Saturday, November 27, 2004
PROBABLY, Uttar Marg is one of the most traffic-free roads in Chandigarh. It is also one of the widest, best maintained and best lit roads. Yet, it can also be one of the most dangerous roads simply because drivers and riders do not follow the rules of the road. Even if they do know the rules, they choose to ignore simple road rules and etiquette and put themselves and all other road users at peril.
The stretch of Uttar Marg in front of the Rock Garden entry, the entry to the High Court and the point that leads to Sector 4 can be extremely dangerous.
The reason is ignorance of road rules. Vehicles coming from the lake-side and wanting to go to the High Court turn in a 100 metres or more before its entrance. This means that a vehicle going towards the lake has traffic coming head on, and from the left and the right side. This is an extremely dangerous situation created unknowingly by drivers.
There is a solid yellow line along Uttar Marg. The yellow line should not be crossed. Yet we have drivers not only crossing the yellow line but cutting it. This is not allowed. If you did this in Europe or North America where rules are obeyed, you would be challaned, fined heavily and could even lose your licence.
Drivers should understand why there’s a yellow line at this junction. It means that you must not cut across traffic by doing a right turn if you are coming from the lake side. The proper procedure should be as follows:
Go all the way to the roundabout on Jan Marg, do an aboutturn at the rotary. Now you are heading towards the lake and are on the same side of the road as the exit for the High Court. Take the slip road and you will clear the road without cutting a yellow line and causing confusion and disrupting the flow of traffic. Other than preventing traffic snarls, you will avoid head-on collisions.
Chandigarh roads are extremely well designed, built and marked. They follow international norms. It is for the drivers to pay heed to them.
Now, if you were exiting the High Court road to enter Uttar Marg, there is a ‘stop’ sign. This is a mandatory road sign designed for your safety and other road users on Uttar Marg. You are obliged to come to a dead halt and then proceed. Traffic will be approaching from your right. You must give priority to traffic on your right whenever you join a road or on a roundabout. There are many junctions in Chandigarh with ‘stop’ signs. They are ignored. Buses, cars, motor cycles come shooting out of side roads without a thought about other vehicles on the main road. If you come out of a side road, the right of way is for the vehicles on the main road. Observe this rule and our roads will be safer.
Next, as you exit from the High Court road or the Rock Garden parking lot, a solid yellow line faces you. You must not cross it. The proper driving procedure demands that you do a left turn only. This will result in a safe and fluid flow of traffic.
If you do a right turn, you will be cutting across the yellow line, which is not allowed. The reason is simple, you will be cutting across traffic coming from the right, which can be dangerous.
Drivers must simply learn to obey traffic rules otherwise the administration will be obliged to build road dividers. That would ruin the broad avenue that is Uttar Marg. Remember, Madhya Marg too did not have a centre median just a few years ago. Removal of roundabouts and building of road dividers could mar the beauty of the city. The authorities, however, might be forced to take such a step to check irresponsible drivers.