Dec 10, 2014

24-7 way of driving a Secured Life

I am not a writer. I am not a poet. I am not even a Song Composer. I am not a role model and I don’t follow Safety Begins with me” forced me to nourish my experiences into a post. I only have four years driving a four wheeler and twenty plus years on two wheelers. A scar on my face when I was eight, a broken watch of my wife,  a near to death experience in front of a bus wheel, a car collapsing incidence involving my uncle and his entire family; are the few of the incidences when I believed Safety comes first. These incidences make me say and believe in phrase “meri to fatati hai” on roads. I am not sure how to use the phrase in English, but yes this is what I hear from people when they encourage me to go unsafe. I would prefer to stay safe than to please a moron who in return would always say “teri to fatati hai”.

I am a person who would buy an Insurance to cover my family, save out a good portion of my salary to ensure my family is financially protected when I am not there. I care for my family  and strongly believe that my own safety is the foremost thing  for my family’s safety. A person who spends almost  quarter of his office time driving is exposed to Risks that can be compared with any high risk job like that of a fire fighters’. So how can I ignore my own safety. Above all, I work for a company where all their meeting starts with Safety Messages.

For me safety is first and is active  24 by 7.   Yes, it’s 24 by 7 alertness, right from lighting a gas oven to driving a car. I have my own definition of it. I use the formula as “24-7” on Roads. Let me share it with you.
two        : before you board in,
four       : when I am on driving seat , and
seven    : while driving on roads.

TWO : before I board-in the car:
1.        FAMILY : when you are leaving your home say  “I will be back for you”. This is the commitmen
t you make every day. Look  into the eyes of your parent, wife, kids and yes friends without whom you are incomplete. They all love you much more than you would love them. This commitment to the loved ones and their love and their blessing would keep you “SAFE” and “SAVE YOU”  from all the ignorant “OTHER” drivers, who are majorly, the probable cause of an accident. Clipping  a picture of loved ones could be a great idea which can keep your driving safe and remain motivated to safety.
2.       TYRE PRESSURE : you took those seven vows when you got married, now take one around the car every morning for your own safety. Check, if all the  tyres are not flat and are boasting with all the egos (read as pressure) and there are no physical damages.

FOUR  : when I am on driving seat :
1.        MIRROR : Rear view, Right and Left view Mirrors: these three tiny eyes help me keep a vigil on all evil careless drivers on road. These three makes me behave like a James bond with 360 degrees view of my surrounding and I set them wide open and use it frequently. My son says I drive like a crow, looking constantly at these.  
2.       SEAT BELTS: a Seat belt ties you with the seat. When there is an  impact, the body moves forward and you may hit the dashboard, causing injuries to your head. The seat belt secures your body against forward impact on the dashboard. It saves you and your loved ones from the impact. When I was not using them, I found these as  clutches and felt inconvenient to use it. When I experienced the beauty of this seat belt, I can’t drive without wearing them now. These are wonderful devices for safety and are master piece of innovation, saving millions from fatal injury. (Try out  my experiment to see how your body moves forward) .
Go to a field or an empty road. Balance a light ball behind your driving seat and head. Drive at a high speed and suddenly apply full brakes.
experiment on seat belt 

Your observation,
Without  a Seat belt : the your body moves forward and ball gets drop. This is the minimum position you would have, during an impact. You would have almost hit the dashboard.
Secured with Seat Belt : try any speed and any breaking pressure, the ball will slide a little.

Conclusion: you draw it…to wearing or not wearing  a seat belt.

3.       HEAD REST: I had never noticed these till the time I read it on net one day. These small devices fitted above your seat are also a protective device. When there is an impact from backside, your body moves forward and head backward.  This sudden impact may dislocate the neck bone making a permanent injuries. These small pieces holds your head against the impact. To safeguard yourself, these head rest requires to be set at a correct position.  The centre of the head rest should be aligned in line with your ears. Once an impact your neck hits the rest and absorbs the shock.

4.       AIR BAGS : In India, we never have the Air Bags  checked while choosing a car. Air bags are those protective pillows which opens up when there is an impact. If the same is fitted in the car, notice the signal of Airbags and ensure these are normal. The sign switches on  and switches off once we start the car.

These four are my routine checks once I am in driving seat and awaiting the engine to warm up a little. Simple exercises, mostly all are in place once we set these up.

SEVEN: while driving on roads :
1.        Speed : Road signs with speed limits are very scientific. Roads  are marked with road signs after lots of theoretical and practical calculations. If obeyed, saves a lots of accidents. I have promised myself that I would never over speed. I am not born to drive in a race, lets leave that to Formula one racing team. Oh yes…look at the safety procedure they observe.

2.        Safe Distance : I always maintain a safe distance and the best way on a traffic jam is to see the bottom of the rear tyres of the car in front of you. And as you speed up, increase the distance of your car. A table below can help. Try to experiment on an empty road to realize this.

3.       Lane driving : you can never reach faster if you are not in lane. If you thought making your own lanes would reach you faster, take a moment and visualize the below figure.

4.      Binge driving: never drive, if I am  drunk.
****If you can walk under the influence of an alcohol in a straight line, you can attempt driving. If you cannot manage walking when drunk how can you manage a car on road.

**** Take  this  another challenge below on wine glasses.
Fill in two glasses of  your favorite drink and try balancing it without spilling the drink. If  you can, dare to drive.

I hate drinking alone and my buddies take turns to drop each one of us home safely. We decide on for the “Angel” before we set out for the pub.

5.       Mobile Phone:  Mobile is one of the biggest reason (upto 20%) for accidents,. It diverts you from the roads to mobile conversation. Professionally, we are so engrossed with our work and have pressure to deliver, we cannot ignore communicating with other people. Investing in a headset or Bluetooth can help if car is not having a facility of mobile connectivity. I have a dedicated head set always in my car for my mobile phone. I have my own rules, for all conversation requiring :
       < 1 minute  : attend  it, on head set.
      1-3 minutes : park the car and attend to it.
      >3 minutes  : excuse myself and call back once I am off the car.

These days once appreciates if you explain them that you are driving and can call you back once you can park your car.

6.      High-Beam driving: I hate those morons who drive with an High Beam on for their Headlights. If I cannot look at a torch light for even 10  second, how can I drive with a high beam causing difficulties in driving.

7.       Defensive Driving : while driving be like a teen aged girl, who keeps an eye on her environment, people etc while she is walking. While, I know what’s happening in front of me, I keep looking at mirror to find what’s happening behind. At times when I am driving fast, i keep noticing the color of the car behind me and do a commentary in mind. This helps me noticing sudden changes in a drivers mood and his driving at back and take my safe steps.

A Car, a Bike a Truck is a prized possession and we feel proud in driving those. Bringing safe behavior and keeping the prized possession enhances my pride.
Above all, we have only one life and would not love to be on wheel chair or with amputated limbs or be like a vegetable lying on bed throughout my life. I would rather enjoy my life safely.

We have One life…
let’s live 24x7, 365 days a year with our loved ones …and
let’s be safe 24-7,  adopt 24-7 while driving. Safety begins with me, for my family, for my fellow drivers who drives with me.

Thanks Nissan to Bring in this topic…. The Nissan Safety Driving Forum.

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