The first showers of the monsoon always bring some respite from the summer heat and add an enchanting grey hue to the city skyline. However the wet roads pose a fatal threat for both pedestrians and commuters in vehicles alike.
It is customary for city dwellers to plan a long drive in the rains and while the driving experience can be exhilarating, the weather conditions also cause poor visibility, inefficiency of vehicle brakes and bad roads which often lead to road accidents.
According to an industry report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India, 47 accidental deaths took place every hour during the year 2015 and many of these fatal accidents happened during the monsoon season.
Here are some important 'must do' tips by Dr. Santosh Datar, Ziqitza Healthcare Limited, to ensure safety during the monsoon season:
• Mandatory monsoon servicing for vehicles:
Most of the auto service centers have 'monsoon servicing' for vehicles specifically designed for monitoring the vehicles' condition to tackle the wet roads. This service manual includes quality check on brakes, tires, wipers, headlight beams, horn, etc. It is therefore essential to get your vehicle checked before getting out in the monsoon.
• Avoid riding or driving during a heavy downpour:
During heavy showers, the visibility on the roads is reduced by a considerable level. In case one is driving or riding, it is best to park the vehicle and wait for the rains to subside. Heavy rains sometimes leads to water logging which in turn percolates into the car and may stop the engine at any point during the journey. In addition to the above, brakes also tend to fail due to water logging.
• Avoid speeding in the rain:
Controlling the speed of your vehicle while driving or riding during the rains is extremely important especially since the roadways are filled with potholes and sudden braking causes the vehicle to skid or drift off the road. Ensure that there is adequate distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you to avoid any accidents. If you have to travel through flooded areas, make sure to keep the window rolled down and switch off the air-conditioner which will reduce the load on the engine of the car with less chances of any mishap occurring.
• Emergency numbers on speed dial:
Keep a few numbers on speed dial like your immediate family, doctor, police and mechanic, so that they can be contacted easily in case of any emergency. Also most smartphones have the option to feed in one number as an 'emergency' dial number which is always visible on the screen. In case of any emergency where the victim is unconscious, having this number on the screen will help the recue team to reach out to the victims' kin.
• Keep snacks handy:
During rains we often face unexpected delays in traffic or in the worst case scenario, one might be left stranded on the road with a failed engine. So always carry a bottle of water, snacks, biscuits etc. to stay hydrated and satiated while you wait for help to arrive.
• Keep a First Aid kit:
Always have a stocked up First Aid kit handy in your vehicle. There are various social organisations who conduct workshops on 'How to Use a First Aid' and it is advisable that each one avails of this basic course.
• Be a good Samaritan:
In case you witness an accident on the road, make sure you offer help to the victim. Be smart and use new age services like mobile police services, emergency ambulance services like ZHL (Dial 108 for emergencies), to ensure you receive timely help. Do not try to administer First Aid or practise any other emergency medical procedure unless you are completely aware about it or are certified for the same.
• Be aware of the road:
We might be responsible and careful on the road, but other irrational drivers on the road could land us in trouble. So we need to be aware of such rash drivers and stay at safe distance from them. It is better to drive slow and stay safe than be in a hurry and sorry.
Risking your life and vehicle to save a few minutes of your life, is definitely not a wise decision. Stay safe and drive carefully.