September 22, 2022
“Saipana de?” came the shout as I tried to cross the road with my 2-year-old. Yeah, I would love to die on the road with my son along!! Even before I could react the motorist had sped away. Those are the smart drivers of proposed smart city Mangaluru in the raging traffic with their raging hormones. Mangaluru has become the hub of many branded cars but with the etiquette fitting none of them. Everyone seems to be in a perpetual hurry, with none willing to give right of way to the other. A friend who travelled from Finland was telling her horrifying tale of her drive from the Mangaluru airport. She said the driver honked and honked all the way and even overtook a police jeep! That can get you a ticket in Europe, she informed me. I told her how Indians were very generous with the horn, from honking at cars, cows, dogs, cats and even the occasional drunk pedestrian on the road. Further on a road she saw a sign that said Accident Zone. She asked how can you drive further?! I was amused and said that the sign was a caution for drivers. “We don’t have such signs in Europe”, she quipped. Ah, just some of the risks we Indians take every day!!
With Mangaluru’s ever increasing number of cars and smaller roads, drivers as well as pedestrians need to be more cautious on the road. Driving a car comes with responsibility. Gone are the days when Mangalurean roads were deserted at 8 p.m. Driving anywhere is a stressful task now and one needs meditation in order to restrain from cursing at the fools on the road!! This anger is called road rage.
Below are some pointers that will help in coping with the traffic of Mangaluru:
- Always give way to a speeding vehicle if you don't want to be bothered continuously.
- Stick to your lane to ensure free passage of oncoming vehicles and this will not cause a traffic block. Many drivers use the right side of the road and this causes and delays blocks.
- At roundabouts/circles, drivers must pay attention to the directions in which the other drivers are looking to go rather than selfishly move forward and block the roundabout. Most traffic blocks are caused by this selfish and senseless attitude in Mangaluru. Everyone just keeps moving forward resulting in a traffic jam. Instead, using prudent judgment, drivers must let cars pass in a way such that ensures free movement. Remember, a few seconds delay in letting the other cars pass by will avoid a 10-minute jam.
- One must use a hands-free speaker to take calls all the time in a car.
- Always wear your seat belt. The passenger too must wear the seat belt. Both lives are equally important in case of a collision.
- Do not drive when stressed or unwell. It can affect judgment and can slow down reaction time. Slowdown in bad weather in case you have to drive. Drinking too affects judgment and delays the brain's reaction time by 8 seconds. Try counting 1 to 8- it's a long time.
- Know the blind spots in your car. Usually, they are the pillars of the car in front and at the back. Use rear-view mirror in co-ordination with overhead and outside mirrors while backing out, parking and changing lanes.
- Two-wheelers must never speed and must always stick to the left side of the road. Parents must ensure safety while considering buying two wheelers for their children. Be sure to know your children ride safe and not haphazardly like the young boys who love riding zig-zag on the roads.
- Use the horn judiciously. Everyone blaring their horns senselessly only leads to noise pollution. Use the lights whenever possible. When a signal gets green, be patient for the vehicle in front to move. Do not honk. Everyone has to go somewhere and nobody wants to stay on the road.
- Whenever you see pedestrians waiting to cross, slow down and let them, especially ta zebra crssings near schools, hospitals and such. Remember they too have the right of way on the road. ‘Saipanambe?’ is a rude thing to say to anyone.
- If one sees any untoward incident on the road, or wants to report rash/negligent driving or traffic rules violatons one may call 9480802303 in Mangaluru.
- Wherever there are pavements/footpaths/sidewalks, please make sure to walk on them and never on the road.
- One must not attend to calls on the road if one does not want his picture circulated on Whatsapp as the latest casualty of Mangaluru! Many people talk on the phone and walk blissfully unaware of their whereabouts.
- Hold children on the other side of the road and not near the traffic side. So the adult is at the side on which the vehicles are. Sometimes children tend to break into a run and having them on the oncoming vehicles’ side can be dangerous.
All said and done, pedestrians must have their wits around them, say their prayers well and sincerely wish that God be with them.