Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Class” Roads but “Classless” Drivers!!!

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The other day we had our first road trip after coming back to India. Deepa and I drove from Vellore to Chennai (around 140 kms) in the four line highway conceived by NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and completed by UPA government of Dr Manmohan Singh. 
We started around 5:00 PM from Vellore to reach Chennai by 7:00 PM and started back from Chennai around 10.00 PM and reached home by 12:00 AM. So had the experience of driving in the day and night on the same day. I must admit that the entire stretch of roads were fantabulous. Driving in few stretches especially during night, with all those properly installed and maintained reflectors, made us feel like driving in some best freeways of US. Kudos to government and engineers who made this happen in India. 
After we reached home we decided – if possible we will never again drive in highways. Why? Roads are “world class” but majority of the drivers are “classless”. You need tons of luck to reach the destination safely in the middle of this rash driving. 
When you are driving in such high speed of over 80 kph (50 mph) it is very important that you follow some basic rules. I don’t think 99% of those driving in the Indian highways know the 2 second rule and passing rule. This is the minimum you should be following while driving in highways and all through those 4 hours of my driving I rarely saw any one following it. 
So what is 2 second rule?
At any speed, you can use the two-second rule to see if you are far enough behind the car in front of you:
 Watch the vehicle ahead pass some fixed point - an overpass, sign, fence corner, or other marker. Count off the seconds it takes you to reach the same spot in the road ("one thousand and one, one thousand and two..."). If you reach the mark before you finish counting, you are following too closely. Slow down and check your following distance again.
The two-second rule applies to any speed in good weather and road conditions. If road or weather conditions are not good, double your following distance. You should also double your following distance when driving a motor home or towing a trailer.
But all though out the journey so many vehicles were coming so close to my car from behind that if I have to decelerate or some reason has to stop the vehicle there is going to be a big collision. 
Now what is passing rule? See the photo below. Through out the trip I saw vehicles overtaking as shown in the left figure which is highly dangerous. It may take one more second to overtake in the right way as shown in the right figure but I am not sure why they don’t want to take that extra pain.
One the way back, we saw a lorry with NO lights parked in one of the lanes in the highways. There was no way I can stop the car after spotting that lorry and luckily for us the other lane was empty and averted an accident. Drive in the night and you can see so many vehicles parked in the lanes of the highways. 
It is not even worth to mention the lanes. Again most of the drivers don’t know why lanes are put in the highways. They have mastered this art of maneuvering the vehicle with exactly one half in one lane and other half in adjacent line. 
It is pity that we have some outstanding roads in India but cannot derive the full benefit of it due to some senseless driving by people using it.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who do you think we should blame it on!!!
The lack of enforcement of the rules and regulations.
The Drivers who lack the knowledge of those rules and regulations.
The Officials who allow ignorant drivers get their license.

Who would you think is at fault... may be the whole system has to be overhauled???


February 23, 2011 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Sarath. said...

Brijesh...on the lighter side...come to bay area, its not that different here :P. After getting used to the laid back AZ driving style..I have to refresh my aggressive Indian style to keep up with bay area driving. Here you can find gutters on road and people still going at 70mph...then there is that special CA style squeezing through the right side to make a right turn on a red light where there is no dedicated right turn only lane. As to changing lanes...bay area drivers have discovered the art of literally 'shifting' their car to the next lane in a second. Driving in crowded SFO streets where people from smaller side streets trying to squeeze into the traffic in the main street by blocking everyone is typical indian style without any honking!

February 25, 2011 3:44 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

I think it should be drivers alone who dont obey the traffic rules.

yes I have driven in Bay Area couple of times and I understand what you are talking about...

February 25, 2011 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have to blame the law enforcing agency for this problem. I would like to explain my stand. Someone goes to Gulf Countries; they do follow all the traffic rules of the respective countries. If they are not aware of it, they would take the help of experienced drivers in those countries. Meaning, they are worried about the punishment in those countries.

March 22, 2011 9:33 AM  

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