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Old 13th November 2018, 13:13   #1
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Default The Futility of Hasty Driving

All of us have experienced rash drivers. Some can be merely annoying while others can put lives at risk. Keeping aside the frightening prospect of accidents, I have decided to narrate one such experience, which though initially frustrating, turned out to be quite amusing at the end of it all.

In its abridged form, I see the futility of aggressive driving all the time in the city. Every day on my way to work, I encounter drivers of taxis, tempos, SUVs, luxury cars trying to nudge ahead of crawling traffic by driving in the wrong lane, trying to squeeze into non existent gaps or generally trying to tailgate their way into intimidating you. None of it eventually works. At the next bottleneck or traffic signal, you will find all those chaps gathered together as if for a satsang. This behaviour reached laughable proportions on one of my outstation trips.

A few years back my wife and I were driving back from Madikeri to Bangalore, at the culmination of a long weekend. Expectedly, traffic was heavy and moving at a steady, if not slow pace. Somewhere after Kushalnagar, an enthusiastic man of what appeared to be about 40 years of age started tailgating and flashing his lights at us. The vehicle was a battered, poorly maintained Palio. At the next available opportunity I moved left and allowed him to overtake us. From there on, till visibility permitted (and it was very good), I could see him meandering through traffic like a snake, overtaking everything in his path, or ‘leaving everything in its dust’ as the more poetic would say.

After a while, traffic slowed down considerably near Mysore and I spotted what I suspected was the same entitled pradhan-mantri-ka-PA trying his best to somehow cut through traffic like Pacman. Yes, there was no mistaking. Palios are a rare sight and the battered condition gave it away conclusively. This time I tried to get a good look at the fella. He looked clearly upset and was smoking like one of those misery inflicted characters from 80s parallel cinema. “Seene mein jalan….” and all that. Quite natural when you smoke on a hot day inside a car. Somehow he did manage to get ahead of the logjam, in a way that is possible only if your car is flexible or if you are utterly shameless. This time I noted one more identifier. He had a “Coorg Boy” sticker pasted on the trunk along with one of those Coorg Wildlife Society stickers that you can see on cars in this region. I shuddered to think what a threat he will actually be to wildlife if he is driving through the Bandipur forest at night.

Anyone familiar with this part of the country knows that after Mysore the highway is more like a city road with all those towns along the way. We trundled along to Mandya and I was half expecting Coorg Boy to be huffing and puffing at the main crossing which had by now accumulated into a traffic mess. And what do I see? Coorg Boy is right there, struggling behind a lorry!! This time he was not smoking, but grimacing nevertheless. His highness just could not fathom why traffic kept getting in his way. Then came Maddur, then Channapatna and then Ramnagara. Coorg boy darted away each time the traffic cleared, nudging away and scaring away vehicles. By now I had joked to my wife that we will see Coorg Boy even at Silk Board junction. And boy, the mother of all coincidences (or maybe not), there was Coorg Boy right there at Silk Board junction with us. He looked defeated and had even grown a stubble during this ordeal. I guess stress does that to you. Just kidding.

I am no sedate driver myself. But I don’t drive rash or endanger safety and I respect traffic rules. Here was a lesson nevertheless. Driving fast only gets you faster up to a point. With all the bottlenecks that we have, we eventually reach the destination more or less at the same time as everyone else. In a 6 hour journey the difference could be as little as 30 mins, and on many occasions, as Coorg Boy proved, not even that much. What is that 30 mins worth? I guess more than reaching somewhere quickly, it is about not wanting to be stuck in the same rut as everyone else. This behaviour cuts across the social spectrum. If anything, among privately owned vehicles I have seen owners of high end vehicles indulge in this more than others. The prevailing belief seems to be that if you are slow or stuck behind traffic, you are stupid or docile or both, and since I drive a big, expensive, angry faced SUV, I am neither.

PS: Today while driving to work, I encountered another ‘boy’, no kidding, this time with a “Jatt Boy” sticker on his rear (yes, in Bangalore). It was a Scorpio, with Jatt Boy written aptly in horror font. The ‘boy’, too good for this traffic, decided to switch to the opposite lane near a speed breaker to take advantage of slowed down traffic. He had to do this at considerable speed and in the process he underestimated the monstrosity of the Bangalore bump. The Scorpio levitated in the air a few inches and landed with a sickening thump, like a hippopotamus landing on a tin roof. It stood motionless as I crossed it. Pedestrians wondered what had happened. All was well. No lesson learnt though, I am quite sure.
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Old 13th November 2018, 13:47   #2
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Oh man, what an apt thread. Forget the highways where at least you may have a chance of pulling away from a vehicle after overtaking it, wonder why people in cities honk and are so desperate to overtake at traffic signals, only to stop along with the same set of vehicles at the next one?! Serious idiocy!

