If you are the least bit ambitious in this day and age, you probably are grappling with tall schedules. Our social and personal lives are characterized by a series of dates, appointments, meetings, outings, and some. Our ‘to do’ lists end up looking more like essays than just pointers. Maintaining the mad schedules, juggling tasks with mere minutes between each, can be a challenge.
I am sure most of you would identify with this craziness that is urban living, and not discard them as exaggerations. A common result of falling back on that challenging ‘to do’ list is falling back on life. But for most of us, there’s hardly a choice. The other thing to do is strive to stick to our plans, and acquire a lot of stress in the bargain. This stress, resulting out of personal, social and professional obligations, is experienced right from the time children come to their senses, enough to be enrolled in nursery schools and probably does not end with retirement. And ironically enough, the retirement pensions, funds, insurances are perhaps responsible for the unceasing stress.
However, for the sake of our well-being, emotional as well as physical, there are times when this stress should take a back-seat. Your life, literally, depends on it! How? Your emotional and mental state directly reflects on your driving. You may be in a haste to make it to a meeting or you may have had a showdown in your personal life. What do you do? You drive recklessly, breaching traffic rules, and answer calls while you are at the wheel. It is, therefore, important that you remember your car is not your punching bag or a place of socializing or even your place of work! It is only a mode of transportation and nothing beyond that. It is your binding responsibility to drive carefully, respect all traffic rules for your well-being, as well as of others. An accident is the last thing you want in your already stressful life.
More often than not, mental stress and distractions cause bad driving and traffic jams, and in unfortunate extremes, accidents. The noise pollution and commotion only add to the stress. In these terrible traffic conditions, how you maintain your calm, and your life, is in your hands. Remember that you are not personally responsible for these jams, and your anger won’t solve them. Positive approach is the key. Don’t make traffic woes, your woes.
Urbanization comes with a cost and terrible traffic is just one of them. Our times strongly call for an innovative plan for traffic management, but at cost effective rates. Road traffic management mainly involves a smooth flow of traffic and avoidance of accidents. Maintaining discipline on the roads is the end view.
The primary methods used to achieve road discipline are traffic signal control, traffic monitoring, and access management. These methods are more effective, when combined with innovative but simple traffic management techniques.
In populated areas, opportunities to build up access points and remove underused signals are plenty and should not be overlooked. If an area is under a redevelopment project, traffic flow should be managed by creating turn-lanes, service roads, etc. in co-ordination with property owners and developers.
The volume of traffic has increased manifold over the last decade. Traffic management devices like traffic lights and signs quickly become obsolete, leading to congestion and chaos. These devices should be upgraded from time to time, after a thorough analysis of the traffic situation.
Today’s traffic management techniques are driven largely by developments in engineering and technology. Not only is the installation of sophisticated traffic management systems costly, but also require a higher level of maintenance. However, effective management systems can be made affordable, with effective and careful budgeting. Also, traffic management centers can be operated jointly by the government and private sector contractors, who can provide maintenance at reduced costs.
Besides the implementation of technological advances, a few basic rules should be made mandatory in every city/town. One of the elementary methods of bringing down accidents by at least 85% is the strict enforcement of speed limits. For reckless driving and over-speeding, heavy penalties should be imposed. But for the effective implementation of this rule, co-operation and honesty by the Road Traffic Officers is fundamental. Installation of tamper proof speed controllers for all heavy vehicles can also be helpful. Children, below a certain age, should be prohibited from cycling on busy roads, where heavy vehicles are plying. Safety awareness should be made a mandatory part of the academic curriculum in primary schools. If safety awareness is imparted during childhood, it is likely to be followed throughout adult life.
Charles M. Hayes rightly said “Safety First” is “Safety Always.” These words should be the guiding motto for the citizens of the country and it should be borne in mind that road safety is not only necessary for the individual, but also for the society on the whole.
Dr. Sheela Aggarwal is a gynecologist and she has an urgent patient that she needs to attend. She looks tensed and is constantly giving instructions to her subordinates over the phone. In between she is also asking her driver to move fast. But every time she gets the same answer “Madam traffic hai.” It took her almost 3 hours to cover a distance that could have been covered in an hour otherwise. Inspite of trying so hard, she could not make it on time.
Most of us have gone through a similar situation where we could not make it on time because of traffic and thus, have suffered. Traffic is the latest nightmare of Indian cities. The collapsing infrastructure and growing number of vehicles are causing deaths, loss of mental peace, health crisis & economic loss. Road traffic injuries are a neglected epidemic in India and as studies suggest, by 2020 road accidents will be the 3rd most important health hazard worldwide. AIDS being 10th and World War being 8th.
We are “The Road To Change,” a non-profit organization and we believe that the cause of this epidemic is lack of awareness and training. People in India are not properly trained or aware about the importance of being disciplined. Thus, it is our mission to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries and the consequent personal and financial losses by developing a public and private partnership to promote the best driving practices, enforcement of traffic regulations and ideal management of traffic infrastructure.
Understanding the importance of traffic management, we plan to interact with government authorities and private organizations to obtain their support and involvement. But we believe that it is not possible without creating awareness of traffic issues and the need for enforcement of driving regulations. The Road To Change also wishes to supplement/assist all regulatory authorities in activities of traffic discipline, control, technology, enforcement and response to various public issues. We are here to promote and encourage disciplined driving and pedestrian movements and work towards facilitating such efforts.
We believe that creating awareness is an important step toward building commuter’s understanding, influencing opinion and motivating behavior.
As Dan Bellack says “Life is too short for traffic” so, let’s not waste our lives on road.
Do you agree with this statement?