Good motoring
Of good road manners
H. Kishie Singh

From parking woes to overtaking, drivers must take the responsibility for the way they behave on road and off it

H. Kishie Singh When Solomon the Wise said there is a time and place for everything, he did not own a car and had not faced the problem of parking. In Chandigarh, the issue of parking has assumed alarming proportions to the extent that it even inhibits people from going to their favourite shops. Shop owners are also facing dwindling footfalls.

The Chandigarh Administration has talked about underground parking and high-rise parking but it is all talk, no action. Things are likely to get much worse before they get any better. And who is to blame? We are all quite happy to throw darts at the administration for not providing sufficient parking. Have we ever stopped to think who is at the heart of the parking proble? It’s the driver.

Indian drivers don't park, they simply abandon their vehicles. It is indiscipline and an attitude that shows the driver has no respect for another person, his car and his comfort and his rights.

The accompanying photographs says it all. A Maruti Alto, one of the smallest cars on our roads, is occupying the space meant for five cars. Another car is parked in the corridor. Corridors are meant for pedestrians, not for parking. But who is to tell these indisciplined drivers how and where to park? Who will educate them on how to respect the fact that other people too have a right to space? Sharing is the order of the day.

What is required is a very large dollop of good manners and social etiquette.

The first lesson is that one should not obstruct other cars while parking. Give way to ambulance, fire and police vehicles. You should also give way to traffic on your right and this is a must while entering a roundabout. The car on your right is already in the round about, if you don't let him exit, it is you who will be creating the traffic snarl.

While entering a roundabout, keep to your lane. Keep to the extreme left lane for left turn, the centre lane to go straight and the right hand lane to go right or straight in case you are already in the roundabout traffic. It's amazing how we pick up bad habits. Our roads are two-three and, in some cases, four lanes. Chandigarh Police has been emphasising lane driving. What applies in the city is even more important on the high-speed expressways. No car should be in the extreme right hand lane, except for overtaking. If you are in the centre lane and someone attempts to overtake, courtesy, decency, good road manners demand that you take your foot off the accelerator pedal. This will slow you down for just a fraction of a moment, allowing a safe overtake.

Do we do this? No, we do not! The ego of the male chauvinist screams, “Who is he to overtake me!” So he speeds up and a race ensues. Nothing could be more dangerous. Two cars hurtling down the highway, side by side at high speed. It is a disaster in the making. If the overtaker refuses to give way, good sense should prevail. The driver of the overtaking vehicle should fall back and wait for a more opportune moment. This is one of the most important rules of defensive driving. Avoid trouble makers. In case the overtake has been executed successfully, move back into the centre lane, leave the overtake lane vacant for a faster car. Another problem could arise. Since you are in the overtake lane, the centre lane could be vacant. Don't depend on it. Some fool hardy driver will attempt to overtake you on the left. This is where the left outside rear-view mirror, (ORVM) comes in handy. Check the left ORVM before changing lanes.The two ORVMs plus the interior rear-view mirror are the most effective safety fitments on the car.

They are not for cosmetic purposes. The manufacturer fits them on your car for your safety. Good road manners and safety go hand and hand. Good Motoring.