Driving to death..

India seems to have got itself the dubious honour being  the world’s road death capital.

I am sure that most of us are not even surprised at it. Apparently, we overtook China in 2006, to become the country with the deadliest roads.

There are so many factors that just add up to these scary statistics, starting from the bottom, the drivers. So many of us on the roads, have licenses that are not properly earned, but ‘procured’. People ‘learn’ to drive/ride as they go. I remember seeing little boys riding their dad’s scooters when we were growing up – people never felt the need to go by the rules and ensure that a child is old and mature enough to handle the vehicle, forget about getting a license the correct way.  Then again,  if you do try to do everything the right way, you could probably forget about reaching your destination, any time in the near future.  One of my cousins was quite a careful and polite driver. A couple of years back, we saw a huge transformation in his driving method, apparently being a nice guy in the traffic does not help.  Every body is in a hurry, every body tries to inch one bit closer when the lights are red, resulting in a big jam when the lights are green. I remember autos squeezing into a tiny bit of space between two massive trucks. God forbid, the trucks move sideways even a bit.

Then of course, there is the issue with the way our ring roads and flyovers are constructed. It almost looks like the planner don’t seem to think ahead. I remember a flyover in Bangalore, which was meant to reduce the traffic congestion on the road, but the entry and exit from the flyover was so bad, that it hardly helped. The congestion just moved from one place to another. Makes me wonder about how these are planned. Almost every high-speed ring road has pedestrians crossing on foot, as it takes their fancy. We cannot even blame them, because they have no other option. There are no underpasses or over head footpath to help them cross, so what option do they have? I remember being scared to death when a family decided to run across the road(a high-speed highway) right in front of our car. Thankfully, the driver managed to swerve and not hit anybody/anything. But the fact that this sort of thing is done and is acceptable is the sad part. Not every body would be as lucky. If the driver could have hit another car, so many things could go wrong, when something like this happens. Apparently it does not make financial sense to build underpasses or walkways. Does that mean that human life is so under-valued that it does not matter if a few people die on the streets?

Do our traffic policemen really fine drivers at all? Most people recount of how they catch you and you are let off with a bribe . They are, apparently, extremely reluctant to fine people the proper way. So how can we really get the people to follow rules when the rules themselves are not properly enforced?

Here, there is a part of a ring road I pass regularly. They had recently added traffic lights after somebody was killed crossing it. Somebody (from here) was lamenting that it took a person to be killed for them to introduce lights there.. I just wished that at least people getting killed on our roads would propel our governments to action to try to manage our roads better..

47 thoughts on “Driving to death..

    • I know 😦 Ppl do all that they want to break rules thinking that they wil nt be fined anyways!
      Am nt saying no traffic personnel is gud … but the majority take things for granted. When I complained to a traffic police @ a signal recently abt a speeding car @ a zebra crossing [hv written abt it in a post I hv scheduled for Friday :P], he said he cant do anything!!!!! Cn u believe that?

      Oh god! See that is the problem – nobody cares 😦 Even if we do try to follow rules, it is of no use.. People tell me that it is safer to ‘not’ follow rules than to follow them 😦

  1. sigh i dont know why does india have to top in all wrong things 😦

    I know!

    and blore fly overs dont even get me started i hate blore traffic thats the one thing i hate abt blore the most

    The traffic is bad almost everywhere 😦 It takes me ages to cross roads 😦

      • But I think hyd is worst of the lot. In other cities, though the no. of cars on roads are high, atleast there is some sense of direction (and i have seen Mumbai, Delhi, Blore, Pune and Hyd). But driving sense in Hyd is nothing short of madness. Everyone think he/she owns the road. Maybe the nawabi culture rubbed off a bit on all hyderabadis!!! 😀

  2. I don’t know about Bangalore but Delhi probably has the worst traffic in the country…I don’t know if the BRTS has improved in the last year, but it was a big mess when I was there…As usual, it wasn’t thought out properly…

    You should rename your post to “How dare pedestrians cross the street when I’m driving through a red signal.” or “Zebra crossings and lane markings are for decoration.”

  3. Mumbai roads are very dangerous, especially in the monsoon… Everybody there has been/has had a close friend or family member in an accident!
    What to blame more – the infrastructure or the(lack of) lane discipline!

    It is crazy everywhere, isn’t it? Lack of any sort of discipline when it comes to driving, for that matter..

