Friday, January 11, 2008
Indian traffic - blame the drivers...
Having returned from the US, one question that people ask is: Hows the traffic there- Its more organized - isn’t it?
I say yeah - of course, because people bother to follow the traffic rules there. They follow the lane discipline, traffic signals, give way to the pedestrians and dont honk!
Why is it that we have so many traffic jams here? Agreed that the infrastructure is not too good but do we bother to follow the simple rules ourselves? Here are a few examples:
# Lane Disciple - There are wide roads in Bangalore - the ring road, inner ring road, hosur road - all choc-a-block with traffic snarls everyday. Why? The road is wide enough to have 2 lorries and a car to all go side-by-side but what to do about the 3rd lorry driver who wants to squeeze his lorry in the space of a car?!! Can’t he see that a lorry is bigger than the car? What ensues is a traffic jam where neither of the 3 lorry drivers want to give way to the other and the vehicles behind them get stuck too. Why cants they just stick to one lane and let the other traffic pass? This doesn’t apply to only lorry drivers - car drivers even 2 wheelers for that matter.
# Traffic Signals - Another major irritant for all those people who carry the world on their heads X-( Can’t wait for a few seconds more until the light turns green. They HAVE to rush when the traffic from the opposite side stops though they still have a red signal or there is a light for the pedestrians to cross. And they give you such a stare if you happen to wait for the light to turn green as if you have gone bonkers! And yeah - the same thing here-don’t bother about the lane - stand in the left most corner even if you have to go right. As for an autorikshaw, he needs just enough space for his front tyre- the rest of the auto follows! And doesn’t matter if that space is in the left most lane and he wants to take a right turn!
# Give way to pedestrians (and slow at intersections) - I mentioned before that people just have to go even if the line is green for the pedestrians to cross - even if its just a matter of 10 seconds. And God forbid, if a pedestrian does happen to cross then he gets the choicest abuses! And give way to the other vehicle if it happens to enter the intersection before you. Why do accidents happen at intersections? People don’t bother to even slow down at intersections to check if there is another vehicle also entering the same junction. Don’t slow down - keep going at 80kms/hr and just sound 1 honk - the other guy does the same - need I mention what happens next? Hey, All it takes is a few seconds to slow down, check and proceed - saves you a lot of trouble and pain!
Which reminds me - what happened to basic decency - why cant people just give way to an ambulance? Are you in so much of a hurry that you have to stick to being in front of the ambulance so you can get thru a signal? Is reaching your destination more important than the man who’s fighting for his life inside that ambulance? Height of selfishness, I say.
# Don’t honk - This is by far the most irritating thing for me. If you are stuck in a traffic jam and all around you the vehicles cant move, here comes a 'king' behind you and starts honking! Where to go? And if you are a traffic signal, honks start at least 15-20 seconds before the light turns green. Yeah, yeah - i can see and I know i am in front of you and will go ahead as soon as the light turns green - why honk? And its another matter that they aren’t bothered if there is a hospital close by - and a no horn sign put up!
# Mobile usage - Imagine - A tractor guy going at 5 kms/hr in the middle of the road at peak hour traffic AND to boot talking on the mobile oblivious to the fact that he is slowing down the traffic. God!!Cant he at least move to the left most lane and talk? Does he NEED to be in the middle of the road? And that applies to everyone else who wants to talk on the phone and drive.
So do we still want to blame the govt for poor infrastructure? Forget rules-cant we just use simple common sense and make life a little more easy?!