Hyderabad boy is India's safest driver
In a country with one of the highest number of road accidents, awareness about driving safety is much needed. One such initiative is Maruti Suzuki-Autocar Young Driver 2014, which concluded on Wednesday,
Beating 24,000 contestants in five months, Pranay Agarwal raced ahead to get Maruti Suzuki’s Young Driver award
In a country with one of the highest number of road accidents, awareness about driving safety is much needed. One such initiative is Maruti Suzuki-Autocar Young Driver 2014, which concluded on Wednesday, with Pranay Agarwal from the city bagging the title of ‘Maruti Suzuki-Autocar Young Driver of the Year 2014’. In the final round, the thirty finalists took driving tests at the Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR), in which Agarwal proved himself to be the safest driver in the country.
“It feels really amazing to become the best driver in the country,” beamed the winner as he held the key to his new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. The winner becomes a safety ambassador for their respective cities. The contest is held in three phases, beginning with the online test which moves on to a skill test conducted across 44 cities in India. The 30 finalists were then brought to Delhi, where they were evaluated on 20 parameters pertaining to safety, vehicle control, driving skills and theoretical knowledge at the IDTR.
Pranay was among the 24,000 participants who registered for the contest, which began in July this year. “The journey has been no less than a roller-coaster ride for me. I regularly read the Autocar magazine and the app of the magazine is a bookmark on my phone. So I get updates of any event or competition,” he said.
The months of grueling tests and training were not easy for the young man. He recalled, “It was one of the toughest track that I have ever come across. The tasks were extremely challenging. It was a huge challenge for me because the track in the training academy had no traffic. The hurdles which I had to come through were really astonishing.”
The toughest was the ‘S’ hurdle, which required a participant to drive a car backwards through a very narrow road. “The track was no more than the width of a car and we had to drive the car in reverse being extra cautious so that we do not to touch the cones and the dividers,” he said.
The contest got really tough at times but Pranay never gave up. His friends were always there to lift his spirits when the going got tough. He pointed out, “My friends always backed me up and encouraged me to go on, and held my nerve at certain times when tasks were extremely difficult. At tough times I went through all the traffic signs and made myself familiar with the rules and regulations of the road.”
The stark difference that he noticed between Delhi and Hyderabad roads was road signs. It posed a problem for him. He said, “Hyderabad roads do not have road signs.” Pranay, however, hopes to come back and spread the awareness for the need of road signs at appropriate places in the city.
Talking about driving safety, he said, “Drivers should have a certain attitude while driving and should be attentive to road signs and traffic lights. I think the licence committee should be more stringent with their laws and the tests should be more than just judging a person’s ability to drive. They should actually go through the test we had to go through,” said Pranay, who has been driving for the past two years with a licence.
He added, “The important things that I always maintain when I am on the road are to follow lanes and traffic signals.”Pranay is awaiting the results of his MBA exams and is “looking forward to a bright future.”