Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Driving You Mad

I was at the doctor's yesterday and he said something which made me think  . He said "In India, people don't value their life, you've been given one life and that's it". Its consistent with what I see when I'm driving. Most Pedestrians don't pay any attention to the vehicles around them. Cyclists and motorists don't check before changing lanes. If they collide with a car, the car driver won't get hurt, probably nothing more than a scratch on the car, but the pedestrian or cyclist might be fatally injured. For many of the pedestrians, one accident, one injury is sometimes all it takes to push them over the brink into debilitating poverty. If they are hurt or unwell, they can't go to work, they might lose their salary for a few days or even their job. This leaves them with lesser money to buy medicines or get treatment, and this delays their recovery which leads to more absenteeism. So its a vicious cycle, often very difficult to break out of.

There is a lack of awareness among pedestrians, but that can't be the only reason. If you see your neighbour get hit by a car and die, pretty soon you will figure out the cause and effect. You should be able to realize that you need to be more careful on the roads. Why haven't we evolved into more careful beings, I don't know.

Driving is like a car racing video game, you never know which creature might jump out from behind the bushes right in front of your car, and it is your responsibility to avoid hitting the target. Maybe this next generation, which plays video games all the time, will be better at it than we are. I honk alot, to caution people, because they seem to be solving some complicated maths problem in their head while walking in the middle of the road. Or they are busy looking in the extreme left direction while taking a turn towards right. But if the have headphones on, or music blasting from their car, even my honking can't save them. So I have to take it upon myself to be alert while driving, expect Brownian motion from the moving objects, expect people, cows, dogs to suddenly come to life when they see a car approaching and try to cross the road at the exact same instant and expect everyone on the road to feel that he / she is the blessed wise one for whom traffic rules and universal laws of physics don't hold.

Maybe the evolution is happening, the drivers are slowly learning to follow rules, and the pedestrians are learning to look before they leap. And maybe in my lifetime the evolution will be complete and driving would be a breeze.

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