I remember one junction where a hero in a car with a female passenger was honking away at another car with a lady driver just in front of him. The light was red, so I don't know what he wanted the car in front to do. Now, this is pretty normal for Bangalore, but what was scary and different was that hero-boy was getting really angry for some reason, and I could see him removing his seat belt and getting ready to get out of the car to presumably go to the car in front and confront the driver. I was on my bike and I had made up my mind to get involved if he did get out (my wife drives solo too and I'd hate the thought of some macho idiot getting in her face on the road). But fortunately his lady friend restrained him. The light turned green and both cars went off without incident.

Now, whatever the provocation may have been (and I'm guessing it must have been something trivial as being cut off, hero-boy getting late for some latte appointment or a Sallu-bhai movie), is it worth this sort of aggro?

Last edited by am1m : 13th November 2018 at 13:57.
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Old 13th November 2018, 14:17   #3
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Ok, so there are times when a good aggressive cab driver or, even better, auto driver, can get us to a train we might otherwise have missed. Taking every opportunity to get ahead by a car or two can add up. Yes, only to a few minutes, but, occasionally, they can be vital minutes.

On the other hand, just trying to bully the car ahead out of the way, whilst it seems to give some satisfaction to the entitlement urge of those drivers, is not so effective. Reading the road is what works, but their road ends at the car in front.

The failure to read the road as far as possible can leave these drivers stuck behind stationary vehicles, or right-turning traffic while the rest of us sail smoothly ahead without stress.

Last edited by GTO : 14th November 2018 at 07:50. Reason: As requested
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Old 13th November 2018, 14:37   #4
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

The opposite of what you refer to as "Hasty driving" is Smooth driving.

It's a well known fact that Smooth driving gets you to your destination MUCH FASTER than the "Shoot, Brake, Twist, Turn and again Shoot" (Hasty driving) as the average speed would be much higher.

When you drive smooth, you can anticipate a block and slow down so that it clears by the time you've reached it. Whereas the other person would have to come to a dead stop you may get through by doing 30-40 kmph at the same spot giving you a better average, better roll on, better pick up to your regular speed whereas the other person would have to start from 0 kmph and move on.

This is something that boy racers and some older ones never realise.
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Old 13th November 2018, 14:39   #5
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Ok, so there are times when a good aggressive cab driver or, even better, auto driver, can get us to a train we might otherwise have missed. Taking every opportunity to get ahead by a car or two can add up. Yes, only to a few minutes, but, occasionally, they can be vital minutes.

The failure to read the road as far as possible can leave these drivers stuck behind stationary vehicles, or right-turning traffic while the rest of us sail smoothly ahead without stress.
Yes, there is definitely value in driving smart. And not all aggressive drivers drive unsafe. In fact many times slow drivers hogging the fast lane can be a nuisance too. A lot of app based taxi drivers do this while trying to find the location or call their ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post

Now, whatever the provocation may have been (and I'm guessing it must have been something trivial as being cut off, hero-boy getting late for some latte appointment or a Sallu-bhai movie), is it worth this sort of aggro?
Such characters, often when accompanied by female passengers are eager to prove their manhood by displaying unnecessarily aggressive behavior. Not that they would be more pleasant at other times

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 13th November 2018 at 14:50. Reason: Back to back posts merged. Please use the multi-quote option (QUOTE+) while quoting and responding to multiple posts. Thanks.
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Old 13th November 2018, 15:52   #6
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

In a lot of trips I get absolutely irritated at these aggressive drivers. I would yield to them but since I have fastag the same story is repeated again as they are again left behind. This same circus gets repeated after each toll and I have see the same bunch of stupid drivers trying to assert themselves repeatedly.

If you are so eager to reach somewhere fast invest in fastag. It just shows your journey time depends more on the number and duration of stops during a long journey and driving on 120 vs. 100 will give you not more than 30-40 minutes on a very long journey at much higher effort and risk.
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Old 13th November 2018, 16:07   #7
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Well written. Apart from the above, driving uselessly fast/ rash also ends up making one feel exhausted both physically & mentally. Applies to both, the passengers and the driver.
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Old 13th November 2018, 16:35   #8
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Well written. Apart from the above, driving uselessly fast/ rash also ends up making one feel exhausted both physically & mentally. Applies to both, the passengers and the driver.
I have been at the receiving end as a passenger on many occasions when I have used cabs for outstation travel. The rash driving doesn't let my mind be at peace and the sudden braking makes me uncomfortable. Sleep, which is sorely needed, especially on business trips, always eluded me.
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Old 13th November 2018, 17:33   #9
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Ok, so there are times when a good aggressive cab driver or, even better, auto driver, can get us to a train we might otherwise have missed. Taking every opportunity to get ahead by a car or two can add up. Yes, only to a few minutes, but, occasionally, they can be vital minutes.

