Three accidents on the highways involving Volvo buses and the resulting deaths have left me very worried. These buses are great for travel and ensure comfortable journeys especially when tickets on trains are not available but they are also veritable death traps as each of these accidents indicate. At the cost of sounding extremely monotonous I use the lines of master Oogway “there are no accidents”, these incidents are caused by driver error.
When we fly on any airline the crew painstakingly go through the safety procedures and the emergency evacuation process while showing the nearest exists to the passengers. Usually many travellers ignore these demonstrations for various reasons which are an indicator of the indifference of our times. These safety measures are not explained in buses and this I would believe was the difference between people surviving and dying a fiery death.
Volvo buses are usually air-conditioned and the engine is at the rear. The fuel tank I believe is in the centre of the bus. These buses have a very high fire risk because of the way they are designed and the amount of inflammable materials inside the bus including the dirty curtains. Every bus has one narrow exit at the front of the bus, with a separate door for the driver. If you follow the news closely the driver usually escapes the fire because the door is close at hand. Many people died because they could not come out of the sealed tubes. Therefore knowledge of the doors can save lives and so if you are planning to travel by Volvo or for that matter any other air conditioned buses read on.
Every bus for public transport is mandated to have emergency exits and if you observe the buses closely from inside or outside you will be able to locate the exit closest to you. Usually these exits are closer to the rear end of the bus and are on both sides. In addition most buses have a sky light or a door on the roof that can be opened from inside with little effort. Coming back to the emergency exits a quick glance will tell you if they can be opened without assistance or they need to be broken. At this moment you will realize that the cute little hammers are not fashion accessories. If they are missing, asking the bus operator to provide one is worth the effort and not embarrassing at all.
So to sum up a few tips for regular travelers:
- Look for seats closer to the exit, after a few trips you will know the seat numbers that come closer to the main / emergency exits
- Examine the exits and check if they can be opened quickly when required
- If the driver is driving rashly gather up the courage to talk to him, if required rally the support of other passengers because it can be life saving
- Lastly when you fly pay attention to the flight crew, they are trying hard to save your lives, when it becomes a habit you will start making small steps to make your road trips safer too.