When to press the brake on highways

13

The highway belongs to all but not always. There are occasions when you must put brakes even though the traffic signal might be green, the yellow box empty and zebra crossing free of any pedestrian. There are some situations you have to make way, and others when you should.

Customarily these are the five situations when you need to press the brakes:

OFFICIAL MOTORCADEs

There are occasions when those holding the highest positions in the land might be moving from one place to another – to inaugurate an event, to visit an area, to accompany a visiting dignitary to a landmark or any other reason. The official motorcades are generally heralded by security officials on motorcycles and 4WDs followed by salon cars and with more security personnel in the rear. While the traffic police invariably takes care that the roads are kept clear for such official motorcades, there are occasions when the arrangements by the traffic personnel have to be made a short notice. That’s when you have to sense the mood of the traffic and if you are the first near a traffic light it is your duty to stop even at green light to make way for the VIPs.

POLICE VEHICLES

You must make way for a police vehicle blowing a siren which is an indication that it is in a hurry to reach a scene. It could be a crime scene or it might be answering a distress call or trying to reach an accident site. Not stopping to make way for it would be tantamount to hindering the police work.

AMBULANCES AND HOSPITAL VANS

These again have to be given way. You may generally know about their approach since they move with intermittent red lights and the horn blaring. Stop for them to pass or make way for them as the occasion demands. Someone’s life could at stake. The patient inside may have suffered a heart attack or bleeding as a consequence of a severe accident and every second matters in such situations.

LITTLE CHILDREN AND ELDERLY PERSONS

It happens sometimes that parents getting into or leaving a car or a supermarket get distracted and
the tiny tots tend to stray on to the road. Make allowance for their behaviour. A three- or four-year old hardly has a sense of personal safety. If you spot a lonely child loitering about in a lane or the road the best course would be to come to a dead stop and blow the horn so its minder – parents, sibling or housemaid – would take notice. Children up to the age of 10 may still come in your way out of waywardness and mischief and you must slow down or stop depending on the situation. The same holds for children stepping out of their school bus and crossing the road alone or in a gang. Courtesy demands that you stop and give way to an elderly, sick or infirm person no matter at which point he or she begins to cross the road. In all situations they have the right of way.

ANIMALS

While Bahrain does not have the menace of stray cows, camels or donkeys roaming the roads like in some other Asian countries, it does have cats and dogs. Never hit a dog and slow down if an alley cat is crossing in front of you. Animals have no one to protect them and we need to show them mercy.