According to the ‘Road Accident Report for 2014,’ prepared by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, India’s roads claimed the lives of 75,000 people aged between 15 and 34 years last year. In percentage terms, that comes up to 53.8%. Over 82% of these victims were males.
The latest estimate by the World Health Organization shows that globally, world road traffic injuries are the number one cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years. Annually, about 3.4 lakh youngsters in this age group die in accidents. Some of the major causes for road fatalities are speeding, drunk driving, overloading and hit & run.
With such dismal statistics, it is not just urgent but vital that youngsters be taught the importance of road safety. As a teen in India, many start to ride a bike or drive a car as young as 13, even if it’s not the legal age. At that age, the thought of safety, whether their own or someone else’s, is not something they think about.
Parents play an important role in moulding the behaviour of their children. Parents serve as role models and more often than not, they learn via imitation and careful observation of adult actions. This includes habits like following the traffic lights, wearing a helmet when riding a bike, safe driving, non-speeding, etc. Thus, the best way for you to teach your children is by setting a good example. Another thing as parents you can do is to enrol them into classes for proper training on driving so that the idea of road safety is inculcated right from the beginning.
As young drivers on the road, there are a few tips you can use to ensure your as well as pedestrian safety:
- If you are going to drink, take a driver with you or better yet, use public transport
- Stopping at a red light may be irritating, overtaking a slow driver may be tempting but the end result is five minutes – that’s all the time you will save by jumping a red light or overtaking wrongly
- Never drive when you are tired or sleep-deprived
- Seat-belts are your friends – use them
- If all your friends cannot fit into a car, use another. There’ll be plenty of time to spend together once you reach your destination, safely
Remember, your safety is in your hands. It may seem trivial to follow traffic rules but it could mean the difference between life and death.