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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Running the Gauntlet

Driving on Highways in India is like running the gauntlet, it’s a huge relief when you make it safely home. Its almost unbelievable, about hundred thousand people perish in accidents in India every year. The Government seems to be least bothered, may be they think its another way of keeping population growth in check. Most Highways are still single roads, for both way traffic. Then there are all kind of settlements all along the Highway, Villages, towns, etc. No effort is made to stop these settlements.

The traffic itself so bizarre, on that 20 feet wide road you have the people on cycles, bullock carts, pedestrians, autos, stray cattle’s, you name it and you have it there….all going at there own pace, stopping where ever they want too, in the middle of the road. Worse, if u leave out the cars and mobikes, most of the other vehicles don’t have tail or the break lights, so u don’t have any warning when they are going to stop, you realize at the last moment that the guy in front of you has stopped moving, so either you hit him from behind or manage to cum to a screeching stop. The people, they walk along on highways as if its there neighborhood park. Night time its almost impossible to drive in those blinding lights from the on coming traffic, which are constantly in your face. Its very very risky to be driving in those conditions, for one I don’t drive at night, unless its really urgent. Majority of accidents occur during night time, not only due to poor visibility but also due to the fact that most of those truck drivers are under influence of alcohol.

A large part of the blame rest with people too, who have absolutely no road sense, they do all kind of stupid things, like running across the road from no where, the cyclists just turn without even bothering to look behind, and if by chance you fail to ‘save them’ and are involved in an accident, the local people will pile on to you, as if you are the one responsible for it, even though you did absolutely nothing wrong. They will thrash you, at times people have being killed too in this madness. Once on the Highway on a mobike, as the last truck passed by, I saw this guy on a cycle coming right across the road, there was no way I could have braked, I increased the speed and even went off the road hoping that he wud break, but he kept coming and finally…I went flying over the mobike, which got entangled with the cycle, stopped some 10 yards ahead, kind of miracle that I was in one piece, just my left hand was badly bruised, blood trickling from everywhere. Looked at that idiot..he would not move at all, shit is he dead….few people came running ..how you ride you killed him….it was time to counterattack…are you blind…you did not see what happened….being weak would have meant a thrashing, few jumped to my defense, amidst all this chaos the guy finally sat up and I left the place… Since then I am very cautious when ever I see pedestrians and cycles (the rural people), their behavior and those of animals is almost same, without any signal without any warning they will just do what they feel like…seem to be staunch believers in the nike advertisement ..just do it……Not only we need better roads, but road sense has to drilled in the minds of the people, If you don’t value your life its all right find another place to commit suicide but at least let the others live.
Tomorrow I am hitting the highway again, going to Delhi for about 10 days, I don’t know if I would be able to blog but would try whenever possible, till then you people be good. : )

29 Comments:

  • just started driving and just realised how stupid pedestrians can be. but anyways nothing better than blazing by the roads isnt it

    By Blogger nishu, at 4:31 AM  

  • Have a good trip Jackal and drive safe. I think it is hard to have order on the road because there are too many people.and differnt kinds of vehicles.all needing to go somewhere in a hurry.

    By Blogger starry nights, at 6:34 PM  

  • sooo agree with u jacks!
    Its such a painful experience to drive in india now!!!
    Its just plain frustating to see the complete lack of discipline amongst people!

    By Blogger Ekta, at 8:10 PM  

  • Its going to be difficult to teach road sense to Indians. Even educated people have no road sense, so better to not talk abt the rural folks. Enjoy ur holidays and have a great time.

    By Blogger Suji, at 9:44 PM  

  • oh yes .. and the thing that irritates me most is a bunch of guys/gals standing in the middle of the road and talking .. sometimes , i wish i can just knock them off the road

    and cars that wont budge an inch for a 2 wheeler

    By Blogger ~*. D E E P A .* ~, at 2:56 AM  

  • have a great trip ahead !

    enjoy
    tc

    By Blogger ~*. D E E P A .* ~, at 2:57 AM  

  • Good luck Jack! Safe trip. :)

    I know these long trips are kinda terrible. In this part of the world also the accidents are common but they r due to speed...high speeding & drunken driving.

    Anycase have a good time.

    By Blogger Has to be me, at 3:42 AM  

  • I saw a bad accident on the highway yesterday.both motorists perished on the scene and there was little that could be done.If only they were not in such a hurry
    have a good trip and drive safe:)

    By Blogger Maya Cassis, at 4:54 AM  

  • ooh!
    This ones a touchy topic for me!!
    I havent abused as much in one day as I did when I was driving in bangalore this time!!
    Its not the roads or the traffic, its purely the lack of discipline amongst people that frustates u..the lack of sensitivity towards another person driving on the road!

    By Blogger Anand, at 6:57 PM  

  • Rickshaws are the worst..sudden turns and brakes

    By Blogger Shikha, at 8:50 PM  

  • Take Care..!

    There was one oce an innovative road sign in Kerala, ironically..

    "Better be late, Mr., than a Late Mr."

    Regards,
    Srijith.

    By Blogger Srijith Unni, at 1:58 AM  

  • Well, delhi roads are even more dangerous than the highways....a person gets killed there every 2 minutes

    By Blogger Ganesh Ranganathan, at 12:07 AM  

  • If you don’t value your life its all right find another place to commit suicide but at least let the others live
    Yeah so true.....in the road many times innocent has to pay for the others fault....

    I’m mostly annoyed with this truck…sigh I feel like imprisoning each and every truck drivers....they drive so roughly gosh If things are in ma hand I would have given them one tight warning slap each day before they start ruling over the roads through trucks...Irritators....
    And also the boys in bike....huh the road is their only we are like refuge their.....wrong side doesn’t matter, wat matter is their speed they thinks if they drive lil bit slowly according the function of the road they will loose their dignity, they don’t look cool wateva.....they r the most jerk for me....and know wat they always prefer unnecessary competition with anyone driving bike adjacent to u.....avoiding all this irritating situation can make anyone furious....wish to have wings like birds so alteast u don’t have to face anymore road.....hehe

    So u busy in delhi now....works well, eat well, sleep well, feel well and many more....hehe

    Take care jack....Hugzz
    Come soon!!

    By Blogger Nitika, at 4:15 AM  

  • If you don’t value your life its all right find another place to commit suicide but at least let the others live..
    spoken lik an INDIAN!!
    but be careful u now now..!!
    peace..!!
    \m/

    By Blogger Manic Street Preacher, at 9:33 AM  

  • don't scare me.. im going on a hgihway tomorrow..lol..

    By Blogger Neha, at 12:34 PM  

  • "Driving on Highways in India is like running the gauntlet"

    you bet!

    By Blogger White Forest, at 7:41 AM  

  • have a good trip...

    I know...whenever we used to go for a drive on the bombay pune highway...I used to be amzed to see people stop their cars randomly and have a picnic there!

    By Anonymous chandni, at 10:33 AM  

  • come bk sooooooooooon

    By Blogger uttara, at 8:25 AM  

  • Hi whats happening at ur end?
    Bye

    By Blogger Boldnbeautiful, at 9:33 AM  

  • Hi whats happening at ur end?
    Bye

    By Blogger Boldnbeautiful, at 9:33 AM  

  • Hey Jack, did u check your mail? I think its just a bad luck that u had been in delhi for 10days and we still cudnt meet..hope you enjoyed your stay here...

    By Blogger Priyanka Mahanta, at 2:39 AM  

  • dropped in to say hello...still not back?

    By Blogger Has to be me, at 7:23 AM  

  • OMG!! How much i can relate to this post !!

    Being in Mumbai is like running the gauntlet..

    :))

    ..Me

    By Blogger Rose, at 5:02 AM  

  • i guess dey shud hav cameras installed and strict vigilance.
    but sadly the cops r behind bribes
    n people r not humane enuf to help

    By Blogger Ajay, at 10:31 AM  

  • Very cool design! Useful information. Go on!
    »

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 PM  

  • Hey Jackal.

    I completely.. COMPLETELY... empathize with every word you have written. In fact, I'm also quite sick of all the stupid people on the roads here in Delhi...

    I actually posted my feelings on Driving on Indian Roads on my blog at http://blog.gauravjain.in/index.php/2006/04/24/driving-on-indian-roads/

    Do check it out, and let me know how you feel !!!!

    Drive safely whenever you do!

    -Gaurav

    By Blogger Gaurav Jain, at 1:21 AM  

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