On the other hand, just trying to bully the car ahead out of the way, whilst it seems to give some satisfaction to the entitlement urge of those drivers, is not so effective. Reading the road is what works, but their road ends at the car in front.

The failure to read the road as far as possible can leave these drivers stuck behind stationary vehicles, or right-turning traffic while the rest of us sail smoothly ahead without stress.
A very real perspective. Never know what trouble the hasty driver is in.

Having done some observations on travel time on roads leading in and out of Bangalore. Every highway seems to have a set speed above which it needs constant speed corrections, lane changes etc. Going at this comfortable speed is easy on the passengers an added bonus is that the hasty driver can be over taken often at the next signal , that baffled look is priceless.

Last edited by GTO : 14th November 2018 at 07:51. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 13th November 2018, 17:51   #10
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
All of us have experienced rash drivers. Some can be merely annoying while others can put lives at risk. Keeping aside the frightening prospect of accidents, I have decided to narrate one such experience, which though initially frustrating, turned out to be quite amusing at the end of it all.
I forgot to compliment you on a story well told. Good points, nice story
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Old 13th November 2018, 17:54   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosfactor View Post
A very real perspective. Never know what trouble the hasty driver is in.

Having done some observations on travel time on roads leading in and out of Bangalore. Every highway seems to have a set speed above which it needs constant speed corrections, lane changes etc. Going at this comfortable speed is easy on the passengers an added bonus is that the hasty driver can be over taken often at the next signal , that baffled look is priceless.
Agreed, there could be genuinely urgent situations which may require one to take on some risk and get to the destination quick. However in most cases people are simply being jerks. And endangering safety of other vehicles and pedestrians is not kosher at all. A classic stupid behavior, and one which actually gets 'rewarded' is one where one drives on the wrong side of a 2 lane road, and after some free run, ends up blocking the oncoming traffic. Then another impatient stupid person at the end of the blocked lane somewhere ahead of you has now come onto your lane and now both lanes are blocked. The only way to break this situation is to let the original defaulter back into the correct lane otherwise the misery just keeps on piling. He now gets into the que, albeit much ahead of what he would have been.
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Old 13th November 2018, 18:51   #12
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Nicely written, @Malyaj. I think for many of us, it takes time to wisen up to this fact that hasty driving wont get us anywhere faster except mostly to the next signal or traffic bottle-neck. And to get there faster, we would have spent more fuel, more of our inner fuel of patience, and along with the car, our BP is quite likely to be running faster too.




On a more philosophical note, may be the same applies to life too ?
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Old 13th November 2018, 19:30   #13
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Ok, so there are times when a good aggressive cab driver or, even better, auto driver, can get us to a train we might otherwise have missed. Taking every opportunity to get ahead by a car or two can add up. Yes, only to a few minutes, but, occasionally, they can be vital minutes.
....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
Yes, there is definitely value in driving smart. And not all aggressive drivers drive unsafe. In fact many times slow drivers hogging the fast lane can be a nuisance too. A lot of app based taxi drivers do this while trying to find the location or call their rides...
Valid points. A contentious topic would be trying to distinguish between hasty driving, and driving at slightly above average speeds. Which many a times also appears aggressive. But people who maintain such speeds are often far less a nuisance than the slower ones.

Of course it's a very thin line dividing the two, but experienced members here can hopefully understand what I'm trying to say. Besides, present day urban traffic is anyway a great leveller; hasty, fast, slow, big or small
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Old 13th November 2018, 20:44   #14
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

Good thread Malyaj, the significance of these points never lose relevance
There has been some info already written in various discussion fora.

But alas, we continue to see idiots on roads risking not only their lives but also that of others driving around them, very dangerously.

As some of you might be aware, there was an experiment carried out by the Highway Authorities on the famed Pune-Mumbai expressway few years ago to find out real impact of time saved if one steps on the accelerator.

The experiment results revealed that the difference in time taken by a speeding car (>=120 kmph) as compared to a car with permissible speed(=80 kmph) to cover a distance of about 100-odd km on the expressway was only 8.5 mins!!
Surely, one's life is more precious than such an insignificant time period.
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Old 13th November 2018, 20:52   #15
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Default Re: The Futility of Hasty Driving

A very valid thread.
Same applies to driving above the speed limit too. The small amount of time gained by driving 20 above the speed limit is definitely not worth the risks involved.
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