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Traffic rules? September 24, 2005

Posted by Nilesh in Uncategorized.

I live in Pune where, currently, there is a lot of hullabaloo regarding the pathetic condition of the roads. And as I need to travel 50km everyday, Pune roads and its traffic has become my daily ‘frustration-tonic’.

I believe,for the city to have smooth-flowing traffic, there are three components which need to function properly.
1) The PMC(or any other road-building authority eg.PWD,DRDO) which needs to put in the requisite effort and the tax-payer’s money to build and maintain proper roads.
2) The traffic police force which needs to maintain decorum on the roads and
3) ‘We, the people’ who are the actual users of the road system.

There is already a lot of agitation on, on what the PMC needs to do about the Pune Pothole Factory. And there is no denying the role to be played by the government authority. I shall not dwell too much on it.

The police is an important part too.Being such a heavy city traveller myself, I’ve seen a lot of instances where people have broken the signal and rushed past the traffic police with impunity. The police has chosen to look away. Why did this happen? Why didn’t the police fine the culprit? Are there too many of the perpetrators and too less of the police to be effective? Will a heavy fine(a la Singapore) do the trick? Well, it will definitely do its part in deterring the people. But then, who will stop the corruption that is bound to follow? Most importantly, is it right to only blame the govt and the police for the deplorable condition of the traffic?

This gets me to the most vital cog in this wheel of ‘traffic’- the drivers.
This is my pet peeve.
Let me note some situations I’ve seen.

– I’m waiting at a signal in a chowk. There are four lanes-each pair perpendicular to each other. Currently, traffic is on from left to right in front of me. I see that the vehicles wanting to go from right to left are inching forward in spite of their red signal throughout the time when the vehicles parallel to them are moving. The moment the signal goes ‘orange/yellow’ for those vehicles, these impatient people take off. After a substantial amount of vehicles have passed, I see that the vehicles on the opposite lane parallel to me are honking horns desperately. That is when I realise that when the signal had turned orange earlier, these guys were given the green signal. So, not only have the impatient guys been impatient and inched through their red signal well ahead of the road mark where they should’ve stopped, they have taken off with considerable speed at somebody else’s green signal.

– I’m waiting at a signal,once more. We have a lane with atleast 10-12 cars waiting. When the signal shows 15 sec left, the first car inches forward. It’s obvious that she intends to leave when around 10 sec are left,and she does, not bothering to wait till the signal turns green. At this point, when the signal is red, and there are 12 cars one behind the other,bumper to bumper, each and every car starts honking furiously. I’ve tried a lot and have been unable to come up with any sane logic as to why they do this. What do they mean to achieve? Do they believe that the cars in front of them would just evaporate and they would have a clear road if they honk? Are they trying to tell the next person to hurry up? But they can see very clearly that there is no way anybody can hurry. There just isn’t any space. Not to mention the enormous noise pollution caused. Beats me.

– I am going on a bridge on a river. The traffic is heavy. Bikers wisely(or so they think) decide that the footpaths are apt for driving. They bag a place on it with alacrity and merrily speed away.

– People just DO NOT stop at signals. Right from the bicycle drivers to PMT(public transport here) buses, they,if its possible not to, will not stop at a signal.

In such a condition, it is stupid to expect people to follow lanes and indicate accordingly on lane-changing.

What is it that makes people not to follow the rules? Do they think, as they say-‘Law is an ass’? Why the impatience?

In spite of all the vented frustration up there, I believe, there is only thing I ought to and must religiously do. Follow the rules myself!

We have this tendency of always putting the blame on somebody else. Like they say ‘When you drive, the person driving slower than you is an idiot and one driving faster than you is a maniac’!Each and every person who goes through this hell called Pune traffic everyday, must be complaining the same way as I am. But, how many of them, when they get on the road, follow the rules, in spite of nobody following it around them? How many of you(for eg) can sit on a puny vehicle like a ‘TVS Scooty’ and wait at a red signal with a giant of a bus right behind honking harshly, almost ordering you to go ahead with jumping the signal? Isn’t it the most obvious thing to do to improve the situation-to play your own part by following the rules rather than blame the next person on wheels? Of the three components mentioned above, I believe the biggest responsibility is on our shoulders. When each one of us plays our part, the traffic jams will vanish, and travelling will be a much more pleasurable proposition.

To be frank, many instances, where law is broken on the road, are harmless to other people. For eg, driving on the footpath when nobody is walking on it,jumping the red signal when nobody is around, and so on. However, I think, they are the most harmful for the perpetrator. They eat away at his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Nothing can be more harmful. Slowly, one starts breaking rules more regularly. The small-fry mistakes are no longer mistakes to him. He breaks bigger rules,say speeding. Then some more, driving drunk. Then, before he can realise his mistake, disaster strikes. By that time, its too late. Many innocent and precious lives, including his own, are lost.

I know this post is really an incoherent rambling of sorts. It might sound like a ‘not-one-more'(yawn) sermon. But, even if one person, after reading it, decides to follow the traffic rules, I will think that my purpose is served.So, anybody who is reading this post, the next time you are on the road, please follow each and every rule(No matter how trivial it may seem).

We, the drivers, need to drive this city towards better traffic conditions.

Have a safe journey!!:-)



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