This Class XII Student Is On A Solo Mission – To Teach Drivers Road Safety And Make Indian Roads Safer
New Delhi: It is 6am in the morning, Raghuvinder is on his cycle for an early morning ride in Noida. Driving for approximately 10kms, Raghuvinder thought of taking a quick water break. He was just about to stop on the side of the road when suddenly he was hit by a rushing cab. The next thing he knew, he was at a hospital waiting for the doctor to fix each and every injured part of his body. It’s not just about one case; there are countless number of cases of reckless driving in our country on a daily basis. And to change this grim reality, a Class XII student from Noida who is not even old enough to drive yet, has decided to do something about it and make Indian roads safer.
Sneha Makhijani, a 16-year-old student from Lotus Valley International School has started a campaign ‘MyRoadSafety’ back in 2014, an online and offline platform that aims at creating a behavioural change among people when it comes to following road safety related rules and regulations.
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I had moved from the United States to Noida. And on seeing how people drive here left me bewildered. It was so bad and I kept thinking how are the people on the roads even safe? Back in the United States, driving is a pleasure experience. Whereas, in my country, it is anything, but a pleasurable experience! It is not about laws, infrastructure, but about behaviour. Everybody wants to reach somewhere. They can either reach the destination by adhering to all the road safety rules and make it a pleasurable experience for both the driver and the other person on the road, or they can just drive recklessly and reach their destination by maybe hitting one or two people. And that’s when I thought I will do something for bringing in this behavioural change among people, says Sneha Makhijani.
Today, young Sneha goes out on the roads whenever she can and holds road safety campaigns in which she talks to people to make them aware about road safety rules and regulations and how they can all help in making Indian roads a lot safer.
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Just like you teach table manners to kids, road safety needs to be taught in the same manner. People think that it is okay to drive in whatever way they are driving – if they are skipping a red light or driving in a wrong lane – that’s all acceptable here. But, what they don’t understand, their mistake can take someone’s life and it has been taking lives of so many people here.
With posters, stickers and pledge cards of ‘I Will Be A Better Driver’ as her tools, Sneha on weekends usually heads out on the streets of Noida and Delhi-NCR to find defaulters and teach them about what they are doing wrong. Apart from defaulters, Sneha also talks to other people on the roads about road safety, in the hope that their behaviour on road improves.
Sneha’s campaign is now being supported by Indian Head Injury Foundation. Talking about her future endeavours Sneha added,
“I read on news, Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com is looking for suggestions for philanthropy. I have written to him so as he can help me with my project. My dream is to move towards audio and video road safety messages that can be put at every block. So that people can be reminded of why they need to be safe on roads.”
Sneha signs off by saying,
My mantra is to tell everyone ‘Save Lives and Drive Safe’, I want to bring in a social behavioural change among people and ultimately make my country’s roads safer.
But, we are Indians madam. We don’t care.
I will never drink and drive