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The Quintessential Guide to Staying Safe Behind the Wheel

Road safety is always a concern in a country as diverse and as populated as India. A total 4,37,396 road accidents were recorded across India in 2019, resulting in the death of 1,54,732 people and injuries to another 4,39,262, according to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. So, needless to say, road safety is one of the prime concerns in today’s day and age. With the increasing number of cars on the road, it is the need of the hour to make the roads a safer place for everyone – drivers, riders and pedestrians.

It all comes down to a few things that everyone should be mindful of; a few checkboxes to be ticked every time you set foot on the pedal and hit the road.

Here’s a guide on safety tips you should follow while driving:

  • Buckle-up

Wearing a seatbelt should be the first thing you do when you get into a car, and the last thing you do before getting out. In the event of a crash, the simple act of having worn a seatbelt can dramatically reduce the risk of injury to the driver as well as the passengers in the car.

  • Make yourself comfortable

Before you turn the key in the ignition, go through a few basic checks – adjust your seat to a comfortable position, make sure your mirrors are positioned correctly, check if all your lights and indicators are working, ensure your brakes are fine, and finally, listen carefully for any squeaking or rumbling sounds that may call for repairs.

  • Don’t drive drowsy or distracted

Distracted driving isn’t limited to only using a cell phone while driving (which is a strict no-no); lack of sleep, driving under influence, driving when angry – all these are prime causes of mishaps on the road. Driving with a clear head means driving safe. Turn on your favourite playlist or radio station and drive easy.

  • Obey traffic signs, signals and rules

You don’t always have to be at fault to meet with an accident. Which is why, it’s paramount that you adhere to the traffic rules. Red means stop, green means go, yellow means proceed with caution. This is one of the first things you learn, even before you start driving a car. Put it to practice. Don’t change lanes incessantly and sound the horn as you pass narrow lanes and junctions. Following traffic rules can save your life, and money which you would have to pay as fines.

  • Rules are important, etiquettes are necessary.

Using the indicator while switching lanes, lowering the high-beam of your car when traffic is approaching in the opposite direction, being aware of the traffic and pedestrians around you and driving cautiously on the road are all seemingly small things, which go a long way in making the roads safer for everyone.

  • Slow down and keep a safe distance.

No, this isn’t pandemic-specific advice. Driving according to the indicated speed limit, significantly brings down the chances of mishaps while driving. Keeping a safe distance allows you the space you need, in case of an emergency braking situation. Because as your speed increases, so does the distance it takes to come to a halt.

  • Stay alert, stay in control.

Always be mindful of what is going on ahead of you, beside you and behind you. Don’t let things happening inside or outside the car distract you from the road or cause you to lose control of the vehicle. If you’ve spilled a little coffee, it’s okay. Don’t clean it up while driving. Stop on the side or wait till you arrive.

  • Maintenance is key.

To paraphrase an old saying, ‘A wrench in time saves nine’. A proper maintenance schedule, routine checks and servicing goes a long way in increasing the life of your car and preventing accidents due to malfunctions. Brake oil, engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, chassis alignment – these are just some of the many things that need to be checked regularly to ensure your car runs smoothly. While car maintenance can get too tricky, too soon, car leasing – an upcoming concept today, helps you tackle your car maintenance needs conveniently, saving you both time and money.

  • ·Safe cars mean safer roads

Another important factor in ensuring you have a safe ride, is the car itself. Driver safety, passenger safety, child restraint system ratings, braking and air-bag deployment are all considered while rating different cars on how safe they are.

Check out the Global NCAP ratings to know which are the safest cars on Indian roads.

So, all in all, road safety is a lot about being responsible behind the wheel, being aware, and anticipating things before time. Remember, safety lies in the hands of the complier.