Good motoring
Don't horn please
Motorists abroad pay heed to traffic lights and generally obey rules
H. Kishie Singh

H. Kishie SinghThe West, especially the Americans, have a wonderful way of entertaining themselves — especially motorists who stuck in traffic jams. To relieve boredom and pass time the bumper sticker was born. It is an art form, it is creative and it does serve a purpose. New York City excelled in these stickers.

Probably the first country to start rear-end slogans, the predecessor of the bumper sticker, would be India. ‘Horn please’! This has been around for a long time. Other slogans followed. 'Ok Tata' and 'Use Dipper at Night'. It is strange that the good advice about the dipper is ignored but the wrong advice 'Horn Please' is followed faithfully.

No one can accuse the Indian motorist of being creative. The first change in rear-end slogans can be credited to sarkari drivers. It was born out of an inferiority complex. As the Toyotas, Hondas, Marutis began clogging the roads the government officials were still being ferried in antiquated Ambassadors. Soon enough, the Ambassador came with power brakes. The world had to be educated. 'Keep Distance' and 'Power Break'. That should have been 'Power Brake'.

The New York City is facing a noise crisis due to excessive honking of horns. Thinkstock

'Blow Horn' has been drilled into us for decades. It is a bad habit that is causing problems for some of the western countries. In Europe and North America one of the commandments of good motoring is, 'Thou shall not blow horn!' It is considered a crime.

To an Indian driver that must sound bizarre but it is true. Motorists abroad stick to their lanes, pedestrians cross roads only at zebra crossings, they have instructions 'cross' or 'don't cross'. Motorists pay heed to red lights and green lights. People obey. There is no need to blow horn. Drivers and pedestrians are disciplined. That is a word we don't know. The New York City is facing a crisis. The immigrants from the subcontinent, India and Pakistan flooded the US. Their educational qualifications were minimum, just above blue-collar jobs but not enough for white-collar jobs so they created another 'collar zone', 'grey', a taxi driver. The taxi driver had the requisite qualification. They spoke and understood English and they could blow horn! Today they monopolise this trade and therein lies the problem.

The horn honking goes on, day and night. New Yorkers have never had such an epidemic. The Mayor and Police Commissioner are feeling hassled. What happened? Indians happened! We love noise! New Yorkers! Beware.

Happy Motoring!