Saturday, September 09, 2006

Me First, Me First! - Impatience in city traffic

A phenomenon that has been bothering me for quite some time now - the increasing use of the horn and a palpable impatience among people driving in cities. Although I am talking of my city Hyderabad here, I am sure readers from other cities will be able to identify with it.

You get onto the road and you are immediately met by a cacophony - two wheelers, autos, buses, trucks, cars and everything in between. All vying for that inch of forward space in the next lane. Speaking of lanes, there is a great deal of confusion among drivers on what exactly lanes mean. Some of the drivers I spoke to believed that the right lane is meant for speeding vehicles while the left lane for slower ones. Other drivers were of the opinion that the left lane was for light vehicles, while the right lane was for heavy vehicles like buses and trucks.

The greatest menace is either (depending on which mode you travel by!)two wheelers or Autos (a motorized tri-cycle, not dissimilar to the tuk-tuks of Singapore). Even Bangalore, which is supposed to be the city of educated individuals who have been abroad has fallen prey to this phenomenon.

I clearly remember that when I visited Bangalore in1996, I got down at the Cantonment Railway station and was going to a hotel in MGRoad at 6:15 AM. The auto fellow was most polite, carried my bags to the auto and drove with good traffic sense. We stopped a minor junction and was surprised to see that traffic lights were working and everyone was honoring it.

Fast forward to 2004. It was 10:00 AM on Hosur Road. Traffic signals were not working, there was no policeman and might was right. I was not afraid though. I have been brought up in hyderabad, where "convenience" has always ruled over "order".

Apart from this chaos, there is a new factor that has come into play - impatience. I recently witnessed a car "lightly bumping" a two-wheeler because he was not giving room to overtake! I see people zipping on the main roads, while they drive more slowly in areas where there is little traffic. A friend of mine aptly summarized this as "I need to be ahead of everyone. I don't care a hoot what happens behind me."

I feel this is related to the increasing stress at the work place, where a picture of your family waiting for you at home and your boss is berating you at office is always nagging you. A sense of guilt and stress seems to be the reason behind this impateince, which again is behind the increasing number of accidents.

I am not sure what the cure for this could be, but I am pretty sure that I am going to drive a little more relaxedly.


Blogger Hyderabadiz said...

PS. Apologies for cross posting. This is not spam.
Hello Hyderabadi Blogger:
We have a plan to unite all Hyderabadiz: Calling out to all Hyderabadi bloggers.
We are trying our best to gather as much as possbile (I mean the sound and the fury, show and tell, look and feel of our true colors).
Push, pull or try your best to bring more people join the event of uniting Hyderabadi Bloggers.
Best, MT and the Team of Hyderabadiz

February 26, 2007 1:54 AM  

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