Road safety experts urge parents to lead by example & follow rules

Every morning, Baner Pashan Link Road resident Nidhi Saraiya drives till the end of Sus Road and then takes a Uturn to drop her three-and-ahalf-year-old son at playschool.

But not many commuters do so. Throwing all caution to the wind, they reach the same spot from the wrong side through a break in the median. All they save are approximately 20 seconds and a few metres of driving.

But for Saraiya, violation of traffic rules is a strict no-no. For, she believes following traffic rules not only helps prevent accidents but also allows her the opportunity to imbibe in her son the importance of following road rules.

With growing incidents of wrong side driving, traffic activists, road safety experts and educationists in the city are shocked at the manner in which men and women routinely flout rules even when they are accompanied by their children –either in cars or on two-wheelers. Doing this not only endangers the child, but also inculcates in him her the false belief that flouting rules is an acceptable behaviour, they point out.

Up to the age of eight, children learn by observing, points out psychologist Himani Chap hekar who advises parents to exhibit upright behaviour. “At a very young age, parents and immediate family members are the main sources of learning and if children see their role models breaking traffic rules, they will never understand their importance,“ she says.

Admitting that the problem is rampant even outside schools, Neelam Chakraborty , principal of city-based Delhi Public School, said, “Parents should follow traffic rules and set the right example to their children so that they may grow up to be valuable citizens. In fact, we also take it upon ourselves to teach the right values to children and stress on the importance of following traffic rules“.

School textbooks should te ach the importance of following proper road rules, believes Rajendra Sidhaye, chairman of the Save Pune Traffic Movement (SPTM). “Information about traffic rules and civic sense should be incorporated in the syllabus with appropriate content developed for different age groups,“ Sidhaye said.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Pravin Mundhe feels it is important for citizens, especially parents, to lead by example. “What children learn today will shape their future and that of the city . It’s unfortunate that people prioritize shortterm convenience overlooking the safety aspects and by violating traffic rules in front of their children, they are setting a wrong example,“ he says.

Source : TOI