Like any other person who is travelling abroad for the first time, I was surprised to see the quiet traffic flow on the roads. For me, that was the first amazement I experienced when there were no traffic snarls and gnarls. That time a hardcore Indian woke up in me and started to question when would I see such behaved traffic in India? It was not too long ago I thought of it, and I was very pleased to find this news in New Delhi. Our capital has observed No Honk day on 1st Jan 2009. One of the NGO has carried out this and their aim is to move from No Honk to Never Honk.
Usually as per the driving code of conduct, you honk on the roads to indicate that you are in emergency and need to go fast OR showing displeasure on somebody who broke the traffic rules. Of course we in India usually do have a different definition for honking though.
This honking reminds me a short story that really happened with me. One fine day on our lunch table I was with an English and a Spanish guy discussing about different things in their respective countries. The English guy was picking on traffic in India, which I was trying to defend, and suddenly this Spanish guy gave his perception on traffic in India, which I found really impressive. As there is no lane driving in India, we honk just to make sure the other person who is driving before us about our location on the road. In other words, the sound of honk makes the person realize (or visualize in the brain) about various vehicles and their position on the road coming from back or sideways and adjust accordingly on the road. I thought I couldn’t give better explanation than this at that time. For the benefit of those who do not know about lane discipline – Driving vehicles one after the other in a lane in a disciplined manner and there is strictly “No Overtaking” on the city roads.
The problem why we can not have this lane discipline followed easily in India is due to variety of 2,3 & 4 wheel vehicles on the roads for e.g.: Auto rickshaws, cycles, mopeds, scooters, cars, buses etc. I believe all these traffic disciplines are possible only with some following changes in our driving system:
- Improvise our public transport tremendously with more buses, underground systems etc.
- Implement congestion taxes on the roads, which would indirectly make people, rely on public transport and reduce congestion on the roads.
Sounds like a Herculean task right? These things cannot be done overnight, coming years are to vouch for such changes and make driving a pleasure than a pain in India.
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