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Old 20th February 2015, 23:46   #1
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Here I am, waiting at a red light on Paud road in Pune, and each and every person starts moving when the light is still red with 15 seconds to go. The guy behind me honks and yells and I point at the signal. He pulls over next to me and starts cussing me. The light turns green and and then we all set off. It was borderline funny.

I am used to getting stared at when I refuse to go through the red, but the willingness of people to endanger others for their convenience is growing. So is the indignation of being prevented from breaking the rules.

This fellow I mentioned was not angry because I had made him late for a life and death situation. He clearly had the time to stop and yell at me till the signal turned green.

My rule is that I give no heed to anyone's convenience if they have no regard my life and limb. I give no quarters to people coming the wrong way, barging through red lights and acting like an abomination to humanity in general. If I have a green and there are people are breaking the red light crossing my path, I blare my horn and barge through the imbeciles.

I don't blame the police.
This is a deeper problem. I don't know if an external factor like a large number of efficient, honest policemen can cure the issue. Basically because there can never be enough of them.

We are too obsessed with ourselves, our friends, our families, our colleagues, our clans, our castes, etc to have a workable association with the next person on the road. In our mind, he is NOT like us and does not deserve the same treatment.

I generally have no issues with people going the wrong way cautiously at 2 in the morning for 10 meters. But doing it at the cost of someone else's life is simply unacceptable.

I have no solutions, maybe shaming is the way to go. But for that to work, we need a critical mass of people needed to do the shaming, and we have lost that a long time ago. At the moment, everyone is shameless. The solution has to come from the people.

There has to be a way for the people to WANT to be NICE to each other.
That, I think is the key to this puzzle.

The aggressive and ruthless side of my personality prompts me the principles of the Panopticon.
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon ]

Its a heartless principle where the subjects are made to realize that they can be under surveillance at any time by a governing authority who can dispense harsh punishments. They can be watched at any time but they cannot see the watchers. The only way to survive in a situation like this is to assume you are under surveillance all the time. That's not healthy for the mind, and yes, its the telescreen from Orwell's 1984.

Applied to roads, this will mean thousands of cameras and millions of traffic tickets. At least for the first few years. You will have to live in the assumption that you can be watched at any point. If you break any rule, you will not know for a month if you have gotten away with it. The motorist will have to assume he is being watched and will tend to behave all the time.

Till he goes mad (Or maybe not)... I never said I have the solution.

In every country where the traffic is disciplined, the people are polite to strangers. They start with a 'good morning' and follow up with a 'can I please have...' when ordering their coffee or at the grocery checkout. I have my opinions on why it is so and I wish to keep them off this forum.

So, can we kind of brainstorm a possible solution?

Last edited by Aditya : 17th March 2015 at 12:49. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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Old 21st February 2015, 00:21   #2
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Braindead: For once act like your username Really. This once laid back city has a lot of lowlifes with easy begotten money to get into such antiques. Kicked out from the home by wife or parents in the morning, they are roaming around to vent their frustration on someone, today it was your turn. By seeing your two consecutive posts, it is clear that you are still affected by that idiot, whereas that creature would now be fast asleep under some cheap alcohol's influence.

In such cases, take comfort in the fact that you can any day stoop down to his level, or even lower. But no matter how he wishes, he could never rise to ours. Relax.
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Old 21st February 2015, 00:36   #3
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

I don't care for the fellow's cussing. I actually found it funny he had the time to do it properly when he was in such a hurry.

These are a few years of observations that are tumbling out. Its a struggle to commute safely and in peace. Selfishness makes me, and I suppose most of the people out there angry but for some reason, it seems to be acceptable on the road. Our manners are divorced from our road sense.
Or rather, our manners are divorced from our brains. Things have got to change somehow.
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Old 21st February 2015, 01:09   #4
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Braindead: The only way to make a large set of people follow rules is by enforcement of rules. I find similar attitudes during red-light stops in Bangalore. The issue was not that you followed a rule, the issue was that you were the only ONE (or one of the few) doing it and hence you were penalized.

In Bangalore when there are traffic constable at signals, motorist stop behind stop line, or make an effort to reverse if they have stopped beyond the stop line. Am sure that its not being done due to the goodness of their heart

So yes, millions of cameras and tickets for a few years will definitely ensure that there is a better traffic sense amongst road users in India. Until then, when in Rome..
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Old 21st February 2015, 01:09   #5
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

I agree with ani_meher,

Sometimes it happens that you end up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Have you noticed Ashok L. truck drivers with TN number plates in MH. You behave the worst with them but they do not react, and keep on peacefully, like a Sadhu stage.

May be this is like graduation in driving, when things become so normal for you.

Also you can enjoy it by acting silly.

I did it once. Highway 401 west had some construction going at Young street.
Imagine a sea of cars in front crawling at zero.

