We’re partnering with the Hyundai Motor India Foundation for the fifth edition of #BeTheBetterGuy – its holistic and impactful road safety campaign. Our field of intervention? Mumbai Driving Schools.
Posted May 10, 2022 1:43:00 PM
On a sunny morning last month, we found ourselves visiting driving schools across Mumbai. What were we doing there? Have we forgotten how to drive? No, we were in said schools as an ally of the Hyundai Motor India Foundation (HMIF), helping one of India’s most respected automakers spread its message of safe driving among people who were just starting to get acquainted with the way a car ran and moved.
The #BeTheBetterGuy road safety checklist has found many takers.
Over the past five years, HMIF has put its full force behind the #BeTheBetterGuy road safety campaign, often using the popularity of some of its brand ambassadors such as film star Shah Rukh Khan, among others, to push its message. The fifth edition of the campaign, which aligns with Hyundai’s overarching vision of “Progress for Humanity”, targets millennials and Gen Z and focuses on safe driving habits broadcast across all platforms . Over the past five years, the #BeTheBetterGuy campaign has garnered millions of views, and the manufacturer has also conducted (pre-Covid) numerous floor activations at schools across the country. The basic idea behind the grassroots campaign is simple: our roads can only be safe if each of us can #BeTheBetterGuy behind the wheel.
We have chosen driving schools as our focus area because much of what HMIF has propagated through its campaign resonates with us. And it should. With over 1.5 lakh lives lost due to road accidents each year and our roads contributing to a chaotic and stressful environment, we consider awareness of road safety and traffic rules to be imperative. And no, we just didn’t land in the driving schools of Mumbai in a Hyundai Alcazar – we burned the candle at both ends, talked to young people at work and in our social circles and created a fun quiz on the traffic signs, traffic rules, and traffic etiquette not only for the learners we would encounter in schools, but also for their instructors.
Instructors and students at Samrat Driving School in North Mumbai prepare for road safety lessons.
We did this because we see cars as more than a device that you learn to operate and use. Cars are not microwaves or blenders. As drivers, we share the road with hundreds of other road users at all times, and being considerate of other road users and being responsible behind the wheel is of paramount importance. Our goal was not only to educate young learners about the importance of road safety, but also to get driving instructors to, perhaps, look beyond clutch, steering and brake and to help shape the young individuals who will become #BetterGuys and Girls, so to speak.
The research that went into our questionnaire unearthed information that even we weren’t exactly aware of. For example, did you know that the total number of traffic police in India was just over 72,000 in 2018? And the number of vehicles in this country? More than 20 crore. That wasn’t the only revelation we found in a report released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development a few years ago. According to the report, West Bengal had the maximum number of traffic officers at 8,500, while Karnataka and Delhi had an equal number of traffic officers – around 6,000 – to manage the state’s roads. and the city! Another interesting nugget we found relates to how Kota, Rajasthan is on its way to becoming a traffic light free city.
The importance of maintaining discipline in the lanes cannot be overstated, says Raj Tilak Roushan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, HQ and Central, Traffic, Mumbai.
As we speak, several flyovers and underpasses are being built, which will hopefully set the standard for other cities of this type. We also spoke to people who have their ears in the field when it comes to road safety. “The problem with our cities is that with the increase in population you will also have more vehicle density, but space, especially in Mumbai, is limited. But while most commuters in the road take shortcuts or cut lanes to reach their destination as quickly as possible, they don’t realize that they are choking traffic and also slowing down everyone, including themselves,” says Raj Tilak Roushan, under -Commissioner of Police, HQ & Central, Traffic, Mumbai.”Drivers must follow traffic rules and maintain lane discipline all the time. And awareness plays an important role when it comes to enforcing and maintaining traffic rules and road discipline. So, campaigns like the one you are running will go a long way toward achieving that goal. »
IN THE CLASSROOM
Samrat and Tejani Driving Schools in North Mumbai are representative of most driving schools in the city. The “office” is a no-frills place and work starts early, before traffic takes over the roads. The instructors’ students were all young, excited and eager to learn how to start and stop a car, and to experience the freedom that only an automobile can bring. But how aware were they of road safety and traffic rules? It was time to find out.
The next two hours allowed us to peek into the mind of the young and aspiring Indian driver. While many of them seemed to have mastered driving the roads, spotting gaps in traffic and anticipating annoyances, the students – and their instructors – didn’t know some very basic rules. When we asked them who had priority on a roundabout, they gave several answers except the correct one, which is, of course, that they should give way to any other vehicle that is already using the roundabout.
Another response – to a question about mirrors, from the instructors – wasn’t exactly what we expected. Turns out most instructors don’t really use the side mirrors and just rely on the rear view mirror. And when exactly can’t we wear a seat belt, we asked them? The answers were very inaccurate and it would have been funny had it not been for the fact that the lack of information on road safety and rules directly impacts all of us on the road.
Obeying traffic rules helps you drive safely. Things, of course, get better if you have things like Hyundai Alcazar’s Blind View Monitor on your side.
So we took students from both schools for a ride in the Alcazar and gave them, using our checklist, a quick masterclass on road safety and the responsibility of being responsible drivers mastering the rules. Traffic. Everyone turns out to listen if things are explained to them in an interesting and engaging way, and we encountered several questions not only about traffic rules and road safety, but also about how technology comes into play. to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities. As the sun went down, we looked back on the day with satisfaction. We had done our part to help a group of young people – and their instructors – learn about the concept of road safety, and we were happy to have played our part in one of the most influential road safety campaigns of these last years.
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