Sunday, September 20, 2020

MAKE ALLOWANCE FOR ‘SUDDEN’ APPEARANCES

Speeding has many consequences. One of which is that when something happens suddenly on the road, the drivers often lose control of the vehicle due to shock and confusion. The suddenness of an occurrence leaves hardly any time to take a corrective measure in those few precious seconds apart from putting the brakes with force which can result in the vehicle turning over, especially if it is a small car.

So one has to keep ones focus constantly on the road to watch out for the sudden appearance of a living being or an object.

One has to be most careful about children making a sudden, often nonchalant, appearance on the road. They have a knack to appear on the road out of nowhere unannounced, with a devil-may-care bearing and attitude.

Very small children can make a solo appearance in a lane or, even if accompanied by an adult, may suddenly decide to wrench themselves free and stroll into the middle of the road. The trick for the driver is to stop the vehicle until the child can sort itself out and, if an adult is around, press the horn once to draw his attention.

Even schoolchildren, especially those getting down from their school bus and in a tearing hurry to reach home, may not bother to look left or right and might suddenly emerge from behind the bushed along the road divider and plonk themselves on the road, bending double under the weight of their bags. So watch out for that school bus parked along the road in the distance, slow down and see how the children move.

Cats and dogs, stray or pet, are no different and may suddenly make a dash across the road. Slow down if one is lolling and strolling in the distance, put your brakes if you can spot one in time if you have reached close to one. Every life is precious, even an inarticulate animal’s especially since in this case they cannot be expected to observe the rules of traffic and the entire responsibility of ensuring they are not harmed lies on the driver.

The worst culprits are the adults in this game of ‘sudden appearance’ – those pedestrians who tend to make a sudden dash across the road, away from street signals, sometimes jumping over the road dividers and scaring the driver with their manoeuvres.

One has to also beware of things falling on the road from the vehicles ahead. These may range from a carton of goods or a piece of furniture falling out of a badly loaded and clumsily packed pick-up to a massive stone meant for a reclamation site sliding down a heavy truck.

And finally, when the winds are heavy a driver may encounter an entirely different class of road-intruder – when a gust suddenly dumps a flying little empty cardboard box on the road ahead of you.

So one has to drive with care. There is no end to ‘suddennesses’ on the highway. Even a vehicle swerving into your lane unannounced might give you a scare!

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