There was a lady behind, constantly honking. I maintained more front distance and kept to myself.

She enters the side lane when it moves and gives me a finger.
Now if it was a guy, may be different, but a woman, my first time, wow, I was laughing.
She could go nowhere, and it turned out to be fun.
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Old 21st February 2015, 02:06   #6
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Had anyone noticed, in the few days after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, there was much more discipline on the road? There are two reasons for that in my opinion: One, there was a mutual sense anger and a sense of being part of a single community of Indians. And Two, the news showed the police checkposts in Mumbai where the police were stopping cars with guns drawn and pointed at the driver. That made us fear the police. Can we recreate the first reason but not the second in a logical way?

Maybe there is no hope and things will keep getting worse till we rival Somalia; complete with warlords, and every service or utility being privately owned.

Can anyone see a situation because of which the things can actually improve?
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Old 21st February 2015, 02:51   #7
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

We Indians by very nature dont follow the rules. If its not breaking the red light then it would be throwing stuff on the street. We need to embrace self discipline and as someone once said let the change be inside us what we wish to see in others.
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Old 21st February 2015, 02:59   #8
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

@braindead
This is an interesting everyday situation that a law abiding citizen faces. You are definitely correct in waiting to move at the right signal and the fact that you are making sure you don't put your or for that matter anyone else's life at risk by jumping the signal.
But then again you are in a minority and basic manners on the road are a common casualty on the road these days. So if you have someone on your tail whose like a rat in a trap trying to escape, give him that slightest amount of space to wiggle out from behind you and take off to wherever he is late to get to.
Having some idiot pull up behind you and rob you off your peace with his continuous honking just so he can go on and break a traffic rule then let him be your guest.
All I am saying here is that you need to accommodate the idiots on the road and let them go on and be stupid.
Agree with you when you say that the solution has to come from the people itself but not everyone whose jumping a signal is doing that cause they don't bother about the law, it may be cause of a genuine reason behind all that hurry say getting to a relative whose met with an accident or may be a doctor trying to make it to the hospital for an emergency. Though these genuine reasons might be the rare but definitely you can give the one honking behind you that benefit of doubt.
Just my thoughts.
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Old 21st February 2015, 03:14   #9
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by braindead View Post

I don't blame the police.
The fault entirely lies with our law enforcement. Traffic offenders should be taken to task. Slowly but surely things will then change for the better under persistent enforcement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushikr View Post
Braindead: The only way to make a large set of people follow rules is by enforcement of rules.
+1 Absolutely agree.
Its not about any particular town or country or race, the human mentality is basically the same the world over. People fear the law a lot in most western countries. They are careful to not break rules and end up getting penalized.

Its the fear of the law and consequences of not abiding the traffic rules that fundamentally will generate the road discipline among "All" the people.
The law enforcement can't just leave it to the people to do what they like and have a situation where some(self-initiated) abide and some don't abide. All need to abide and the only way to make "All" abide is by enforcement.

Rule abiding behaviour eventually will become a way of life under consistent enforcement. Polite behaviour will happen when there is more road discipline, lane driving and better predictability of the fellow road users, using common sense and giving way and less stress.

In our current situation, we have everybody on the road trying to outsmart the other in getting ahead (eventually just ahead by a few vehicles ahead and not really gaining anything) and sliding into every nook gap and driving zig-zag crossing lanes in between vehicles. People are in great hurry and under great stress, any trace of politeness will disappear in such conditions.

There may be shortage (No of policemen, funds/CCTVs/ infrastructure etc) in our law enforcement that might hinder effective enforcement. But they have to start somewhere with and use what is available and make enforcement as effective as possible throughout the country. People should fear and think twice before committing traffic offences.

Last edited by for_cars1 : 21st February 2015 at 03:42.
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Old 21st February 2015, 08:06   #10
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

The Technology is there , just that it needs to be enforced.

Fix speed cameras at all Signal lights that auto click violators and send them fine notification for jumping signals.

Not everyone will get caught , but it will sure tackle the problem.

Someone needs to start a petition / blog / tweet to get the Govt to do this.
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Old 21st February 2015, 08:33   #11
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by braindead View Post
My rule is that I give no heed to anyone's convenience if they have no regard my life and limb. I give no quarters to people coming the wrong way, barging through red lights...
If I have a green and there are people are breaking the red light crossing my path, I blare my horn and barge through the imbeciles.
...
I don't blame the police.
...
I generally have no issues with people going the wrong way cautiously at 2 in the morning for 10 meters.
...
There has to be a way for the people to WANT to be NICE to each other.
That, I think is the key to this puzzle.
I don't quite understand the purpose of this thread.

If this is one more of those rant threads about how badly everyone else drives in your city (in this case, Pune), well, there are two threads open for that already.
1. (No one looks at Traffic Signals in Pune) ; and
2. (Pune : Roads, traffic conditions, route queries and other assorted rants.)

