I was on the driver’s seat of the shining Red car and my hands were tightly gripped on the steering wheel. A fellow blogger (Rahul) sat on my left in the front. A senior member from the Nissan design team together with Mihoko Koboyashi (Deputy General Manager, Corporate planning, Nissan Group of India) gave us company in the passenger’s seats at the back. It wasn’t a test ride but we were all set to roll. Before we began, the crew members ensured that we all had our seat-belts intact. Read on to know more about my 360 degree roll over…
Road safety stands relevant in every one’s life today, tomorrow and forever. I know it, you know it, we all know it but quite often we ignore the mandatory measures. It doesn’t harm us most of the time and we continue the way we love it but sometimes it costs a life of our dear ones. What is the fun of learning if it comes after the irreversible damage. Lets resolve to use the safety features of our vehicles in our everyday commutes.
In Ranbir Kapoor’s words- ‘Its cool to drive on the road but not to die on the road’.
After 7 cities, it was Kochi’s turn to host Nissan India’s new safety program on 21st December 2014. My blogpost won me a chance to be a part of it and it turned out to be a great learning experience.
In my last few posts I have been writing about NSDF and now I would like to talk about in elaborate. NSDF which stands for Nissan Safety Driving Forum is Nissan’s initiative to educate everyone who drives on the road as well the co-passengers about the importance of safety features in our vehicles. This was the third year when Nissan team traveled to different cities of the country to create this social awareness. At Kochi, I learnt that a team of 80 members travels together to put up the grand show each time. The whole setup of simulators is packed-unpacked in huge trucks and it travels from one place to another. Since it involves road traveling, whole travel route is chalked out before hand so that its easy for the team to move from one city to another.
Honestly, I did not know much about NSDF before the blogging contest happened. When I wrote my blog post, I did my bit of research and discovered a number of videos on youtube which showed the hands-on experience of the simulators. It did read meaningful to my eyes but when I went through it all myself, the impact was way too different. Since I am back from Kochi, I have been talking about the experience of simulators to everyone because its been etched in my mind. When it has affected me so much, I bet these practical demonstrations can definitely do much to bring in the much needed awareness.
After giving us a day for sightseeing in Kochi, Ankit from Nissan team took us to the venue where NSDF was taking place. The spot was Lulu Shopping Mall in Kochi. The team welcomed us enthusiastically and introduced us to the people of Kochi as 5 winning bloggers who had written about road safety. It sounded super fun to my ears. Madam Mihoko Koboyashi congratulated each one of us once again for winning the blogging contest. Keeping in the festive gesture, she also gave us Santa caps. After the formal look around, photography sessions and introductions with other team members of Nissan Group, we were supposed to experience the simulators. We queued along with the people of Kochi and waited for our turns. The whole atmosphere was super charged and I was loving it all.
My experience of the Collision simulator
The first simulator was about experiencing a frontal car crash at 5 kms/hr. Basically it was meant to help us understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt and the relevance of airbags. I walked up to the elevated platform. The crew members buckled me up on a seat and I was asked to wear a seat-belt. Just like a car, in front of me there was a steering wheel that was mounted before the seat. When I was prepared in my position, the ramp moved in front and suddenly it banged on something hard. The airbag ballooned out from the steering wheel but I remained in my seat. Basically, a duplicate accident was orchestrated. All of it happened at a super slow speed yet it left me jolted. Everything happens too suddenly without giving time to think and react to the situation just like it happens in a real accident. The best learning that came from it was that seat belts keep us intact in such situations and safety equipments in our vehicles are of utmost importance.
I recorded this one when N.P. Prasad was experiencing it.
My experience of the Roll-Over simulator
When the car began to turn, I was blank with no thoughts. When it turned a little above 100 degree, I began to feel dis-balanced and jittery. At 180 degrees, when it went completely topsy-turvy, with my head upside down I thought I would slip and fall. I was also sure that the steering wheel would soon break and come in my hands as I was pulling it too hard with all my force. More, I wanted to cry for help but the people from behind assured me it was all safe. And soon the car began to turn upright and I began to feel better. In a minute I was out of it safely. But the whole experience had an impact on me. I wondered that if such a slow turnover could make me utterly uncomfortable, how fearful it could be in real accidents. Seat belts were a savior!
I had thought it would be fun and adventure but when the roll happened, I experienced fear! Honestly I stepped out of the car with a changed perspective about seat belts. I had learnt their significant value. The mighty seat belt had kept me fully intact. I did not slip, I did not fall and I underwent the complete roll-over.
I recorded the whole video how it happens!
The third simulator was fun amongst all the three. It tested our driving skills. It was similar to playing a video game. I enjoyed it though I failed the test. I am not much into video games and thus I couldn’t balance the steering wheel as directed by the system. However, it was a good way of reminding oneself that there is always a room for improvement and road safety is not just about us individually but about everyone on the road. Following the safety driving practices is a must.
After having a tryst with the simulators, we played a game where we had to do actions against every word- ‘Safety Begins With Me and the last word was Shahrukh Khan’ where his most enacted romantic action had to be done. I won it. Later each one of us also talked about our experience and a video was shot. Overall, I must say Nissan is doing a great job. Beyond selling cars, going a extra mile and making people aware of the safety practices with a focus on reducing road accidents is definitely a good thought for the society. I bet if you experience the simulators you will never forget to wear seat belts. Whenever it happens in your city, do experience it.
I brought back many lovely memories of Kochi as well as Nissan team
Mihoko Koboyashi (Deputy General Manager, Corporate planning, Nissan Group of India) came out to be a very warm, friendly person. When I asked her whether she had read my blogpost, she softly asked me what was it about. I said I wrote a poem and she was super quick to say- ‘Oh yes, I read it, the poem about the man, his father and mother. It was a lovely poem and she hugged me. Wow! that was a lovely gesture. I love it most when people read and appreciate me for my writing.
I am back with a great message too- Safety begins with Me! Let us all come together and participate with Nissan to minimize road fatalities in India.
Lets resolve this new year to be safe on the road. The very basics that we need to remember always are:
Wear our seat belts always- even for the smallest of distances.
Keep the speed in check. Speed is dangerous, lets fear it!
Refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol.