Before the west was won, the Red Indians of America, especially in the states of the wild west such as Texas, Arizona and California, used to communicate with one another using smoke signals.
In my younger days, when Tarzan movies were popular in the 1950s and early 1960s, the “Lord of the Jungle” was able to communicate with his jungle friends especially the elephants and the monkeys. I’m certain all Tarzan fans, like myself, can easily emulate the famous and well known Tarzan’s call even today.
I still recall very vividly, the most famous of all Tarzan, Johnny Weismuller, making his famous calls of the silver screen.
What am I trying to impress upon you readers with so many stories regarding the Lord of the Jungle? What has it got to do with today’s topic, you may wonder.
Well, what I’m trying to emphasise to you dear readers today is that drivers and riders as well, need to communicate with other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and animal that use today’s roads.
Failure to communicate well with all the above mentioned will obviously lead to only one thing, accidents!
You don’t believe what I am saying? Well, then please read on. In the end eventually, I’m sure you’ll end up believing what I am trying to say.
Motorcycle riders can very well use hand signals to let other road users know their intentions. That’s the reason why it is mandatory for motorcycles users to know how to use hand signals well.
If a driver sees a cyclist cycling in front of him in a wobbly manner, what should he do?
He is advised to immediately horn at him. If not, the possibility of a driver hitting the cyclist is remains extremely high.
In the 1960s, I still recall an interesting, yet true incident. One day, my late father, before he passed away happened to use my old 1963 model Volkswagen. Volkswagen, as you know, is reputed to be one of the best models of cars around.
But one thing bad about the Volks is that is possess a 6 volt battery system. Horns of Volkswagen are reputed to be very weak. My late father, who was more than 60 years old happened to be driving along Jalan Meru, near the Klang High School one afternoon. My dad, being old, do not have good reflexes.
Turning a corner at the traffic light near the Klang High School main entrance, may, father who was driving with my two children inside, saw an old Indian man cycling ahead of him in an unsteady manner.
Most probably, the cyclist was drunk at that time. Wobbling dangerously away, the cyclist worried my late father.
Instinctively, my father pressed the horn to warn or communicate with the cyclist that he was approaching. To the horror of horrors, the horn failed to work and he could not warn the cyclist at all. After all, car horns have sometimes failed to work.
With regards to the above dangerous situation, my son and daughter who were inside the car, were asked by my father to put their heads out of the window. All three screamed at the cyclists. The cyclist reportedly got a shock of his life.
He quickly dismounted, thus avoiding a nasty incident from happening.
Overtaking another vehicle can sometimes be rather dangerous. When a driver draws parallel to the vehicle which he is overtaking, he is advised to communicate with the driver he’s overtaking by horning once or twice to warn him or his intentions to overtake.
Flashing one’s headlights is another way in which drivers can communicate with other drivers and road users. Road users should understand what it means when a driver flashes his headlights at him.
If you do not know how to use this method of communicating, do learn from friends and colleagues. This is indeed a great asset to drivers. You should have a knowledge about it.
Talking about communicating with other drivers on the road, there is one thing I should warn you about though.
If you should happen to observe the authorities, say the Road Transport Department or Police, conducting a speed trap check, do not flash your lights at the on-coming motorists on the opposite lane with the intention of warning them about the impending speed trap ahead.
Because this represent an offense. According to Malaysian laws, you could be hauled up for abetting other motorists from being caught during speed trap enforcement exercise. For this, you could land up being fined a rather hefty sum.
To end this article, on how drivers communicate with each other today, allow me to tell you something about my late father’s early lorry driving days in the 1950s. In those days, my father used to have an attendant sitting behind his cabin.
When seeing vehicles approaching from behind, the attendant would knock three times on my father lorry wooden cabin. Why did the attendant resort to doing that, you might wish to ask?
My dad told me, it was the attendant’s mode of communicating with the lorry driver in front of impending vehicles approaching from the rear. A rather ingenious and excellent way of preventing road accidents, don’t you think?