  4. Traffic situation is very scary in Delhi……..hit and run cases are probably the highest in our capitol. Sad that we have to take this fact as a way of life!

    The hit and run cases are horrible, aren’t they? Such cowards and they seem to have no sense of responsibility..

  5. Our country seems to top in all wrong things now a days. But its actually our fault isnt it? People make a country and our attitudes are what makes it like it.

    It is definitely our fault – we have got used to cutting corners and getting away with breaking rules and the govt does little to change that mindset..

  6. Oh I’ve always been horribly scared of roads and traffic. And given the fact that I have Zero road sense.. I hate venturing out. But yes, I do hope people begin to realise how important it is, to go slow and steady, rather than rush into death!!

    I just wish there was some way of containing this horror. You know, here, I feel much safer driving because most people follow rules and drive responsibly – there are crazy characters here as well – but most do follow rules..Back home, most do not follow any sort of rules.

  7. Its not about the govt Smitha, here in India, people are hardly aware of traffic rules. and even if they know, they arent bothered about the consequences. thats again because they could get away from the law either by bribing or just fleeing away from the spot.

    Ours is such a large country with uncontrollable population. It is next to impossible to make everyone aware of traffic rules here. well, they just have to use their common sense to use the roads, which I believe they leave it at home before starting their vehicle.

      • Oh I do agree that our judicial system is screwed up; big time. But we as citizens should also take care of certain things ourselves. We need to grow up as citizens; why do we need to depend on the law all the time? Is there a need for law to be behind us for such issues where all that we need is to use our brains ?

        • Its not for me and u Vimmuuu, who mite act responsible! But there r ppl who dnt and laws and fines cn make them good!

          Even the law-makers and those who govern us are citizens for that matter Vimmuuu … what do they do?

          Hw long wil we wait for ppl to start using their brains?

    • You know, it goes hand in hand. If the rules were enforced strictly and people knew that they would not be able to get away with things like this, they would not.

      Nobody cares about rules because they know that they can get away without following it.

      As for ensuring that everybody knows the rules, you know, one thing I have seen here is how even little children are made aware of rules. Poohi knows that she can cross roads at zebra crossing and what the traffic lights mean. In our country sadly, people take pride in breaking rules and children pick up on that at a very young age 😦

  8. Oh! I so know what you are talking about!~
    Blore traffic, the damn contructions and the flyovers – are all terrible!
    The signals are even worse!!

    Oh I remember Pix! It is madness isn’t it, at some places?

  9. I come across many mindless people while drivin everyday .. the one thing common to all is that they drive stupidly. Instead of stickin to rules and maximising everyone’s gain, they try to break them and in the process, creatin a mess. For eg, there was this lady i saw yestrday who stopped her car midway to buy veggies while sittin in her car.. Beat that !

    Welcome here, Mayank. ‘ Instead of stickin to rules and maximising everyone’s gain, they try to break them and in the process, creatin a mess. ‘ Exactly! And everybody gets held and people start losing their temper.. Goodness! A lady buying veggies while sitting in her car! What more can one say..

  10. Its scary indeed!

    Even though Delhi is considered to be one of the most dreadful cities in terms of traffic violations and rash-driving, I feel the condition is much better today. I dont know if its because the authorities have pulled up their socks and begun to act in a fair manner or if the citizens have taken it upon themselves to act matured and responsible..whatever is the case, I found a drastic difference when I went there last.

    That must be wonderful to see a change! I hope that change comes across in the other cities as well. And I think it just goes to show that we can follow rules and be orderly, when we want to..

  11. I am one day late on this post and can see everything that could have been said in a comment has been already said 😥

    so my question is

    Did the idea of this post come to your mind while you drove that 70 miles all by yourself for the first time? :mrgreen:

  12. Here the driving is all about street smartness Smitha…
    Its one of the reasons for me not learning bike riding yet… I think i will get the license this year… People here dont Have patience… They are running like they are losing a crore every second but never cares about lives 😦

  13. I remember reading an interview with Prof Dinesh Mohan, Henry Ford Professor of Transportation at IIT Delhi several years back. He was highly critical of how highways and flyovers were being built ignoring safety norms. It is high time that our planners go back to the drawing boards and come up with a ‘Pedestrian First’ model. Prof Ted Zoli of Princeton is doing just that.

    NYT recently had a video on India’s Highways of Death

  14. Lets look at it from a different angle.

    Indian roads are the world’s best in using up capacity. We truly know how to pack up every inch of road space. That’s quite an achievement.

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