Born and brought up in India, I knew honking is a way of driving. In my first visit to abroad, I realised the world is far ahead than us only if we consider roads, driving rules, concern about noise pollution and anything related to traffic. European countries and the USA are so organised and structurally strong for maintaining road disciplines. There are speed limits mentioned on every road and any driver breaking that limit has to pay a fine. In Vienna, I saw different lanes for different vehicles. And to my utter surprise, I found a separate lane for ambulances. Isn’t it amazingly intelligent? The ambulance has no need to honk or create a noise nuisance to alert other passengers on road!! I said “Gosh!!! Are we Indians living in the ice age?” Visited Florence, where I passed through the very narrow lanes where only one or maximum two cars can pass through but drivers were cool, patient, driving without honking a single time! Rome too is so organised and I felt Romans are so civilised! When a physically challenged person was crossing the road, all vehicles stopped, waited patiently, let the man passed through and then they started driving. I imagined the Indian scenario- the same man would have been killed either by a speedy car or by honking from all surrounding vehicles. In my first visit to Italy and Austria, I realised what aristocracy is!
Should we always float the excuses of a heavy population? Should we not think how much we have progressed technically? Where the faults lie and how to solve the problem: the menace of honking?
Whether it is metropolis or any semi-urban city, on the roads you can find all kind of vehicles- two and four wheelers, heavy loaded trucks, public buses, three wheeler auto rickshaws, tractors, water tanks, pedestrians, cows, buffaloes, pigs, dogs and what else remains?! The funniest part is every truck has a signboard HORN PLEASE.
Now, the big question— Who has the “Right of Way”? We bold Indians dare to answer “ALL”!
We all move on the same road (irrespective of the road conditions), and everyone is in a hurry to reach the destination for a very important work!! No one can stop for anyone, every object on the road is treated as an obstacle and everyone honks and honks and honks till destination is reached.
Then there are people who neglect traffic rules. They stop anywhere without giving any signal, turn to left and right as per their wishes, take wrong routes and keep on honking to alert others that he is doing a wrong thing. Honking at traffic signals, honking near residential areas or hospitals, they just loose the sense while driving. We all know what happens on Indian roads. Many kinds of incidents unique of a kind too.
To solve the problem we must take some steps like:
- School children must be enlightened with all traffic rules including how to cross the road.
- Parents of the children also need to take the lessons on traffic rules so that they can guide and remind their children about the rules frequently.
- There must be some awareness camp conducted for “Safe Driving, Without Honking”. Educational Institutions can take the initiatives as well as other organisations also can conduct this kind of campaigning at least twice in a year.
- The government should set up a correct system to regulate any traffic rule violations. Rules are in place but the implementation is missing.
- Strict rules are to be implemented for drunk driving and indisciplined driving.
- Adequate laws against creating noise pollution are missing.
- Road infrastructure should be upgraded and there must be separate lanes for heavy and light vehicles in every city.
- Pedestrians are neglected. By developing footpaths and zebra crossings at every traffic signal, we can give them chance to feel safe while walking.
- Humanity is to be respected. Human lives are precious. This ideology can be developed through continuous training and awareness programmes. Every year India loses approximately two lakhs lives due to road accidents. This figure is pretty much than the lives lost during all the wars we fought so far.
- There is no dearth of intelligent minds but there is a lack of willpower. “Where there is will there is a way”. If all citizens work in an organised way, take an oath to be more disciplined on road then many lives can be saved.
- Honking is needed when drivers are unruly, impatient, least bothered about human safety and no respect for fellow travellers. Why we choose to be a honking monster?
- You build a stylish home to live peacefully. You choose a style for everything. Why can’t you become a stylish, disciplined traveller sitting behind the wheels?!
THINK. Thinking and innovation build a civilised nation.
Unwanted honking not only irritates others, but may also end up causing accidents. Drivers lose cool and it may result in road rage