It would be an understatement to say that driving in Delhi and neighboring areas is a pain beyond comparison. I am sure almost all of us in the now “not so rare” car owner’s clan believe that Delhi’s infrastructure is to be blamed for all the tribulations that we face on the roads. There is only one thing that i have to say to all of you – “Get Real” (okay, i wanted to say a lot of other things, but i’ll keep that to myself).
I would raise my hand up and acknowledge that at least the government is trying to improve the infrastructure, even if its because of the 2010 Commonwealth games, but we will benefit anyway. But can we, the people driving the vehicles, guarantee that a better infrastructure in terms of roads will change all our insane driving habits. I am not too sure about it. I don’t really have to conduct a public survey to verify this.
There is no lack of driving rules in the country, but the inexplicable lack of their implementation is one of the factors that results in bad traffic situations. But who is to blame for this? The governing bodies need to take a part of the blame for being unable to enforce even the basic traffic rules in the country, but I think we, the citizens of the great country on India, are to take the maximum responsibility for the abysmal traffic conditions on the roads.
The way we drive our vehicles not only reflects the utter lack of respect for other people on the roads, but also reflects how insignificant we consider those rules, which have been laid out for us. It also reflects one very important thing, which I consider the root of the problem. Embarrassment. No longer do people of this great country get embarrassed when they do something wrong, and believe me, it’s the same with driving.
The official age of driving in India is 18, and obviously it is considered that before a driving license is handed over to a citizen, he or she is fully mature and competent to take the responsibility of taking a vehicle on the roads. The irony is that when I see people driving their vehicles, it looks no better than a bunch of 3 year olds trying to ram their toy cars into each other. So the question here is whether we, the highly qualified group of engineers, doctors and MBAs are actually competent enough to be driving at all? Here is a simple test that will let you figure it out for yourself.
This test is supposed to basically let you know whether your current age qualifies for driving or not. Anyone who gets offended by an unpleasant surprise should not take this, but I really don’t care. So basically you first take a piece of paper and write down your highest qualification on a corner. Also write down your current age below your qualifications. Say you are a graduate and are 28 years old. Out of those 28 years, you would have taken at least 17 years to graduate. Give yourself 10 points for every year that you spent schooling yourself into a better citizen, which in this case would mean a total of 170 points. For the rest of the years (28-17 = 11), give yourself 5 points each (because you are a responsible & educated citizen by then), which makes it 11*5 = 55 points. Now if we add these 2 the figure comes out to 170+55=225. These are the total number of “good citizen” points that you have in your kitty.
Now comes the hard part. For every driving mistake that you commit, reduce one point from the chart. A driving mistake could be as small as momentarily taking your vehicle in the opposite lane on a 2 way road, and as big as crossing a red light, just because you thought that you are the only smart ass wanting to get to somewhere quickly. Do this for a month and see where you stand in the chart. Remember that you are losing a complete “Good driver” year when you lose 10 points (or 5 points, for your working years). The aim of the game is to reflect how much have you gone back in time to your immature days where fun actually meant ramming toy cars into each other. The final count would reflect your age in terms of your state of mind and let you know whether you are even fit enough to drive at all. Do this honestly for a month and see whether it embarrasses you to know that you are doing no better than the people you often blame for the mess on the roads.
If the results of this test take you beyond the official driving age of 18, you should consider yourself a pretty good driver, but I am sure that most of us would reach our infancy by the time the test ends.