Safety is most definitely the aspect of driving that needs to be given paramount importance and yet somehow, regrettably, it ends up being one of the most ignored. The results speak for themselves; India has one of the highest road accident and fatality rates in the world. This is one of the reasons why Nissan launched the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) and we attended the Bangalore leg of this event.
A selection of Nissan cars had put together for display and 2 simulators were provided for interested spectators to experience. After an initial briefing by Mr. Ajay Raghuvanshi, VP of Business Management at Nissan Motor India and Ms. Ghazal Javed, Corporate Communication Specialist, we were taken to the simulators. The first one, rather worryingly, was a low-speed crash simulator. It consisted only of a bog standard car seat, a seat belt and a steering wheel in front. Having been strapped in and pulled upwards on a ramp, the setup would be released and it would slide towards the bottom end of the ramp at a speed of 5 kph. Right at the end of the ramp, it would come to a sudden halt, simulating the impact, and the airbag would burst out of the steering wheel. This simulation was designed to show people how important a seat belt and airbag are.
A lot of people assume that if they have an airbag-equipped car, they do not need to wear a seatbelt. Nothing could be further from the truth. During a collision, a seatbelt is your first line of defence since it prevents you from catapulting forward like a projectile. The airbag is comes into picture immediately after, cushioning the head against a hard, frontal impact. It is only a combination of seatbelt and airbag that reduces your chances of injury and increases your odds of survival. A seatbelt alone or an airbag alone might help to an extent, but it is only a conjunction of both these systems that really can be life-saving.
Another simulator was designed to mimic real life driving conditions and graded the test subject in several aspects of driving – car control, lane discipline, scanning for vehicles, merging and so on. One could take the test and the simulator could immediately point out the exact plus points and shortfalls in one’s driving skills so that they could improve upon it.
It is heartening to see companies taking the initiative and holding events aimed at increasing the safety awareness among the general public. But there is only so much that others can do. At the end of the day, it is up to each and every one of us to take a few quick steps before taking our cars out that might guarantee that we finish the journey at the gates of our home rather than at the gates of Heaven! Drive safely.