent past have shaken people's confidence. Motorists would, however do well to be conversant with road sense, and thought little paid attention to, that includes ensuring the safe storage of baggage and other incidental articles to prevent mishaps.

Mishaps with baggage? Hard to believe, then read on.
A four-year-old boy in some foreign country was fatally wounded when the car he was traveling in had to break suddenly. The fatal was caused due to a briefcase that came sailing from the hatchback.

Another similar incidents in Australia left a six year old boy with grievous head injurious and his four year old sister a quadraplegic for life. The culprit : On sudden braking, a personal computer bought on the occasions of the boy's birthday, which had been stacked unsecured in the hatchback's boot, dashed against the Ford laser's rear-seat with an impact equivalent to a 600 kilo gram weight.

Then there's the highly demonstrative mishap with a car laden with cartons containing dozens of beer bottles. On braking abruptly, the bottles tubled down on to the driver after crashing through the folding-seat, leaving him with a concussion.

One could go with such episodes of avoidable injuries, and their numbers are enough to make you pay special attention to his often ignored subject. The bad news is that many involve split seats in hatchback models which have since earned a reputation of being unable to withstand the tiniest amounts of a careering loads.

According to a study made by an Australian Surgeon, Ken Little, a normal 450 gram can of baked beans at the top of a shopping bag would pack the punch of a 3.7 kilogram sledge -hammer during a collision on normal city roads.
It may sound strange but a driver could be seriously hurt even when hit by a stale loaf of bread. A vehicle occupant can die when hit by 2 kg pot of honey in an accident at 80 kmph. One should therefore avoid sharing passenger areas with cargo. And if unavoidable, cargo barriers should be used. The automotive industry too would do well to pay attention to their products' in built safety features.

In the meanwhile, till appropriate equipment is incorporated into the basic design, the least that manufacturers could do to prevent episodes of cargo-related injuries is provide after sales safety barriers and tie down straps to their consumers. Unfortunately, there are no standards to cover this particular situation., though the world war industry has responded to just consumer concerns by getting their cars equipped with tether straps and tie-down points. Besides the useful harness, anchorages and anchor points can be quite instrumental in securing internal cargo. Station wagons and hatchback can easily be equipped with anchorages, but it'll happen only if consumers demand such features.

Incidentally, it's also dangerous to drive holding on to a packages, child or animal whether on the lap or in the arms. Those fond of the company of a dog or other pets during drivers must remember that in an emergency, an unrestrained animals turns into a lethal projectile.

If you can't do without your favourite companion, make sure you restrain it with the help of a proper harness, several types of which are available in the market.
A combination of a steel mesh-barrier located behind the split rear seats and a shock cord net that stretches and holds the load down, is recommended. The steel mesh -barrier not only prevents objects secured by it from flying away, but also absorbs energy from those already airborne.

Important Tips For Your Tips·

Remember that those innocuous-looking grocery items and even small pets may strike you with an extremely deadly force in the event of a collision. Restrain pets, and use proper harnesses and insist on being up all your passengers.


Keep your car's rear windows parcel shelf and the rear floor to keep temporary grocery items, brief-cases, handbags.. or better still, store them in boot.

When stacking objects behind a hatchback's split rear seat check the seat clips carefully for inordinate wear and tear.

If you habitually carry cargo or sundry objects in your car, install a seat re-inforcement or steel mesh barrier.


AND NOW ROAD SAFETY DRIVE BY WORLD BANK

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Yes road carnage is the problem world over. More than 5,00,000 persons killed-the 'Road Sacrifices' are really alarming and require first priority to deal with. The problem in our country is grave with 6.5% share of the world accidents though our share of vehicular population is just 0.6%.

World Bank's announcement to launch road safety programme with participation of public and private sector, nation and international organization and with active involvement of NGO's is an ample proof that road safety is now a global concern, the world bank is all set to focus its attention to tackle this problem with particular emphasis on developing countries. Road accidents being one of the leading causes of world fatalities, may emerges as the third greatest causes of death by the year 2020.

