September 10, 2011

Killer on the road

It missed me by a whisker. A fellow bystander wasn't lucky. He never saw what hit him: The auto rickshaw came out of nowhere, knocked him to the ground and fled.

We were standing by the roadside at the right obstruction to traffic whatsoever. The confounded idiot swerved too far to the left in too fast a speed and the poor guy took the brunt of the impact. The first thing I did was call 108 as people rushed to him...I could tell it was a head injury... he was bleeding profusely from the nose. Thankfully a passing auto wallah stopped and a couple of guys carried him away to a nearby hospital. A traffic cop followed on a bike but I knew a search would be a futile effort.

The sight of the bloodied face haunted me the whole day. Thankfully the boy got away alive with a broken nose and a cut to his right cheek.

There are two takeaways from this incident. I faltered on two very important responses:

One - I did not note down the Auto's reg no. I was in shock myself. Had I stood a couple of meters to the right, It would've been me.

Two - I could've done more for the guy. My cab arrived and I had to go. Our Director from AU was coming and there was now way I was going to be late.

I know this will again go down as one of those 'gyaan' articles but even for a limited audience of about 20, I think a little review tips will help.

First things first: We Indians suck at driving. And let's face it...Hyderabad is the worst of the lot. I'd say there are more rash douche bags here than anywhere in the world. With that in mind here are a few tips at trying improving our chances of surviving here:

No phone on road

The gossip can wait. Talking on phone while crossing a road, driving or even standing at the bus stop for that matter brings down alertness and drastically affects reflexes. The aforementioned guy was on phone and never saw the auto coming.

Whats with the earphones!

Are we so enamored by music that we can't let go even on roads? Last year a girl got run over by an MMTS train after she failed to listen to the blaring horn over her Ipod buds in her ears.

Mind the bend

NEVER EVER cross a road on bends and turns. There are maniacs out there who take these for grand prix bends and care no less whats on the other side.  A turn is a blind spot for both parties. I've seen countless people, mostly women do it. Walking a little longer to either side for a better view of oncoming traffic takes a few seconds only and goes a long way in ensuring safety. Of course, zebra crossings are always priority(if you find them that is).

Hold hands, synchronize
I've made it a habit to hold hands when crossing the road with someone. Although it may look funny, it helps synchronize better and fall back if there's a fast vehicle approaching and one is slow to react. My brother once pulled me back from a speeding bus.

What's with the hurry?

We Hyderabadis are always in a hurry... "Nai yaaro, der hogayi"
If you anticipate traffic, start early. Cutting lanes and driving fast never helps.

There's no one way

This one is for the newbies to the city. There is no "one way" road here... a bike, auto or car may appear out of anywhere, your left, right or back. Traffic rules are virtually non existent here.


This is a no brainer(pun totally intended). Helmets are proven to save lives. They make us sweat and swear but when it comes to keeping our innards safe...they're life savers.

Hawa mey udta jaye

In Ooty, before mounting a go-kart my sister was asked to remove her skarf(think it's called an Odhni) due to the open construction of the engine assembly. Open flying scarfs may look good in movies and romance sequences but in real life they make deadly killers. A small jerk from a caught scarf at 30kmph is enough to break the neck.

Cut and waste

Following lane discipline is in my opinion, the biggest challenge to address in Hyderabad. One trip on the busy roads should be enough to see what I mean.

And when you see a bike or car swaying like crazy and coming your way...move to the side and pray you don't get hit.

Walking on main road

Pavements in Hyderabad were unofficially made for pani puri vendors and street beggars. The walls to the extreme left are reserved for nature calls and reek of ammonia. The trick is to stay away from the main road, dodge the beggars, and put up with the stench as you go about town.

Till the confounded system changes, this is Hyderabad for you.

"There's a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin' like a toad...."


It is said, talkers are never doers So as my contribution to road safety I'm starting with this blog post.
I also plan to buy a helmet for all my friends, one a month.
Help children and old people cross roads.
Wait...I'm talking again.

1 comment:

Kriti said...

I too need a helmet :-P