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Lessons Learnt from a Mishap

It is unfortunate that it takes a major mishap for us in India to wake up and start addressing a pressing issue. Had we been proactive, we would not have lost precious lives. Last month we lost Cyrus Pallonji Mistry and Jamshed Pandole in a road accident on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway and now everybody has begun talking about how that highway has design faults. The international road federation has done an audit and pointed out the flaws and signs, saying that three lanes merge into two where the accident occurred. It is common sense that the barrier should gradually merge from three lanes into two. In this case there was a wall at ninety degrees. If a vehicle gets pushed into the third lane by the traffic in the second lane, it perforce becomes vulnerable to a head-on collision instead of a glancing impact.

The part of the road where the accident occurred has a sweeping right turn as one approaches the bridge. Thus, in the absence of a signboard it is almost impossible to make out that the road is going to merge into two lanes if there are two trucks in those two lanes. It is common knowledge that truck drivers prefer to stick to the right lane due to the constant oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road. We have seen many instances of people falling prey to an accident while trying to avoid a moron coming down the wrong way.

Mandatory rear seat-belts is a welcome move but we need to enforce the law and have a stricter driving test in place. Ninety-nine per cent of the drivers driving today should not be given a licence and should not be on the road in the first place. Furthermore, parents and drivers, please refrain from having children stand up and stick their heads out of the sunroof; it is another incident waiting to happen.



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