When I started as a lecturer for the 5 Hour K.P.P. (Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu) way back in the 1970’s, amongst the topics mandatory to be taught to potential students was one on “windbags”.
But today, the K.P.P. or Prevention of Accidents course intended for would be driving students have changed a few times since then.
The topic on windbags has unfortunately been left out. It is no longer incorporated into the syllabus today. Not that it is not important, just because things have changed and textbooks and its contents altered.
To tell you the truth, I have more or less forgotten about this topic actually. Many years have since gone by. The knowledge about windbags is extremely important, especially to drivers. More so to drivers who drive interstate.
That above refers to those who travel a lot from one state to another. From Pulau Pinang to Singapore, from Kelantan to Johore and so forth.
To talk about this topic, will entail me having to delve into my recollections. Not touching or teaching about this important topic for such a long while now has made me forgotten about it.
What are windbags? And what are they for?
With thousands of miles of roadways and expressways being built all over the entire country, has created a major problem for motorists. And albeit a dangerous one!
Certain stretches of expressways, permit me to quote, around Air Keroh, Melaka and the areas around Senawang, Johore, abundant stories have been reported about the strong winds which have been reported to have carried or blown away large vehicles.
Even stories of Mercedes Bens and Volvos have been reportedly fallen victims to such winds.
How did these strong winds develop?
Prior to the construction of highways all across the nation, such calamities did not exist. Construction of the above mentioned, have led to:
i) The necessity to cut down huge acres of rubber and oil palm estates to build the highways caused strong winds to blow towards the highways unrelentlessly.
ii) Housing estates are also being built along most highways.
In short, plantations and hills, which previously gave protection against strong and violent winds blowing towards expressways are no longer there.
Therein lies the capacity of such strong wind to even carry away large vehicles. Nasty accidents have been reported in places such as Senawang, Johore and Air Keroh, Melaka.
How do road engineers eliminate this dangerous problem?
To eliminate these problems, windbags are constructed along expressways and highways. Strong wind blowing across expressways will result in windbags being blown up, indicating danger to the motorists.
Besides looking at windbags, experts recommend a few things a motorist should follow. They are to:
i) Reduce speed on seeing strong winds blowing across highways.
ii) Wind down all your windows to allow wind to pass through the car or vehicle.
iii) Hold on to the steering tight and firm to prevent vehicles being blown out of control.
The above are but some of the ways recommended to ensure your safety.
Besides the above few recommendations, if you’re a person who travels a lot, you’re advised to elect buying a larger and heavier vehicle to eliminate the problem of strong winds which might cause you problem.
If you do not own such vehicle, do not panic. You can always rely on the windbags system erected on most expressways to assist you.
A word of thanks to all our engineers for a wonderful job well done!
To end this short article, permit me to relate on interesting yet true incident which actually happened a few years back. One former minister of Works, Datuk Samy Velu, nearly had his Merdeces Benz blown away whilst travelling one along the Air Keroh area due to strong winds!
So do make good use of the windbags. A word of advice though. Just don’t you be a “windbag” yourself!
Note: “Windbag” is person who talks too much on unnecessary things.