Road Safety

The way to go for Ambulances in Kerala!

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Road safety is always an important element in my life. I try and take care at all times, how I can be safe on the road, keeping in mind of the other fellow drivers and pedestrians safety too.

These days, whenever in Kerala, I have long drives, and thought of changing my car tires as they are reaching the stipulated mileage they are intended to run on normal roads. With that in mind, I went to one of the best shops available in my small town, and as they went on with the work, I watched the traffic that was happening at the evening hours in my town.

It was a weekend, a busy evening and continuous flow of vehicles on the road. I got around 30 minutes to be there and within that time, I happened to see 3 ambulances whizzing past my location.

All of them were being driven super fast, and suddenly my thought went deep inside the vehicles of the patients who are being transported and their condition and state of mind, if they are conscious!!!!.

After two ambulances crossed my location, I thought of recording the third one, as felt, these vehicles are being driven dangerously, ignoring all road safety rules. I felt, whether these drivers ever got any road safety driving training in their life.

I did not hesitate to try and capture the third ambulance as I noticed it coming and posted my comments to one of the active social media groups within my town asking for comments and probable ways of how things can be improved?

The suggestions varied from lack of facilities, narrow roads, no training or guidelines for these drivers.

I wonder whether Kerala State transport authorities along with Police and Hospital regulators consider this post as a plea to improve road safety training to the drivers who sit behind the wheels of these poorly maintained vehicles, called or so called as ambulances to save life.

A curious check with the onlookers in the area provided me with the fact that accidents involving ambulances are common these days and some of them are fatal.

Later on comments received from the social media concurred with the view that these ambulance drivers are never given any training and need for the hour is to make them understand to drive safely within the traffic conditions. A reader even commented that he escaped from being hit by this ambulance at a junction few distance away from the spot where I was staying!!

Road safety is very important and it is the duty of every individual on the road to make sure that the road is safer for transportation for the others who are there at that given point of time.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Here is my post in malayalam:

30 മിനിറ്റ് സൈന്റ്റ് ജോസഫ് കോളേജിന് മുന്നിലുള്ള ടയർ റിപ്പർ കടയിൽ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ആ സമയത്തിനുള്ളിൽ 3 ആംബുലൻസ് അങ്ങോട്ടും ഇങ്ങോട്ടും പോയി.
അവരുടെ സ്പീഡും പോക്കും കണ്ടമ്പോൾ അത് ഓടിക്കുന്നവരുടെയും അതിൽ കിടക്കുന്ന രോഗികളുടെയും കാര്യം ഓർത്തു പോയി. കൂടെ മറ്റു ജീവനക്കാർ ഉണ്ടോ എന്നറിയില്ല.
ജഗതി ഏതോ പടത്തിൽ പറഞ്ഞ പോലെ ആ നിലവിളി ശബ്ദം ഒന്ന് ഇട്ടു വേഗം ഓടിക്കൂ എന്ന വാക്കുകൾ ഓർമ്മ വരുന്നു.
ആ പറഞ്ഞ ജഗതിയും, ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ ഈ ട്രാഫിക്കിൽ ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു വണ്ടിയിൽ അവസ്ഥയിൽ പോകേണ്ടി വന്നാൽ, ഒരു പക്ഷെ ദയവായി അതൊന്നു നിർത്തി, എന്നെ ഒന്ന് ഇതിൽ നിന്ന് ഇറക്കി തരുമോ എന്ന് പറയുമായിരിക്കും. 

അതിന്റെ പിന്നിൽ പാഞ്ഞു പോകുന്ന ഒന്നു രണ്ടു ബൈക്ക് യാത്രക്കാരെയും കണ്ടു. രണ്ടു പേർക്കും ഹെല്മെറ്റില്ല?!

ആംബുലൻസ് വണ്ടികളുടെ സുരക്ഷയും (വേഗത, വാഹനത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടീഷൻ, ഡ്രൈവറുടെ കഴിവ്) എല്ലാം ഒരു പക്ഷെ പ്രത്യേകം ശ്രദ്ധിക്കേണ്ട കാലം അതിക്രമിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു.

1. നമ്മുടെ ഗ്രൂപ്പിൽ എത്ര പേർക്ക് ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു അവസ്ഥയിൽ യാത്ര ചെയ്യേണ്ടി വന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്?
2 എത്ര പേര് ഇങ്ങനെയുള്ള വാഹനങ്ങളിൽ ജോലി ചെയ്‌യുന്നു ?
3. എന്താണ് റോഡ് സുരക്ഷക്കുള്ള നിങ്ങളുടെ നിർദേശങ്ങൾ ?

നമ്മുടെ ഇരിഞ്ഞാലക്കുട മെംബേർസ് എത്ര പേര് റോഡ് സുരക്ഷ ഒരു പ്രധാന കാര്യം ആണ്, അതിന് വേണ്ടി ഒത്തൊരുമിച്ചു പ്രവർത്തിക്കാൻ തയാറാണ്?

