Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting banged from behind

An orange light comes on as you were hoping to go past the signal. You decide to put brakes and stop well before zebra crossing. In a split second, all you hear is a bang from the behind. Vehicle owner behind you didn’t manage to put the brakes in time. What do you do? The answer is: depends on the city you are driving.

In New Delhi: You get down, go towards the car behind, haul the driver out of his car and start hitting him below his ear. (This is more valid if you are true Delhite and have some high level connection, else reverse situation may happen).

In Mumbai : Both drivers get down and look for damage to their respective cars. With speed no more than 20 km/hour, it must be a dent or few scratches. By now, rest of the drivers are honking and howling. Realising that you too are getting late, you start get back to your wheels.

In Dubai: You get down the car as the other driver does the same. Both shake hands saying Salam Aleikum, Alekum Asalam ... kaif Halif.... . Pull the car towards kerb.. Call police, wait for them to arrive. Police come, make their own deductions, and hand over slip to both. You go to the insurance company and get the car repaired.

In Singapore, I had no clue. This was my first time. A young man driving Hyundai – Matrix managed to swerve his car in nick of time but couldn't prevent hitting the right side of the bumper and climbing up the divider and stopping next to the electric pole. Both were lucky. What if he was to hit straight pushing our car at the mercy of cars starting across the street ? What if he were to go past the pole landing on the street across ?. Initial shock for him is over. He comes along and checks if anyone is injured. ‘ There is no need to call police. You call police only if there is a injury or damage to public property ' . I called up insurance company 24 hour hotline. ‘Just collect the details of driver and make a claim tomorrow’. An ambulance returning back to the hospital stops and enquires if anyone is hurt. I asked another driver if there is any need to inform police. ‘ No need La, both of you will get demerit points '. Young driver is courteous, we let each other note down ID and driving licence details as he gets busy calling rescue service vehicle. Next day, I go to the approved service centre of the insurance company. The lady was surprised that I had the photocopy of driving licence and ID of the driver. 'Well , generally no one gives it . It's right of information '. Car number is more than enough. Photo is better. That’s all. I get spare car to drive back home. Life is not all that complicated in Singapore. It seems, Singapore too had similar laws like Dubai but now has made it easier for people to solve the issue between themselves. This avoids traffic hassles and gives respite to police from getting involved in small affairs. Computerised database allow traffic police to see the claims from insurance companies and charge demerit points against the person who is at fault. Sound so easy and simple.

For next few days, I would now drive Toyota Vios . The noticeable difference being dashboard in the centre but no complains. I at least have a mobility.


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