You must consider yourself blessed if you have not been chided by an auto or taxi driver as `L board’, just because you were following traffic rules and driving. It is assumed in our country that you’re a disciplined driver because you don’t have the driving skills to be indisciplined. Even if we Indians are given two hundred feet driving space on either side of the road we will create traffic jams. It seems, we just don’t have the gene which is responsible for `disciplined driving’ on the road.
I don’t understand what parents think of themselves when they let their under-aged kids drive on the road. Is there no better way to prove their love? Is there no sane way of making their kids independent and bold? If their kid hits somebody, they know how to get them out of legal troubles but what happens if their kid hits an electric pole and gets electrocuted? What’s the point of crying and wailing later?
Wrong-side driving in our country is a religious ritual which transcends all religions. Motorists feel it is the equivalent of switch hit or googly on a cricket field and execute it with impunity. Most of these idiots feel `when there are no vehicles coming from the other side, what is the wrong in driving on other side of the divider? Even otherwise vehicles coming from other side should see and adjust themselves’. On a sarcastic note one can say by breaking lane discipline they are sticking to the national ideal of `United we stand, divided we fall’. It’s high time that atleast on Bengaluru roads, a separate lane is made for wrong side driving on either side of the road.
Those who drive cars are not above board. Some of them are worse than auto drivers both in behavior and driving skills. `Bigger the car lesser the common sense of the driver’ is a postulate on Indian roads, few would dispute. Those who drive SUVs feel that it is an insult to their vehicle to drive behind a small car, and overtake it, use all intimidating techniques. Most car owners feel that they can park their cars even in middle of the road as long as they put on the parking lights. A handful of car drivers use indicators to show which direction their chariot is likely to turn. When I start my drive, I put my mobile in `Airplane Mode’ because I know that even if I get a call that my nearest or dearest is serious, I can do nothing about it. However, this opinion is not shared by most car owners and they are ever-ready to talk on the mobile while driving, making an ass out of themselves and putting theirs as well as others lives into risk. Wearing a seat belt is presumed to be necessary only while driving on a highway whereas its need is more on city roads where the need for applying sudden brake is more.
Footpath as defined in the dictionary is “a narrow path for walkers only or a raised space alongside a road, for pedestrians”. In Bangalore it is a space exclusively reserved for the shopkeepers and garage owners to transact their business. Many of the corporation authorities don’t even know it is an offence and those who know it is one make a quick buck from the traders. The traffic police who promptly book any vehicle for being parked in a no-parking zone do not mind when the footpath is fully obstructed. The pedestrians are left with no option but to walk on the road. Once in a while, one of them will get hit by a vehicle and people will burn a few vehicles but that does not affect either the corporation or the traffic police to crack hard on the offenders. After all allowing such transgressions is so beneficial to both the parties.
The fines and punishment for traffic offences have to be increased 10x times but as long as breaking traffic rules and getting away with it is considered a part of smartness or one’s social reach, the traffic sense in our country is not going to improve.
This blog is part of Nissan Safety Driving Forumn whose COMMITMENT TO SAFETY IS BASED ON GREAT CONVICTION ABOUT THE NEED FOR CAUTION AND SAFETY WHILE ON ROAD. THEY HOPE TO BRING THE MUCH NEEDED CHANGE IN THE MINDSET OF THE MASSES.