Patience is not a virtue, but a necessity when it comes to traffic in Bangalore. Traffic is one of the worst afflictions affecting the city and there will not be a single resident who has not cursed the bottle-necked roads at one time or the other. Road rage has been taken to a whole new level in the city, so much so that it has even become the topic of radio programs.
An outsider to Bangalore may wonder what all the fuss is about; after all which city is free of traffic problems? Well friend, all you need to do is get behind the wheel of a car and start driving. In a matter of minutes, you will run into a standstill and be surrounded by cars, autos, trucks, bikes, buses and everything in between. Certain roads in Bangalore are famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) for its row of traffic signals. Every 50 meters, there will be a signal which stubbornly insists on remaining red, seemingly infinitely. The time limit for a green signal is so limited that they seem to disappear in the blink of an eye. By the time you dodge the hodgepodge of vehicles around you, not to mention the stray cows, dogs, and the drivers trying to insert themselves into the main road from inner roads, the light will have gone back to being red. Trust me, you will be hard-pressed not to rant and scream, or at least mutter a curse or two.
After having survived 16 lanes of traffic in Dubai on a daily basis, I thought I was prepared for anything the roads in Bangalore may throw at me (literally or figuratively). Sad to say, I got a nasty surprise one evening as I was returning home from office. We were hardly 10 minutes away from my house when we ran into traffic so severe, it deserves mention in the Guinness Records! Literally, nothing was moving. Bikes, autos and cars (thank God there were no buses, or else we might still have been stuck there!) were bumper-to-bumper all over the road, the sidewalks and even in front of the doorways of restaurants! Everything was so congested, even a feather could not have fallen on the ground. And following the ‘keep left’ rule was not even to be thought of! It was every driver for himself; it was like fighting to survive a war! Once we reached home, an hour or so later, I declared “Now I can survive anything!”
A few pointers to my fellow Bangaloreans so that we all don’t die of high blood pressure, surviving the traffic congestion of our city.
- When another person breaks the rules, it does not give you the right to do the same. Two wrongs never made a right and you are just worsening the issue.
- The red light on a traffic signal box means you are supposed to stop, not rush ahead at 50 km/hr!
- Let’s keep the honking to a minimum; everyone had a headache at the end of the day, not just you.
- Before turning your vehicle, check all your blind spots; the road is not your backyard and others are also using it.
- Drive your vehicle on the road, not on the sidewalks; have a little consideration for those poor pedestrians, none of whom have Tarzan-like abilities to jump between treetops.
Like any part of the world, our city will also have its share of traffic problems. Instead of lamenting over the state of the roads or cursing the politicians, let us set aside our selfishness and follow traffic rules which will certainly help reduce our stress, if not the size of the traffic. – Meera Meriyn Joy