Driver’s side rear view mirrors can be a good guide for even the back seat passenger. I usually shout to the person behind me, to wait, before I clear off.
BHPian vinya_jag recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
Pretext: After a very nice long non stop drive, a little negligence on my part at the time of alighting, made me write this post. I hit my Mom’s leg (Neither me nor my Mom know how, and what exactly happened. She panicked, yelled, and I drove the car in reverse, a few inches, and it bruised her leg, which thankfully was gone in a day).
I have to use the entire road to enter into the house, I usually notice what is behind me in my mirrors, but since our street is quite calm, I failed to notice a car behind me until almost when I stopped. Not sure where he came from. Maybe it was one of the parked cars that came by, because it wasn’t there the last time I had seen the mirrors. So, when I stopped at our gate, my wife alighted first and noticed that the gate was locked, and by then I had made the car behind me wait for a good 30 seconds. Also by then, a two wheeler came and tried to sneak in. I then put the car in reverse and tried to reverse, not noticing that my Mom was still getting off. She panicked and yelled from outside, and didn’t clearly say what the problem was. I first thought I had driven on her feet, then I thought that her hards were stuck, and in that commotion, I tried to correct things by doing the opposite, and it hit her leg. She said that her chappals were stuck, and she couldn’t move her feet when I first reversed, and second time, it pressed against her leg. Now she really yelled in pain, and again I did the opposite and she could free her leg. As she limped off, I was cursing myself not knowing what had happened. Moved the car a little ahead and let the Innova pass through. All this while, the car and the two wheeler inconsiderately were trying to hurry through, not even respecting or stopping by to look at my yelling Mom. A big lesson learnt.
So, here are some of my personal experiences from this and other previous instances. Please do add other suggestions. A simple boarding and de-boarding can be cruel on us:
Watch what is behind. Let everyone pass before you start alighting:
I recently noticed in a Harrier that from the backseat, it was impossible to see what was coming from behind. I had to open the door a few inches, sneak and then open the door.
If you are the driver, do not let anyone get off until you have given clearance:
Driver’s side rear view mirrors can be a good guide for even the back seat passenger. I usually shout to the person behind me, to wait, before I clear off. It works usually if you give a good shout. If you have parked on the right, watch your left rear view mirrors and again shout loud and ensure that the passengers on the left don’t get off or open doors until you clear them to.
Handbrake should be ON, until everyone board or alight:
This was my biggest lesson. Following the handbrake rule should be a good safety measure. A moving car, specially on an incline can cause a lot of panic, specially for elderly, when they are getting in or getting out. Once everyone has alighted, and shut the doors, have a look around, and only then disengage the handbrake.
Use the indicator when parked on busy roads:
This would indicate people walking by or vehicles coming from behind, that someone would possibly open doors. If you are parked on the left, the right indicator should warn people coming from behind. Follow this even before lifting off, because, people behind will always be taken aback when a stationary vehicle starts without indicating.
Watch for puddle or garbage before you park:
Scan the region where you are about to park. If it is dark, or has a drain or garbage pile next to it, let your passengers alight before you park.
Watch for kerb height:
If you are parking your car close to the kerb, and if the kerb is tall, let the passengers on that side alight last. Also, while getting in, they should get in first. If not, you might end up with a jammed door against the kerb.
Don’t be in a hurry:
Most motorists are in a hurry. Do not give in. Even better, to get off from the driver seat and help the passengers get off. This will keep the motorists behind waiting patiently.
Help others with seat adjustment or seat belts:
With all passengers now mandated to wear seat belts, invariably people will fumble while putting on their seat belts. Do not lift off until everyone is fastened. Else, you will have to help them while you are driving, which can be annoying, specially when the rear middle passenger seat belts vary from car to car.
Same is the case with seat tilt adjustment, or forward and rear adjustment. Each car has a different mechanism. Some are rotary, some are levered, some are fully automatic. Even the best of pros will find it difficult to adjust passenger seats on a new car.
Do not wind up the windows from driver’s seat:
It is safe to request passengers to wind their windows themselves. It is very difficult to see if anybody has any of their body part dangling, when you are trying to wind up all 4 windows.
Reduce music volume when you come to a halt:
It is difficult to hear anyone with all windows rolled up even without music, let alone with loud music. Reduce music volume, or pause when stationary.
Just to sum it all up, your drive is not complete until you have safely let everyone out, and locked the doors. Be alert. And, yes, will try and religiously follow what I have said, and will wait for other tips.
Here’s what BHPian ajayc123 had to say on the matter:
Thanks for compiling these points. Served as a good refresher. A few things that come to my mind:
- Ensure that all doors are closed and locked before starting. (Especially for older vehicles, where door open warning signs are not there) Sometimes, some passengers may close the door lightly, and the door may not have closed properly. The door may suddenly open when braking during motion.
- Child locks should be activated (per use case) and /or inspected periodically.
- Remind passengers to open doors and get off from the left side in case they are alighting on a busy street. A sudden overtaking vehicle from the right may cause a risk of an incident. I have seen kids getting off on the right side during school drops, which increases risk.
- Ladies with saree/ dupatta sitting on the window seats should be careful to ensure that a their cloth is fully inside the car, Sometimes, we have seen part of the cloth dangling outside the door with the car in motion.
- Tobacco chewing drivers often suddenly open the door to spit out periodically. They should be watchful of moving people / vehicles on the road.
Here’s what BHPian FarPatel had to say on the matter:
Good points to remember. However, a couple of observations from me:
- Pedestrians do not normally use the footpath, even if one is available. They are found more often on the road itself.
- The indicator is nothing more than a blinking light to them, ignored by 100% of them, I would venture to say. And even if they see a vehicle backing out of a gate, or getting out of a parking spot on the side of the road, they will not, repeat not, put on their own brakes and wait for a safe passage. They do not realise that the driver has to look forward, backward, side to side, almost simultaneously, in order to get a clear path forward.
This always makes me wonder at the abject stupidity or death wish of humans in general and Indian humans in particular.