We all use roads pretty much every day. The same roads that are constructed by the Government of India using tax money paid by the citizens of this country. In a metropolitan city, sometimes, to travel a distance of 3 to 4 km, you will need to spare at least an hour – this is a common problem among all the major cities in the country.
While upgrading the infrastructure of the city has always been one of the major reasons behind the never-ending traffic jams, we often forget that we, as citizens, also majorly contribute to making our roads unsafe for fellow commuters. Here are a few ways in which some of us are making roads unsafe:
1. Stopping Cars Beyond The Zebra Crossing: Since our school days, we are taught that cars must always stop before the zebra crossing. Zebra crossing is basically for the pedestrians to cross the road when the signal turns green for them. Unfortunately, in India, people prefer to halt their vehicles post the signal post, almost midway at the intersection near a signal, blocking the other side of the road. I still don’t understand the fact that if they have no respect for traffic rules, why do they even bother to halt their vehicles midway creating more traffic jams. They might as well jump the signal.
2. Processions Throughout The Year: We Indians love our Gods and our festivals more than our environment and fellow citizens. There have been multiple times when my bus was stuck in a traffic jam just because of these processions. Unfortunately, the people who were a part of the procession looked educated and well to do, yet multiple requests from the passengers to move their procession ahead did not help. Alas! We had to walk down midway because time is precious.
3. Under Age Drivers: These days children as young as 13 and 14 come out of their houses with vehicles and also try all sorts of stunts on them. This can be avoided if the parents are more vigilant.
4. Unlicensed Drivers: The number of non-licensed auto drivers in the city are unaccounted, most of the times it is these drivers who are involved in accidents.
5. Riding On Pavements: How many times have you seen bikers riding on the pavement during peak traffic hours? This seems very common in certain areas of the city.
6. Encouraging Hawkers: Both the sides of the roads, especially in the lanes near the railway stations, are often filled with hawkers. Pavements are also occupied with hawkers, which makes it difficult for pedestrians to access these pavements.
7. Driving In The Opposite Lane: Most of the times during traffic jams, we see that the drivers take the opposite lane and end up blocking the entire traffic. We simply fail to use our common sense and end up blocking roads, causing more unwanted jams.
8. Wrong Parking: We are really pathetic at parking. Almost 50 to 60% of our main roads are blocked due to wrong parking of vehicles on both sides.
How To Deal With The Current Traffic Problems?
It is true that we have sufficient laws and both the government and the judiciary are also taking necessary action in order to punish the wrong doers (using the fine system), which to a certain extent is helping. There is definitely a lot of gap that we still need to work on if we want to make our roads much safer for our citizens.
- Educate the citizens once again in their adult life about the importance of traffic rules and regulations to be followed. Conduct a mandatory training session after every 5 years.
- If the government can allocate at least one lane exclusively for markets in a particular area, the problem of hawkers would be resolved to a great extent.
- Make pavement accessible exclusively for citizens and do maintain them. Educate the citizens that the pavements are meant for them to walk.
- Do not encourage festivals to be celebrated on streets or prayers to be offered on the street. No God will accept the prayers if the same is offered by disrupting others. If our politicians stop using the religion card, a lot of our traffic-related problems would be resolved.
- Processions (including but not limited to weddings, Shobha Yatra, Visarjan or even funeral for that matter) should be completed within a stipulated time and distance, and in case of any inconvenience is experienced by any residents or pedestrians, fines should be imposed on the organizers of such processions.
- If vehicles cross the zebra crossing at a signal, their tyres must be punctured or their windscreen must be immediately broken because until and unless citizens do not face any serious trouble financially and inconvenience in their daily routine, they will probably never improve. For example: At Ghodbunder Signal, joining NH-8, the cops would hit the rims of the wheels hard if the vehicles crossed the Zebra Crossing, thereby startling the driver and helping bring in a lot of road discipline.
The above mentioned suggestions may look good on paper but tough to implement. However, it is high time that we, as citizens, participate in making our country a better place.