Oman is doing a lot towards improving road safety, receiving nods from the UN, HRH prince Michael of Kent, and others. The ROP is providing defensive driving training for all staff, which should have a trickle down effect on their families and friends. Limited progress is being made, but not enough, and not at the level of your average folk.
Following, are a few ideas for how individuals, on a grassroots level, can make an impact on the driving habits of their family, friends, and co-workers.
Wear your seat belt, and make your passengers wear them as well. weather they want to or not.
Approach your CEO, MD, minister or undersecretary about sponsoring a defensive driving course for all employees. Explain that the course may pay for itself in terms of reduced insurance costs, reduced absenteeism after accidents, and if employees are driving branded company cars a better public image. If your company or ministry won't pay, take the course yourself.
When a friend or family member has a baby, Don't blow two rials on a multi pack of flammable baby clothes or made-in-china rattles and choking hazards. Get your co-workers, family or friends to pool together and buy the family a car seat for their precious bundle. Offer to come over and help them install it properly. Men, please read the instructions.
Speak to the principal or headmaster at your children's school. Ask if road safety is part of the curriculum, and if It's not demand that it be added, starting in Kindergarten. Kids can learn about the importance of wearing a seat belt, respecting stop signs and traffic signals, and the dangers of speeding. They will go home and pester their parents into better driving habits, and when they become drivers themselves, will have the right mental attitude towards road safety.
When you see a friend or family member driving dangerously, Confront them. Depending on how your family gives feedback to one another you can try saying the following things:
- Honey, When you drive like that it makes me feel very nervous.
- I know that you are a good driver, but your (tailgating, speeding, four lane drift lane changes) could distract other drivers and cause them to have an accident. Maybe you should join the Auto club and participate in the sprints.
- Sweetheart, that is really dangerous. Please Slow down.
- Anwar, Do you think you are Michael Schumacher? Slow the fuck down and stop being such an asshole behind the wheel or I will get out of the car at the next round about.
- In our family, feedback is usually in the style of #4, but your mileage may vary.
If you catch your kids, or anyone who is living in your house and under your roof driving recklessly take away their keys. No Negotiation, no Excuses. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility and not a god-given right.
Do not buy your teenage kid a sports car for his first wheels. that's not sending the right message about responsible driving, and anyone who is just beginning to drive does not have the experience or training to handle a powerful and touchy car. If your kids are anything like me, as surely as the sun rises and sets they will wreck it within a month. Save yourself a load of money and buy them a beat-to-hell pickup or Volvo.
Tomorrow, more humour, less bitching, and vacation plans.