Keep Left

Today morning, I was going via this christ school road (Near Sagar Automobiles, Bannerghatta road) by auto rickshaw. Since it was peak hour, there was heavy traffic on the road. A car which was coming in the opposite direction suddenly stopped. Immediately the 2 wheelers coming behind the car, overtook the car and hell broke loose. One guy even banged the auto in which I was riding. And immediately started abusing the driver, who was at no fault. I had a crash course on abusives in hindi, kannada and all possible languages. Phew!

Its always easy to blame the government, infrastructure, politicians etc for the traffic problem. But if you closely observe, in most of the cases the culprits are the so called elite, literate and educated people. Especially the 2 wheeler riders. I just fail to understand the reason to overtake on a narrow road and block the traffic. Traffic jam results, tempers flare and everyone is put to hardship. Its almost a daily ritual to get stuck in Maruthi Nagar, Madivala, because of this silly and stupid 2 wheeler riders. I just fail to understand the hurry. In most cases, these idiots will be rushing to a pub to yap with their friends that ‘Bangalore Traffic sucks’. Or pickup their girl friend from somewhere.

The 4 wheeler drivers arent better either. Almost 90 % of the 4 wheeler drivers would have visited US/Europe etc. But they will be the first people to jump the signal, when the pedestrians are trying to cross the road. Needless to mention about the speed in which they ride their cars. What are they trying to prove?

If situation continues like this, irrespective of whether the roads consist of 2 lanes or 10 the traffic situation in bangalore will never ever improve. Before pointing the fingers at government, auto drivers, BPO taxis, BMTC Drivers these so called literates should think about what they are doing.

11 Comments so far

  1. XYZ (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 4:47 pm

    I agree that the general attitude of people is to rush and beat the others on the road in the ‘race’, but Mr.Prabhu, which category do you fall under? You were a passenger in an auto this time, but I am pretty sure, if you were in a 2 or 4 wheeler, you would do the same!

    The only way to get space on roads nowadays is to push your way through. Otherwise one will just end up staying stuck. I do think that we should stick to lanes and must not aggravate traffic jams, but the majority of the drivers are near illiterates and there seems to be no way to inculcate some road sense into them and most jams are caused by autos/taxis/lorries/buses. If only the cops could be strict with them, I am sure everybody would love to have some order on the roads.

  2. F e r r a r i (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

    I ride a 2 wheeler most of the times, and DO follow the rules. Getting stuck is a misconception. Maybe I get delayed by 3 to 4 minutes in a 30 minute journey, but thats ok :) And sorry. Most of the drivers are not illiterate ;)

  3. silkboard (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    You are super right Prabhu. These little tricks dont save you a whole lot of time. But most important, every person blames the “other” drivers for the ills of our traffic.

    It is a shameful situation on our roads. Orderly driving can solve most of Bangalore’s traffic woes today without the need for any extra inch of road or flyovers. But how do we get there? It is just not practical to police half a million drivers everyday.

    Sad that all we can do is to blog about it in our own ways.

  4. Cephire (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

    I completely agree with you Prabhu. The people who compare India with other countries that they visited and complain, are the first people to break all the law (am sure we all followed the law in each of these countries). As you rightly said, we save around 5-10 min by criss-crossing the traffic. Even if few of us maintain dignity in the traffic, at least some of the chaos can be avoided.

  5. manav (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 9:08 am

    I am one of those drivers mentioned here who are/have:
    1. Highly educated
    2. visited one or more foreign countries and followed law there.
    3. Drive here breaking rules.
    4. Changes lanes.
    5. Breaks speed limit if I feel it is safe to do so.

    I won’t be self-righteous like everyone and claim I follow rules. Given a opportunity I would love to follow rules, but the problem is Bangalore traffic doesn’t allow you to follow rules. My only defense is

    1. I have given way to more pedestrians than I have been given way when I am a pedestrian. (by a factor of 20 at least).
    2. I have honked way less than I have been honked at. (by a factor of 100 at least).
    3. I have changed lanes lesser than I have seen cars in front of me (by a factor of 1).

    Todays incident:
    I am at airport road driving, at a signal my car stalls once (around 40 msec time loss after signal turns green). Everybody starts honking as if I have blocked PM’s car brigade.
    This induces road rage in me, for the next 40 minutes drive I never gave anybody an inch of space.