On the one hand, you advocate breaking the law at 2 am (but apparently not at 2 pm), and on the other, you don't blame the police for not enforcing traffic laws. You want people in general to want to be nice. Who doesn't?

Unless you have any path-breaking suggestion to bring forth the milk of human kindness in every kindred soul in Pune - even the whole country - who drives, I think it would be a marvellous idea to merge this thread into either of the two threads above and continue discussions there. Moderators kindly oblige.
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Old 21st February 2015, 08:43   #12
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Unfortunately I have seen in Pune even the traffic cops urge you to move before the light turns green on many instances. Even the left turs that are not free are taken fr granted as free and if you stop at such a point leaving your left indicators blinking, you get a lot of swear, honkings and stares from others.

On one instance my friend was near the shivaji nagar red signal on Ganeshkhind road. The signal turned amber and he slowed down to a stop. One biker who was behind him brushed his left side and started yelling profanities at him for stopping before the light had turned red. My friend tried to reason whith him that if the light is amber and you have not crossed the stop line, you are supposed to slow down and stop. As expected the biker gave no heed to what he was saying. More surprising if the fact that the traffic cop present there was also blaming my friend. I am quoting Pune traffic here because I live in Pune. This is what happens in most places in India.

Problem I think is in the attitude and also somewhere down the line civic sense of Indians. People are not bothered on how their actions may affect others. We will stop on the middle of the road to drop and pick our friends, not bothered about whether it is right to stop there or not. We will try to save some time by wrongly overtaking, driving on the wrong side of roads, jumping red lights etc. but wont leave 5 minutes early from home. If there is a railway crossing, we will make sure that on both sides of the railway gate we will form multiple lanes completely blocking the road and when the gate finally opens we will take hours to clear the resulting traffic jam. We will block lifts and wait for the entire family to get dressed and join without bothering to realise others might be calling the same lift too.. and the list goes on.

What can be done? How can we improve collectively? Sadly I have no idea or solution.

Last edited by vibbs : 21st February 2015 at 08:46.
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Old 21st February 2015, 09:09   #13
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I don't quite understand the purpose of this thread.
....

On the one hand, you advocate breaking the law at 2 am
....

Unless you have any path-breaking suggestion to bring forth the milk of human kindness in every kindred soul in Pune - even the whole country - who drives,
....
The point is to try to understand if a workable solution is even possible.

About the 2am - 2pm thing: There is no way I am advocating one kind of illegality over another. The point I am trying to make is that there is nuance even in breaking the rules. One cannot be an absolutist. The same illegal act can have a very different impact based on factors like the time of the day.

I have no solution. The people being nice to each other, is probably the direction from which the solution will come in my opinion.
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Old 21st February 2015, 09:37   #14
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

The topic of discussion is quite interesting.
I have often faced this in Kolkata. I'm standing at a signal (unmanned) waiting for the light to turn green. A large and bus with all sorts of battle scars (including torn metal at the sides) comes up behind me and starts honking. I move a bit to let him pass, and keep standing. Seeing me at the signal, a car stops beside me. The driver carefully checks if there is a camera installed. Then he cautiously accelerates and moves on.

Because traffic law enforcement is a joke in this country, everyone thinks that the road is a free for all zone till you get caught. People do not realize that the trouble they might have to go through if they crash their car/bus/truck while jumping a signal is far higher than the 1 minute they would waste by waiting for the light to change.

This might sound really unprofessional, but I have been advised to not stop at signals which are being ignored by other road users- the reason is that a lot of vehicles come at a very high speed and can rear end the vehicle that I'm traveling in. It hurts me to do this, but in the interest of personal safety I have to behave like the rest of the drivers.
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Old 21st February 2015, 10:18   #15
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Default Re: Am I the only idiot here to wait at a red light?

@Braindead : I can totally identify with your frustration. I go through that everyday at most signals I encounter on my way in Chennai. Mind you these are some of the busiest junctions and people honk or gesture to dart through. I feel they are just using our kind as a shield just in case a vehicle comes across.

At chennai, if the TTs and SUVs had larger wheels and ground clearance they would devour the humble law abiding folks here. Its not just the cab drivers here. They are just 1/3rd of the lot who do this. Most times, I put on my hazard lamps and pull over to the corner most lane that would enable me to stop for a red light and drive through without obstructing traffic. This is not in the best interest of lane discipline however the lesser danger must be considered.

I've even approached the traffic cops with this and no prizes for the guess, he says why stop the flow of traffic when nothing(accident) can happen. I insist that's wrong logic and he says, "manpower saaaar" !!

As long as there is no personal discipline and the courage to stand ground for the right thing, we'd be bullied into such situations and even cops wouldn't help.

Last edited by no_boundaries : 21st February 2015 at 10:25.
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