നിലവിളി ശബ്ദം ഇട്ടു ട്രാഫിക്കിൽ പതുക്കെ പോകണം എന്നല്ല, ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചു പോകണം എന്നാണു. ആ വാഹനത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടിഷനും ആ റോഡിലെ തിരക്കിലും അതിനെതിരെയോ, സൈഡിൽ നിന്നോ ശ്രദ്ധയില്ലാതെയോ, മാറ്റാൻ പറ്റാത്ത അവസ്ഥയോ വന്നാൽ ഒരപകടം തീർച്ചയായും കാണാം!

എന്താണ് ഒരു പോംവഴി എന്നതാണ് ഉദ്ദേശം.
പിന്നെ പിന്നാലെ ബൈക്കിൽ വച്ച് പായുന്ന രണ്ടുപേരുടെ ഉദ്ദേശവും ! ആ ആംബുലൻസ് പെട്ടെന്നു പ്രെയ്ക് ഇട്ടാൽ ഇതിൽ ഒരാൾ തീർച്ചയായും അതിനു പിന്നിൽ ഇടിക്കാൻ ഉള്ള സാധ്യത
അതൊക്കെ കണ്ടപ്പോൾ എഴുതണം എന്ന് തോന്നി
ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചാൽ ഒഴിവാക്കാവുന്ന ഒത്തിരി റോഡ് സുരക്ഷാ കാര്യങ്ങൾ നമ്മൾ പലപ്പോഴും മറക്കുന്നു.

All for road safety

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All for road safety

A repeat post to promote road safety – original published on 14 October 2011.

As a regular reader of Khaleej Times, and as a traffic safety campaigner in my own capacity, I am extremely happy to note the Khaleej Times Traffic Safety Campaign kicking off. But I feel that we should not just make it UAE specific, but global.

I happened to campaign for traffic and road safety after the tragic loss of two sets of lives connected to me.

One was my own brother-in- law who was killed by a speeding water tanker in Bangalore and another was my Mathematics teacher and her entire family who died in an accident in Abu Dhabi.

Both were irreparable losses to me, my family and to those affected. A moment of resilience and due diligence and all those lives could have been saved. But it didn’t happen.

I still remember the phone calls of my brother-in-law Rajeev Menon, the pleasing smile of my mathematics teacher Mrs. Victoria D’Souza and her son and their immediate family who perished in that accident. Their memories still remain with me even after many years.

I used to be a speedster myself but after those incidents I can honestly tell you that I have never violated the rules and have never incurred any traffic fines or penalties. Whenever I have witnessed an incident of road rage or an anomaly, I have campaigned heavily using my blog or other available ‘Have Your Say programmes’ to stop or control such acts being repeated in future.

One such incident I still remember was the massive road pile up that happened on the Abu Dhabi–Dubai highway two years ago on a foggy morning. On my way to Dubai Academic City to sit for an exam early in the morning, I witnessed a 35-seater bus speeding and flashing lights behind me, when there was absolutely no visibility due to the heavy fog. Probably, the driver was a regular motorist on the route and he knew the road and turnings inside out, but his actions really scared me. I allowed him to overtake me with some hesitance but noted his number and company details. After reaching Abu Dhabi I tried calling the company to notify them but they were closed.

Next morning when I read the news I learnt of the pile up that happened on the highway and immediately remembered to call them. But, till evening I couldn’t and around 5 pm when I was able to establish contact with the PRO of that company and informed him of the incident of the previous day, I was told that one of the buses was involved in the accident. Probably, it was the same driver, and the same set of passengers.

It is the duty of every road user to report violent driving habits and rash driving. Do not hesitate. One minute or one hesitant instance of your reporting may result in the loss of many lives.

Do follow the safety rules all the time. Let the initiative be taken up by all national associations, all corporate companies, all transport organisations and let us not hear about one human caused tragedy in the coming months.

Do not use mobiles, do not read papers or bills while driving, do not text. Most importantly, do not drink and drive.
Best wishes to all safety campaigners. –

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

A repeat post to promote road safety – original published on 14 October 2011.

To read in original, please visit Khaleej Times Online

Don’t blame the fog for mishaps – Letters to the editor The National Dt 5 January 2017

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Dont blame the fog - The National 5 Jan 2017.JPG

An increase in accidents is common on foggy days (Accidents around UAE with visibility down to 10 metres, January 3). But then, I would say that more than the weather, it’s drivers’ carelessness and impatience that cause these accidents. It’s a matter of common sense that one will need to slow down and be extra careful in such weather.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read this in original, visit The National oline.

Shine a light on E10 roadworks

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The continuing roadworks on the E10 from Shahama to Abu Dhabi are creating confusion, especially near the airport.

There is poor lighting in this area, where the road narrows yet many drivers continue to speed.

There is no signage to advise drivers to reduce their speed, adding to the dangerous driving situation.

 I hope that the authorities will place adequate warning signs and increase the lighting in this area.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Letters to the Editor: The National Dt 22 August 2016