The famous quote of the Australian Traffic Rules of 1938….rings my ears today” Road sense is the off-spring of courtesy and the parent of safety”….I couldn’t agree more in today’s context at the complete lack and ignorance of road sense in Indian roads today when it comes to the number of accidents and fatalities and injuries we see in road accidents today. There are many reasons for this ignorance, mainly being drastic increase in population and thereby increase in vehicles be in cars, bikes etc….a family consisting of say 5 members where each and every member has their own vehicle…other reasons being increase in highly dense traffic, illiteracy, living life on the fast lanes, exposure to movies where speed thrills etc.There are no traffic rules in India at least most of the times, and where there are they are meant to be broken & disobeyed.
I would blame it entirely on the lack of traffic and road sense, we do not have any courtesy, empathy for our fellow travelers everyone is in a rat race and wants to reach first regardless of the others, no consideration at all for fellow drivers, pedestrians, vehicles plying on the road and we never ever obey rules…somehow we get a sadistic thrill on breaking traffic rules and when stopped by policemen we love to bribe them and get away easily with a warning which is never listened. We are all “Idiots” wandering on the road with a license to kill or get killed. It’s not just drunken or reckless driving but display of destructive mannerisms on the road habits which we all encounter daily when we commute to our workplaces, marketplaces, homes etc.
Right from the moment we take our car from the parking lot of our homes, offices we encounter chaos. Start reversing your vehicle from the parking lot and some idiot who is some distance away will suddenly rush forward without any warning at full speed, honking loudly, trying to squeeze his vehicle past ours just to get ahead of you. You are waiting at the traffic signal with your car on the extreme right next to the divider keeping a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you and suddenly find a bike pushing his way through the gap in the divider and parking in front of you all this to ensure he is the first to go when the signal turns green….no patience in waiting but breaking the rule is their right..same scene holds true at malls, tolls plazas, office parking all this effort just to get that extra edge over you and be the winner.
Zebra crossings have today become a decorative piece which are painted regularly but are of no use as many Indians don’t even know the meaning and use of it. Don’t expect anyone to stop and let you cross the road…there is no such thing as road etiquettes in India and Indians yes they love honking and over-taking regardless of the consequences.
Inside the city, no matter what’s the speed of your car on an open stretch, some pedestrian will see himself as the next Usain Bolt and cross the road ahead of you unmindful of the fact that with the speed you are driving your car can actually gatecrash into him. We are a breed of humans who just love not using the pedestrian crossing but love to run, dodge in between cars irrespective of the speed and timing. These are infact not idiots but “Leaders” because they don’t follow anything or anyone and the masses follow them blindly. These idiots are usually found on highways where trailers, tractors, dumpers, bikes and bicycles ply on the wrong side of the road. If there is a “U Turn” nearby say just 200 metres on the opposite side then it makes perfect sense to them and is justified and you can never argue with them.
One has to be always wary of these idiots as their antics can lead to fatal or near fatal consequences either for them, you or your vehicle. I have seen frequent episodes of driving on the fast lane and at some point suddenly the front tyres of some stupid biker magically appearing in front of the car from a small gap in the divider of the road. These idiots just love to be the centre of attraction and attention be it on the road, no matter which vehicle they are driving, you will always be left guessing which lane they eventually going to pick, to add salt to your injury, these idiots will always drive slower than expected speed of the lane, your persistent honks wouldn’t budge them and they prefer and love to live on the edge.
No one wants to wait and let the other person ahead go first …they all want to rush in and be first to reach their destination regardless of the chaos they leave behind …that’s the sad but true reality of our traffic sense in India where rules, fines and warning go unheard and unseen. These events sometimes lead to a heart in the mouth moment as they miss the side on collision by a whisker.
Bikes and bicycles on busy city roads are a deadly combination, fast and weirdly changing movements will the likes of Micheal Jackson and Prabhudeva to shame.Outrear view mirrors are non-existent, giving signal while slowing down or at turns are not meant for them and they eventually fall prey to heads on collision with the incoming traffic.
All said and done as someone rightly said “Your safety gears are between your ears. If you don’t think its safe its probably isn’t….the safest risk is the one we didn’t take and roads are absolutely no place to be adventourous.Every time you go out on the roads you have to keep your eyes, ears open and be ready to face some idiot who is hell bent on crashing into you for the sake of getting ahead…The saying “Speed Thrills but Kills is unheard of in India…. Remember, “ Anyone driving slower than you is an Idiot & anyone going faster than you is a Maniac”