Cup Runneth Over?

Driving has always been a passion among the youth. Riding those cool sporty bikes, going for a long drive in a Mercedes – it all sounds so good. It makes you independent, gives you the freedom to travel and so much of comfort while driving. All in all, it is an exhilarating experience.

But nowadays in metros like Delhi, is driving even remotely close to fun? I don’t think so. It has become more of a nuisance due to the frequent traffic jams everywhere and violation of traffic rules by most drivers. It is very frustrating and a waste of time.

The population in Delhi is increasing day by day mainly because of the large scale migration towards the city. About 10 years ago, there were 7000 persons per square km and now it has increased to 10,000 persons per square km. This population pressure has led to clogged roads, less clearance to drive on and more parking problems.

People have no concern for others and just do not believe in following any rules. Even simple things like stopping the car before the zebra crossing and overtaking from the right are not followed. As corruption is widespread, most violators get away easily by bribing the police officers. Due to this attitude of the traffic police, there is no fear of law, and there are no road etiquettes, resulting in complete mayhem at night. The most annoying part is that many people, in order to save time, drive in the opposite direction completely oblivious to the fact that they are disrupting the entire flow of traffic traveling in the correct direction.

Reading an article published in the Times of India, I was completely shocked to read about an incident that occurred in Noida last Saturday. A car hit a bike and dragged it for about 300m, resulting in the biker’s death. And the worst thing about this case was that the car accelerated after hitting the bike. It was a case of clear violation of the traffic rules; the car was speeding and overtaking from the wrong side and then it just rammed into the motorbike.

These incidents are very shocking and one has second thoughts of even driving in places like these. And yet such incidents are not rare and happen quite frequently. What I find most macabre is that people are becoming ruthless. They do not care who they have hit or collided with, they just run away to save their own skin.

With increased exposure to violence, the youth seem to have developed a very low tolerance level. They have very little patience and are the main participants of road rage. Drunken driving and driving while talking on mobile phones have become common practices. Inexperience is another issue. Children below the age of 18 are handed bike keys without any training. They are naïve and are not trained to drive on main roads and thus cause a lot of havoc on the roads.

Steps should be taken to control and reduce the accident rates. Discipline on roads can only be achieved by enforcing stricter laws and imposing hefty penalties. The traffic can be monitored by employing surveillance cameras. Public transport should be encouraged by giving concessions on metro and bus tickets as this would reduce the stress of vehicular traffic on roads. Rickshaws and cycles are major blockades and there should be separate cycle tracks for them.

At last I would say drive safely and if possible prefer using public transport.

Gautam Hans

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