KOCHI: Less visibility, wet roads and slippery conditions make the rainy season more vulnerable to road crashes and accidents, right? Wrong.A study conducted by the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) shows that a large number of road accidents in Kerala occur between December and May — a period after the monsoon spell — when the roads are dry and the visibility clear.
In 2020, a total of 12,467 accidents happened between January and May. And 1,266 persons succumbed to their injuries during the period. In comparison, the number of accidents during the monsoon season was lower, at 7,592, with 806 persons losing their lives.The figures are similar in 2018 and 2019 as nearly 18,143 and 17,454 accidents occurred during the first five months of the respective year. The number of accidents between June to September in 2018 was 12,441. In 2019, the figure stood at 12,608.
“Our earlier perception was that most of the accidents happen during the monsoon season. We also issue alerts asking drivers to be cautious in slippery road conditions,” said Gokul Gopalakrishnan, road safety expert and RTO, who conducted the study on road accidents in the state as part of the Road Safety Project. Fewer crashes in the rainy season could be because vehicles move at low speeds following traffic congestion and cautious driving to avoid skidding on slippery roads.
The officer stressed the reality seems to be different from popular perception in Kerala. “Since there is a pleasant climate during the December-May period, and with roads being dry, there is a temptation for the driver to press the accelerator,” Gopalakrishnan said.“This might be the reason for the spike in accidents during the period.”Unfortunately, accidents continue to happen even as the officials are initiating several measures to curb rash driving.
“The road safety week in the state was observed from January 1. Even during that period, several accidents happened. There is no doubt that accidents are happening when the sky is clear. Though we don’t have scientific proof for it, the number of accident cases during the initial months every year is a clear pointer,” said B J Antony, former senior deputy transport commissioner. But the police and MVD officials are clueless about the exact reason for the spike in accidents during the dry season. “Several festivals take place in the state during these months and more people take to the roads. Only a detailed study on each accident can reveal the exact reason for the spike in accidents,” said Gopalakrishnan. He has proposed a detailed study by the road safety panel on the accidents that occurred in the initial months of the year.