Millions of people across India – and other countries – are celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, this week.
Falling on Wednesday November 7, Diwali is traditionally a time for families to visit loved ones, resulting in it being a busy times on the roads.
Here are 10 tips for safe Diwali travel:
- Plan your journey well enough that you won’t need to rush. Leave enough time to arrive at your destination calmly and safely. Consider travelling out of peak times if you can.
- Prepare your vehicle so it is as safe as possible for you and your family. Carry out checks to make sure things like lights and brakes are working correctly.
- Avoid overloading your vehicle. Carrying too many passengers means there are not enough seat belts for everyone. An overloaded vehicle also affects handling and can cause damage to the road.
- Let people know you travel plans, such as the route you will be taking and your estimated time of arrival.
- Get enough rest before driving so that you are alert during your trip. Plan for rest breaks every 200 miles/two hours to stretch your legs.
- Be patient on the roads. Busier roads tend to mean more frustrated drivers. Keep calm and resist driving faster if you’re running late.
- Obey traffic rules, including seat belts, speed limits and – if you’re riding a two-wheeler – wearing a helmet.
- Never mix driving with alcohol. Diwali celebrations commonly involve alcohol, but if you are drinking any amount, don’t drive. Organise to be collected by a driver if you plan to consume alcohol.
- Look out for people setting off firecrackers in the road. Driving at a sensible speed, looking well ahead and avoiding distractions such as mobile phones should enable you to stop safely in the event of this happening. Keep windows closed while driving to prevent stray firecrackers from entering your car.
- Look out for others on the road, particularly vulnerable road users like pedestrians and two-wheelers. Remember that other people might be impaired so take extra care.