    I agree, many a problem can be solved if EVERYBODY follows traffic rules, and I would be the first one to volunteer if EVERYBODY is willing to do that. But when it comes to instilling traffic sense in people I am not a leader. I am a follower.

  6. Ajith (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 11:53 am

    Changing Lanes:
    As long as there are slow-moving trucks occupying the right-lane, we have no option but to change lanes frequently.

    Speed Limits:
    The official speed limits are a joke. Anybody who has driven their vehicles over 80kmph anywhere in India has broken the official speed limit. If everyone in the city drives at speeds ONLY below 40kmph, the current traffic snarls will get componded atleast 5 times.

    Jumping Signals:
    There is no justification for not following the traffic signals. I wouldn’t jump a signal even if it is to allow a screaming ambulance (unless directed so by a traffic warden on duty). BTW, it’s also great fun to stop at a Red signal and see the frustration (and honking) of the BMTC bus / Call Center cab or even Police van driver stuck behind you without a chance to break the signal.

  7. silkboard (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

    Ajith – I try that a lot myself (frustrate jumpers at red lights). The thrill I get is too good to put down in words.

    Manav Sir, I echo all you said. I break rules, for you have to. One extra thing I do is to annoy people who break rules. A call center cab trying to squeeze in on the left, I eat some width enough to keep him on my tail. A lorry or cab driving the wrong side, I don’t give way that easily, try my best to annoy them.

    The way Manav puts it, seems like there is no way out of this hell. I can only think of each of us doing a traffic cop’s job for 15 minutes a day.

  8. Manav (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    I forgot to mention this trait of mine. Punishing people who break rules(according to me). Agree with Silkboard on this.

    I did that for 4 years, I gave it up 2-3 months back. It was not making much of a difference. These days I seldom do it (blocking people overtaking from left etc). Other reason is now with being married and about to be a father, I think time has come for me to mellow down.

    I don’t think what I did was wrong, just that I don’t have energy left to do it anymore. The baton passes to juniors.

  9. Rahul Narula (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

    Rules have to go hand in hand with infrastructure. eg : Situation Bannerghatta Road near Diary circle around 7 PM.
    I am trying to push my vehicle out of the building, Salarpuria Infinity.. I know as per the rules the vehicles already on the road has the right of way. Now if I have to follow rules & let the vehicles pass without inserting my vehicles nose in between the bumper to bumper traffic I am absolutely sure that I would be stranded right on the exit door of the building for not less than an hour without moving an inch.
    No matter how good I try myself to follow traffic rules I am damn sure that I cant convince myself enough to keep on waiting on the exit door for that long on daily basis. I will have to BREAK RULES, other wise it might result in another traffic jam right on the exit door of my building ;-)
    Thus I am not totally convinced on following traffic rules in areas/situations where I feel it is not correct.

  10. Bangalore Hater (unregistered) on November 11th, 2006 @ 10:41 pm

    Bangalore is gone…the traffic is hopeless. The only reason people are continuing to stay in Bangalore is because they have a job there. “Paapi Pet Ka Saval Hai”. There is no way to solve this traffic mess. You will only disturb your own peace of mind (if you have anything left of that :) ) by cursing at people or situations. The best way is to take things as they are. Someday this bubble(if not already burst) will burst. Nature has a way of solving its own problems. On the other hand, why cannot the government put a blanket ban on any more expansion of companies here? I think the Narayan Murthys and the Azim Premjis and the foreign multinationals are equally to blame for this traffic mess that they complain so much about to th Government.

  11. Sundar (unregistered) on November 13th, 2006 @ 11:02 am


    i still follow the rules, and with patience. 97% of times.

    the rest 3% of times though but i have to agree more with manav(but for the road rage! :)) and silkboard, that one loses patience with rash driving nut cases and esp. call center cabs.

    but again, as an educated, literate, elite lot, instead of blaming and pointing to roots and causes, if each individual driver tries to better himself in traffic with a wee bit of patience things would improve. for sure.

    it takes is 2 mins of patience. or max 3 mins. in everybody’s part.

    its a matter of self awareness and value for others. may be it would take time to change, but it will, for sure.


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