Good Motoring
VIP brats are worst offenders
H. Kishie Singh

H. Kishie Singh
H. Kishie Singh

At the recently concluded Police Week celebrations, everybody agreed on one point. VIP brats were the worst offenders on the road, as were their drivers. Take a look at any VIP car. Black film on the windows. What for? So that Mr Brat can have a drink party in the market parking lot. A red beacon on the roof. What for? So that toll booth attendants or parking lot attendants can be intimidated. Take a closer look. Fancy curtains on the rear door windows and rear windscreen in complete violation of the motor vehicles rules. Every thing about the car is illegal; it should not be on the road. If it is, it should be challaned. But who is going to challan a VIP’s son, or even his driver?

It is an accepted fact in life that the offspring emulates his father. If a man smokes while driving, or uses a cell-phone, or overtakes from the left, or jumps the red light, that is what the youngster is going to learn and do. If the dad drinks and drives, that is what the brat is going to do. So who is responsible for the condition of the traffic chaos?

As you drive on roads built and maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, they post slogans along the way which are to promote safety. One of the most meaningful slogans reads: “Your behaviour on the road is the identity of your character!”

The accompanying photograph speaks volumes. It shows Vladimir Putin, one of the most important and powerful men in the world. He drives a Lada Hatchback, about the same as an Alto; he is refuelling the car himself and is behaving like an ordinary and responsible citizen. Conspicuous by their absence are hordes of Kalashnikov-totting guards, a convoy of vehicles to carry the guards, ambulances and more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin drives a small hatchback, refuels the car himself and behaves like an ordinary citizen

Compare that with one of our VIPs on the move. A dozen or more vehicles moving at high speed; the lead police car waving the aam admi to move out of the way. Nothing disrupts traffic like a VIP on the move. Where is the need for this show of strength and importance? Where is the danger? Terrorism is long gone. It may not be a bad idea for the VIP to move in a single car, incognito. Or do what Sadaam used to do. He had a couple of look-alikes who would leave his palace or office and go off in different directions to fool the baddies. It worked. None of the attempts on his life were successful. Maybe our VIPs should try this ploy.

There is another reason for chaos on our streets. Ignorance of traffic rules, or if the driver knows these rules, they are ignored. Two of the most ignored rules are stop signs. Cars coming out of secondary roads, join the main road without as so much as slowing down; never mind coming to a complete halt. They endanger the lives of a dozen people other than their own.

In countries where traffic rules are observed, failing to come to a complete halt could mean losing your licence.

Another road sign that is ignored is the solid unbroken yellow line painted on the road. An unbroken yellow line is the equivalent of a concrete road divider. Do not cross. Yet it is common to see a car with all four wheels across the solid yellow line. This means that the car is in the wrong lane and driving head-on into the incoming traffic.

This scenario is the order of the day on Uttar Marg on the stretch from the lake to the Rock Garden entrance. Cars coming from the lake and wanting to enter the Rock Garden or go to the High Court, do a right turn and cut across the solid yellow line. This is an illegal move and consequently dangerous.

To make matters worse, this area has become a bus stop, again illegal. CTU buses, huge tourist buses and an assortment of other vehicles are parked on Uttar Marg illegally. Tourists visiting the Rock Garden wander willy-nilly on the road. Confusion is complete, with road-side hawkers selling drinks, gol-gappas and other goodies. All illegal. Police and administration officials pass them every day. No action has been taken.

It is an oft-heard refrain in Chandigarh — cars are causing confusion on the roads. Cars are not the problem. The confusion is caused by drivers and by the utter lack of concern on the part of the authorities.

Happy motoring