Friday, 9 August 2013

Roller Coaster drives on roads of the Delhi and the NCR Region

The experience of driving on the roads of Delhi and Gurgaon would be for many discerning drivers an experience guaranteed to raise goose bumps, but then, isn’t every drive meant to imitate a roller-coaster ride what with the stop, go, skip, slide, twist and curve? And then add to that roller-coaster ride, the surprises that await you around every corner, spiced up by that gentleman behind you adding to the cacophony of a busy road by pressing on the horn expressing his displeasure at the slow moving traffic, if only I could sprout wings and fly out of the way!
The kind of traffic you would find on the roads of Delhi and Gurgaon could be composed of a wide assortment of modes of transport which would cause any road planner in the west nightmare! More often than not the driver would have to confront, slow moving bullock carts, mopeds, tractors, cycle rickshaws, bicycles, buses,trucks, sports bikes, sports cars, Beamers, Mercs, SUVs., and so on (The list could be longer than this sentence!). And yet…I guess we are doing fine! The presence of all modes of transport on the roads of Delhi and Gurgaon points out towards the  high level of integration that exists in our society today! I guess we could give the whole world a lesson in road management-especially in terms of the cliché-“Unity in Diversity!”
The skills developed by a veteran driver who drives on the roads of the NCR region would match those developed by formula one racers all over the world, and perhaps even those who batter stock cars to pieces! The art of stopping and going, twisting and curving, corkscrewing(I guess even that!) and accelerating from the inside lane (giving that old doddering slow-coach a shock) are all skills that are developed over time by the driver in Delhi and Gurgaon! I guess, the engineers have calculated the camber and curves of the roads so well that the centripetal and centrifugal forces of zig-zagging vehicles is  well taken care of (preventing these overtaking vehicles from flying off into space on curves).
On these roads, it is a plain fact that opposes all laws of physics that, smaller vehicles with smaller engines are Formula 1 racers as they have the ability to zip and zoom into the distant horizon, only to be caught, ahem, at the traffic light, revving and barely controlling their impatience. The more costly the car, the more careful the driver is lest his expensive car be scratched by one of the Formula 1 cars racing on the road! Well, and then you have those motorcycles, many of them with 100 cc engines managing incredible feats of acceleration often burning the tarmac, leaving strips of burnt rubber smouldering over the track leaving the more powerful and “faster” vehicles behind to burble in embarrassment. Many of these 100 cc motorcycles and scooter can manage amazing feats of acrobatics thrown in your face as their riders pull out the most amazing twists, a curves accelerating from right under your noses! “Caught napping?”-The statement belted out from those tiny exhausts.
Having a loud horn covers up for all the inadequacies of a smaller engine and cheaper engineering. Often while driving down a relatively empty road rather peacefully you would have been suddenly shaken by the blast of a powerful horn, often glancing at the side mirror to allow the huge vehicle to pass you, only to realise that it was a moped or a hundred CC motorcycle!  In many such cases you are likely to be confronted by the vehicle behind you whose driver seeming to have the idea that pressing on the horn would help to clear the traffic head of him does exactly this! The effect of that loud blast of noise is to drive the other drivers crazy! Somehow some drivers never grow up from that childhood stage when children resort to role-playing and drive imaginary motorcycle and cars with much “Vrooming” and “peep-peeps!”
Many cases of road accidents in the NCR region of Delhi result from rash driving, lack of a sound road sense, and lack of respect for other drivers on the roads. The culture of respect for other road users seems to be lacking in most of the drivers on the roads of the capital and the surrounding townships! While no doubt, stickers carrying the words “Don’t Honk!” on the rear bumpers of cars abound in large numbers, but then drivers continue to use loud horns continuously! Pedestrians who account for the largest number of the victims of road accidents require an understanding of safe road rules. Somehow many of us road users need to grow up from that childhood phase when we drove imaginary cars on imaginary roads!
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