The top 5 irritants on Indian roads : from honking to lane changing

An average Indian road is an irritating place to be in. Be it a biker, a truck driver, a car owner a cyclist, a scooterist or a “mere” pedestrian, it is a path full of uncertainties, dangers and at times, unintended amusements.

I have flaunted the statistics before, and despite this “holier than thou” attitude, the numbers keep piling up. So I will not tread the beaten path again. Rather I would want to discuss what is it that irritates me the most when I am on the road and want to know what is it that irritates you when you are on it. Here is why I am pissed :

* Too much Honking
I am sure I will get a fair share of people supporting me on this. Honking, and too much of it at that, is a problem. A big one. In India, people often think they will clear a traffic jam simply by honking their way to glory. Does not happen. What happens instead, is high blood pressure for some, road rage for others, and frustration for the rest. If there are any left, they simply turn up the volume. I think the last ones are the smartest and get home first.

* High beam
Why are people obsessed more with high beam than with Katrina Kaif? I will never know. And to be sure, I never use high beam myself. Good boy, see. I would rather obsess about Ms Kaif instead. A high beam has its uses. On a highway with supersonic speed traffic, and one way roads, it is the only way to drive. In city, with well lit roads as in Delhi, Mumbai and some other cities, it is a nightmare. Nay. It is criminal to use high beam. Or should at least be. On a double lane road without a divider, it blocks out the visibility for incoming traffic. And if you think you are well placed to adjust to any irrationality at the other end, you would be badly mistaken. And if both of you are competing for the crown of stupidity and driving on a high beam at the same time…it is a disaster waiting to happen. Thats how most disasters do happen anyway. Stupid is what stupid does.

* Lane discipline
They say, we are not as evolved. Lanes are a recent phenomena in India anyway. I would say…bunkum. Its attitude not evolution that matters here. By nature we are not content at driving in our own lane at all. So all of us are all over on the tarmac paying scant attention to the white lines on the road. And when we do necessarily stick to the lanes, for strict enforcement or divine intervention, and decide to change the lane–for slow traffic ahead or in that rarest of rare cases when we are really in a hurry–we never engage the indicators. As if somebody forgot to tell us that indicators are not meant only when you take a turn. So we have all the vagabonds zig zagging around in knee length traffic without a care about the number of near misses they have per day. And yet, if you do carefully notice…they never get ahead of you as much as two cars in a different lane. Thats the Murphy’s law for you….your lane always seems to be the slowest because anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. So the moment you hop on to the other lane, you slow it down as well. Keep hopping then, Murphy.

* Rear view mirrors
They have a purpose and are supposed to be used. Pity we dont realise that. Out of laziness or sheer callousness, I am yet to figure out. The number of cars on the road who never bother putting into use the rear side view mirrors is substantial. You dont need a University of Cambridge research to prove that. They are already busy doing better things in life like researching the colour of a nail polish or the type of design on boxer shorts. Simply roam around the city and casually note the number of cars with a folded side view mirror. Or those without one at all. Somehow to me, a rear side view mirror is more useful than a normal rear view mirror. It helps you reverse and also when you wish to change lanes. And yet, people dont use it. Some cars dont even offer it as a standard feature. Fie on them. Some do, but they need to be adjusted manually. That is okie. We dont have to be in a hurry always. We are not doing too much in life anyway. Some can be adjusted electronically from the inside. And yet, they are not used. Shame shame.

* Overenthusiastic bikers, pompous SUVs
The bikers?? They are a bunch of crazy people. They zig zag around, sometimes appear in front of you out of nowhere, and at times disappear too without warning. And in India there are so many of them. We have the second largest two wheeler industry. But I will not be surprised if we have the largest community of irresponsible bikers. University of Oxford, need a research on this, Cambridge is angry as it is.

So they make my life hell. And at times I try to give them back in kind. But I fail, always. I can still understand why they do it. Out of some sadistic pleasure that they are still ahead and having fun while you are fretting around in slow traffic. At worst of times, Dhaula Kuan or Peddar Road is a breeze for a biker.

But what is it with SUVs though? You are big, you are spacious, you are frightening. But you dont own the road. Not in the city anyway. Because you are heavy, you are also slow and no matter how hard you try, you cant get further ahead of my M800 from one red light to the other. So stop giving me those looks. I am scared but cant be defeated. Toe the line will you. Irritating.

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