Grandma's Tales

November 12, 2006

A big “honk” for our driving skills!

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 7:36 pm

One more of our peculiar skills has come to world attention. YouTube now features video clippings of the way traffic movement operates on our roads. Interesting footage, there.

I negotiate chaotic traffic every day, still the way we manage to reach our destination without incident never fails to amaze me. I can understand what effect the pictures will have on people for whom a smooth-flowing, orderly, disciplined traffic system is a given. In parts of the US, if you don’t slow down before taking a left or right turn you are caught on video and made to pay a hefty fine. Your traffic violations are recorded and punishment varies from a re-orientation course in driving to a hike in insurance rates.

There is a method in our madness.  Watch the clippings. Traffic at this U-turn always stops to make way for the city bus – a healthy (life-protecting) respect for those drivers! Drivers also wait for a few vehicles to gather before they launch their attack on the road space. There is strength in numbers!

I’m sure each one of us has a method to get through. And all of them work!

The clips have had two and a half million “hits” so far. And the comments are worth a read. Here are some.

[1] What’s the point of honking?
[2] Really good traffic plan, everyone can go where they want:)
[3] We could learn a thing or two about their traffic laws. Damn they’re good drivers gotta give em credit for that.
[4] From a desi: huhuhuhu – i dont know why everyone is so shocked – this was a pretty tame intersection – i drive through 5-6 points that are far more interesting everyday 😛
[5] I guess the lines on the road are more ‘guidelines’ than ‘rules’… (Kinda like the Pirate’s Code per Curse of the Black Pearl…)
[6] This is multi-decision management at its best!
[7] Democracy at work! At the street level!

A lot of the viewers were too shocked to comment, I guess. In Bikaner, Rajasthan, I asked the driver why he didn’t stop at traffic signals. “You do that, the other drivers will lynch you,” he said.

A TV channel asked a couple of Delhi-ites how they felt about the chaos. “We learn to manage,” they said. “We got used to it.”

Just what I wrote in the previous post!


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