With the recent increase in road accidents, it is time that the issue is considered immediately by the concerned authorities to stop any further fatalities. In the past week itself, news of deaths caused by vehicle accidents has been relayed every single day with Saturday witnessing seven different accidents claiming 13 lives. The rapid rate at which these causalities are taking place brings upon us the question of regarding the safety of all the citizens of Nepal, be it vehicle riders or the pedestrians.
The main causes of such accidents can be attributed to the critical condition of the roads, similar condition of vehicles prying them and of course, irresponsible driving matched with lack of traffic regulations.
There has been a surge in the number of road accidents in Nepal in the past three years. According to available police data, 2014-15 witnessed a total of 9,146 accidents claiming 2004 lives. These numbers have risen to 10,013 in 2015-16 which killed 2006 and 10,178 in 2016-17 which killed 2,384 people.
While we are not sure regarding what steps are being taken on the part of the government to minimize these accidents, we recommend some ways that can help you, as an individual commuter, to avoid getting caught up in these causalities by taking care of small steps on a personal level:
1. Keep your eyes on the road:
The major reason behind accidents on the road can be contributed to distraction caused by the various attention grabbers that might be laid on the way. Some of them could be use of mobiles, trying to adjust helmets while driving, glancing at billboards, conversing with a friend or even indulging in thoughts other than driving. When on the road, please stay alert that there are vehicles running at varying speeds all over the road and do what you must do on the road: Drive carefully.
2. Avoid use of cell phones:
There is a reason it is advised to avoid the use of mobile phones while driving. When the mind is involved in conversing with a second party on the phone, it cannot properly focus on keeping balance or avoiding vehicles that suddenly appear out of the side roads. Losing balance due to use of mobile phones harms not only you but can cause severe damage to other commuters on the road. If an urgent call is to be made, stop on the sidelines and start driving again after the call is over.
3. Don’t drink and drive:
With the ample amount of advertisements against drinking and driving, and the increasingly stricter rules of MAPASE, if you were to drink and drive, you would be calling for trouble. While drinking and driving, you do not have the same abilities of control and balance as you would have when you are sober. Your judgment and vision are impaired. If drinking is absolutely necessary, call for alternative transportation such as taxis. This also includes driving under the influence of other drugs and narcotics such as marijuana.
4. Avoid construction areas:
Recently, the Nepal government is undertaking construction projects which have left the roads in critical conditions. Some roads are filled with debris, mud and large rocks that could cause tire blowouts, slipping or worse. To deal with this, find an alternative road to reach your destination. Although this might cause an added trouble of searching for new routes and also could take longer time to commute, it is recommended to do so in order to avoid accidents by falling or slipping in areas undergoing construction.
5. Maintain the speed limits:
The speed limits in Nepal are very ambiguous and it is not possible to say what the exact speed limit in what area is. Nevertheless, you should maintain the speed limit according to the area and the traffic. The condition of the road, the amount of traffic, the weather and other people driving on the road are all to be taken into consideration while driving. Speed driving must be controlled because, in Nepal, people haphazardly cross the roads and drive without following the rules. In order to avoid fatalities, maintaining speed and staying alert for others on the road is the best tip.
6. Ignore aggressive drivers:
The reason Nepal is seeing such a hike in accidents is mainly due to the aggressive and irresponsible driving of the vehicle owners. There are always going to be people who try to do crazy things on the road like speed driving, over-taking, cutting others off, etc. These people are a straight ticket to trouble and your best interest lies in ignoring them. The best thing to do in such cases is to get as far from them as possible and let them pass by you. If they are coming up behind you, honking or trying to cross you, just slow your speed down and let them pass. The better you avoid them, the safer you will be.
7. Follow all traffic rules:
Traffic rules have been formulated for a reason; follow them. This not only helps to avoid unnecessary accidents but also helps to avoid ticketing, a prevalent phenomenon in Nepal these days. Follow the lights, the traffic police and the lanes. Drive responsibly and teach others to do the same.