Muscat: Grieving father Abdul Haq had never thought that he would be pleading for enhancing road safety awareness but a fateful day seven months ago changed all that.
This week thousands of children will be boarding school buses as the new academic session begins. Two of Haq's sons should be doing the same. His third son, however, will never again be part of the back-to-school rush.
"You are touched by the tragedies and heartaches associated with road crashes only after you become a victim," the bereaved father of three told Times of Oman on Thursday.
In January this year, Abdul Haq's son Syed Fahad was killed in a tragic road accident involving a bus ferrying Pakistan School students. His two other sons were also in the bus, but survived. However, they are yet to resume their school. The bus was travelling at a speed of 100km per hour when it spun out of control, and hit a truck parked on the Qurum Heights Road killing three students and leaving many injured.
Following a spate of road accidents recently, Haq has started urging motorists to drive to arrive. "Life, as we knew, changed forever for us. An entire family with all their dreams taken away in a heartbeat," he said of that fateful day seven months ago.
Now, he wants to urge people to drive safely. "If possible, I will go door-to-door, appealing to people to drive safely," he wrote to the Times of Oman Readers Club after two people died in Ruwi crash last week.
Driving too close to a vehicle or over speeding can cause crash
Haq said that he had already started advising people visiting his jewellery shop in Seeb or others he meets, to drive safely on road.
"I keep saying that it was so horrific that nobody should ever have to die the way my son did," he said.
Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you and over speeding can have catastrophic consequences as was proved on that tragic day. "A large number of people listen to me with huge interest but their behaviour changes again when they sit behind the wheel," he told the Times of Oman.
'I still cry'
"I still cry on most days and my mind runs with what could have been and what should have been and torments me with flashes of their tragic ending," he added. "I hope that hearing my story today has made you all think twice to make better choices before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Don't think that 'oh, that was a sad story and that this won't happen to me'. Well, it can; it happened to my son.
"When you leave your house, you never know if you are going to come home again. Remember that when you get behind the wheel, and drive to arrive," he added. He said his children are yet to resume their school seven months after the horrific crash.
"Two sons — Syed Saad (9) and Syed Daud (5) and daughter Sana Haq (7) are still scared to travel and I am not pushing them since they are yet to recover from the trauma of accident," he said. All of them are waiting for the Pakistan School Seeb to open senior classes. "Now I will not depend on anyone but will drop them to school myself every day," he said.
While Faizal Abdul Aziz and Jawed Habib were injured in the accident, three children, Fareeha, Owais Nasser, and Syed Fahad died when the school bus met with the accident in January. Both Faizul and Habib are still undergoing treatment at their home.
"That was the day when the world went dark for me and my family members. Nobody can feel the pain unless they have gone through it, too. So people should drive to arrive in Oman," he said.
To get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org