crude and brash – the Delhi driver
By Maxwell Pereira
Minister Man Mohan Singh’s speech writers deserve compliments
for at last introducing into his address crucial issues that touch
the milieu. Like his recent words at Bangalore on road user behaviour
in the country. They couldn’t have come a day too soon!
why he chose a southern platform considered comparatively more
law abiding and not the more aggressive home base here in Delhi
for his apt outburst on the subject, beats me. That there is that
much more respect for the rule of law south of the Vindhyas as
compared to areas to its north is not a new revelation. So why
the Bangalore stage? I believe we Delhi-ites merited more the
PM’s attention on driver behaviour a long time ago, and
more than anyone else in the country!
me about Delhi drivers! I managed Delhi’s traffic for more
years than I like to remember. To be realistic, for some may be
‘Traffic’ was always Delhi Police’s Achilles
heel in the past, and continues to be so currently – our
road user behaviour, visibly worsening with each new day. It should
not be so, one is inclined to say, especially when the top hat
for policing the city today was himself a traffic man once of
considerable repute. That said, suffice it to add, things would
be worse but for those crusading despite odds, and despite a people
determined to perpetuate the “traffic road user” malady
here through palm-greasing along their driving ways!
without reason the Delhi driver is often termed as brash, rude
and crude, immensely discourteous, erratic and aggressive. Reasons
to render him so may be legion – of driving environment,
infrastructure, sheer volumes and so on; but to be cussedly uncharitable,
I will give them the go by, while touching on just a few crucial
ones that have an immense bearing on the issue and need mention.
from the daily add-ons of fresh entrants in the city’s driving
scene, there exist over 4 million old driving license holders,
who perhaps secured their DLs earlier perhaps not through the
most ideal of means or conditions, from transport authorities
– here or any where in the country. All such are free to
drive also here in Delhi, and so it is the country’s “driver
licensing system” that draws first flak for being the root
cause of all aberrant driver behaviour.
has its share of ‘authorised’ drivers who come on
the road to take the wheel without the required basic knowledge
of the rules of the road. Armed with a “License to kill,
not just a license to drive!” a common refrain one is constrained
to hear often. So topping the list of most common driver faults
among Delhi’s motorists is their utter lack of knowledge
of basic rules.
no one knows what’s a ‘right of way’! Unless
of course he has driven abroad, where knowledge of the ‘right
of way’ is paramount, and without which you cannot last
on the road even for a moment. Coming next, an off-shoot from
the previous, is the Delhi-ite’s aggressive lack of consideration
towards the other road user, leading to bulldozing and cutting
into or blocking another’s path. This we do famously at
every roundabout and on every road each time we overtake from
the left to come into the lane the one ahead was already on.
from this wrong overtaking and the misplaced sense of one’s
own right on the road, all this invariably leads to a wanton disregard
to traffic signals, indiscriminate honking, obstructive/ unauthorized
parking, disregard to the prescribed norms in display of registration
number plates, driving without helmet and hazardous triple riding
on two-wheelers, and other common violations like non-adherence
to lane discipline, not yielding the right of way to fellow drivers
leading to road hogging, zigzagging, and other forms of rash and
negligent driving. The tendency to over speed beyond the prescribed
limits is rampant. Also a greater indulgence in liquor today than
before among the younger generation merits no less a place in
the list of overall compilation of driver faults.
regrettably, due to aggressive driver behaviour as I said before
intrinsic to the north, it is also the educated and the skilled
drivers (…if one were to consider those with valid licenses
as skilled), who tend to violate traffic rules/ regulations here
with impunity. Unskilled drivers who do not possess driving licences
are obviously not permitted and not expected to drive a motor
vehicle. But on this, just ask all those proud mothers and fathers
who bask in their under-aged offspring’s driving prowess!
All those traffic police messages cautioning parents on hazards
of minors’ driving invariably ending as water on a duck’s
back! I could go on and on.
should pay heed to the PM’s words said in anguish over the
gruesome reality of nearly one lakh killed in road accidents every
year in the country: “…we have to make road safety
awareness, both in urban areas and on national highways, a major
national campaign,” he said, adding “We must ask ourselves
why can’t we be more polite to each other, more caring to
each other, more respectful to each other. Good road manners and
adherence to road discipline are equally important”.
must learn road manners,” he had made plain, listing such
road manners for those who may have forgotten them…. “how
to give way to pedestrians, how to observe normal rules while
overtaking, how to park and when not to blow a horn. These are
simple rules but their observance makes a lot of difference to
our daily lives.”
Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002.
You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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