Why honk when you can blind?

February 11, 2009

The Mumbai Police has this advice for drivers: Don’t honk. Using your dipper is more effective.

In theory, this is wonderful advice. Car behind flashes. Car ahead notices, and gently steers to the side.

Here’s how it actually works. Mumbai’s roads aren’t lit well, and the flash from behind resembles a Maglite in a dark room. Car refuses to move. I anticipate road rage and a few accidents before they scrap this useless suggestion.


One Response to “Why honk when you can blind?”

  1. Varun Says:

    I don’t think it’s a useless suggestion but having a good experience of driving on Indians roads (esp. Bangalore traffic), I understand your cynicism about the idea. I live in the Netherlands now and drive to work every day, covering several kms on the motor way as well. It took me few days to get used to the ‘dipper signal’ on the rear view mirror because we’re not used to it in India. However, in order to contribute towards a better traffic sense on Indian roads, this is one of the most important habits that we need to inculcate within ourselves which can come only with self-discipline and respect for fellow drivers, which, I’m sure will take many years but there has to be a start somewhere, by someone, don’t you agree? I’m quite sporadic maintaining my own blog but since I’m on the topic, I hope you don’t mind me filling in some more thoughts on this as a comment on your blog.
    Driving is more about an understanding with fellow drivers and respecting a set of unwritten rules. The traffic police should definitely issue guidelines about these since not everything can be made punishable. What contributes greatly towards respecting these guidelines is following a driving course where the instructor teaches these ‘soft skills’. I’m quite sure that the percentage of people taking classes is less than 5 when you see the number of licenses issued. In Western countries, having honked by someone is looked down upon and next comes the ‘dipper signal’ to ‘move out of the way’ because one is driving below the speed limit on a high speed lane. The infrastructure in India needs to get better if we want a better traffic sense but the guidelines issued by the Traffic police should be taken as a positive step and in fact, I would go far enough to say that they should have it as a public message on TV and Radio. We can forget about the cab drivers to start with but at least those of us who believe in bringing about a change, can actually start implementing it ourselves to set an example.
    Cheers, Varun
    PS: I’m sure I would ‘drive’ myself crazy once I’m back in Bangalore 😉

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