It is essential to address the problem that some programme is designed to bring together the resources, knowledge and expertise of all concerned nations wide. We can no more afford to overlook or shift priorities to formulate and launch practical schemes that can prevent accident, Traffic regulation campaign to formulate and launch practical schemes that can prevent accidents. Traffic regulation campaign and education drivers now need aggressive approach. The World Bank's programme 'Global Road Safety Partnership' (GRSP) will benefit not only the society bus also it would help the economic store and trade development. The schemes also need to focus to advise methods that can help older motorists to drive in safety and in comfort. Due to their age factor, older driver cannot venture their travel in overcrowded and shabby buses. In absence of alternate means of travel, cars seem to be a lifeline to many old drivers who deserve unrivalled independence and right of mobility. Contrary to common man's opinion, I would grade older drivers amongst the safest group on vehicles.

They choose themselves when and where to drive and when to give up. In fact they are a phenomenally reasonable group as very few of them continue to drive despite unfit to do so. Therefore they deserve special care and courtesy by fellow motorists. The global effort is therefore needed to aggressively address this problem also.

The Automobile Association affiliated with the Alliance Internationale De Tourisme(AIT) with their professional skill are a great global source to lend help and assistance to motorists and road users to prevent accidents.

Learning examples of the United States, Europe and Australia it is high time for us in the developing countries to assess the global effort in promoting safety on road. Even a single death on our road is one too many and behoves us all to play whatever part we can to reduce the road toll.

Studies reveal that million are injured and many loose their lives in road accidents in European countries.

May it be any country the appalling human and financial cost of accidents on roads should not be overlooked with casual attitude. While the role of consumer information as a catalyst for rapid improvements to vehicle safety design is significant, it is equally important to exercise greater caution in improving drivers' on the wheel attitude. This is a vital area which requires fine tuning.

Many Schemes announced by the Government to tackle the overgrowing traffic problems do not see the light of the day and years rolled over with anxiety and stress to road users who would thank their stars if returned home safely after the days work. Lets resolve to make '2002 free of: ruthless road killings and ensure that we:

-do not indulge in erratic driving behaviour-it may confuse other drivers.
-do not tend to recognize our sensory and psychomotor skills but react with renewed
precautions to address ourselves to the rapidly changing traffic conditions every time.
-do not underestimate acceleration skills of fellow drivers by speeding gestures.
-do not blast unnecessarily our horns on road as honking at others is not appreciated but is interpreted as uncivilized gesture with hostile intentions that can cause stress to other road users and specially for male drivers.

 

LEARN NOT TO DRIVE UNDER STRESS

Author T. K. Malhotra, President

Do not drive in tense mood or under pressure. Studies reveal that more than 75 percent of total accidents had occurred while the drivers were in abnormal stress. The driver error is influenced by alcohol and speed. Driving skill is also greatly affected by stress. Financial difficulties, pressure at work, family and health problem too generates stress.

Driving itself can also cause stress. Traffic chaos, nonfunctional traffic lights, unpredictable delays and poor weather conditions are also the factors, which contribute to tension. Truly speaking, the more demanding the driving task the greater will be the chance of tension.

Here are some indications to feel whether stress could be affecting driving performance.

The driver feels irritated, uneasy and impatient with his driving and with others on road.

Feeling impulsive and taking risks.

Reactions are not as sharp, the mind drifts and the driver is 'one edge'. Cocentration lapses.

The lack of attention due to stress can impair driver assessment of approaching hazards are reacting ability behind the wheel.

These of course are all potentially dangerous.

Hundred percent concentration is needed to eliminate risks. Tension should be recognized and immediate remedies should be found.

The drivers may reduced tension with the help of following tips:

· Keep a check on your feeling. Avoid driving in mentally disturbed conditions.
· A good night's sleep before driving to distant places is necessary.
· After a day's work, try to avoid a long journey.
· Know in advance the route and pre-plan the stops.
·You as a driver would like to be treated well, so treat other drivers the same way. Poor driving may not be necessarily intentional. Horn should be sounded as 'warning' but never to display impatience or dissatisfaction.

Medication should be taken with great care knowing its side effects in relation to driving. Alcohol and stress combined together are the greatest enemy of a driver. While under stress, you may crave for a couple of drinks to reduce tension. It is merely a stimulating thought. However, if you still do so, refrain from driving.