Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Stop for an accident victim



Brian Mendonça

What was this sports car doing by the side of the road? I was driving to work and here was this well-dressed gent in smart casuals flagging down my vehicle and asking me to stop. I was already behind time, but something made me pull over at the junction near Queeny hotel, on NH17B.

‘Can you drop some people to the hospital? There’s been an accident,’ he said. My mind raced ahead. Could this be a trap? Was I being set-up as a decoy? Who were these injured people? Why didn’t he drop them to the hospital himself? Something made me trust him though. I looked around. It was a bright sunny morning and nothing could go wrong.

I nodded my head. He sprinted over to his car and I saw 2 ladies limping towards my car. I have heard of ladies who get into the car and take advantage of the lone driver.  But the bruises on the younger lady’s hand were real.  The skin had peeled off in places and in some places the blood had stuck to her jacket. ‘What happened?’ I ventured to her. ‘I was riding my scooter, when it went out of control and crashed,’ she said in good English. ‘Where did it happen?’ I asked. ‘Near BITS’ she said. The second lady was holding her leg – her face contorted with pain.

There was no collision with another vehicle or passerby. Perhaps the tyre pressure was too low to handle the weight of the 2 persons. Early on a Monday morning the rider may have been speeding to work, had lost control of the vehicle and the mishap occurred.

I asked where she was driving to. She mentioned the name of a college. I immediately asked if she knew so and so who was my acquaintance in that college. She said she did. With the last shred of doubt out of the way my heart welled with sympathy for these hapless riders. I invited the gent to join us, but he said he preferred to stay with his broken down vehicle.  I nevertheless took his number.

He asked me to take the ladies to Chikitsa hospital  at the T point where NH17B from Vasco meets NH17 on the Panjim-Margao route. I had no clue where the hospital was and was dreading a scenario where I have two injured ladies and nowhere to go. Fortunately, the younger lady was quite practical and was constantly on the phone giving the relevant people at work and at home the updates. She also asked someone to pick her up from Chikitsa hospital where I dropped them.

Road users are advised to help accident victims. When I looked up the website of the Goa Road Transport Organization www.goatransport.gov.in/  I did not find any guidelines/reassurances on how to deal with accident victims on the road. I am not sure if the lady rider had heeded the slogan, ‘Use your head. Wear a helmet.’
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Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 6 March 2016. Pix courtesy: Girl Accident, Traffic Awareness Video India on YouTube.

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