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Old 2nd April 2013, 16:20   #1
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Default 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

'Road sense is the offspring of courtesy and the parent of safety' - Australian Traffic Rules quote from 1938 reads and I couldn't agree more. India is right there at the top when it comes to the number of fatalities and injuries in road accidents and embarrassingly enough, it has maintained its position for years now despite an exponential surge in the development and enhancement of road and transport infrastructure in the country. While there are many takers for the argument that the sheer magnitude of these incidents is merely the result of India's humongous population, highly dense traffic, illiteracy, life on a fast lane etc., I for one, blame it entirely on the lack of combination of civic sense, and much needed traffic sense (or road sense) among ourselves. Neither do we have any courtesy or empathy for the fellow commuters, drivers, pedestrians or vehicles plying on the road, nor do we have any willingness to go by the rule books. Heck, we don't even give a damn to our own safety (and that of our own people), forget about the rest. In that sense, it is quite safe to call ourselves plain idiots wandering on the roads with a license to kill or get killed.

I am not at all talking about drunken driving, or rash driving or high speed driving, or driving while on mobile because these are indeed criminal actions for which there are sufficient punishments (in an ideal case with proper law enforcement and absence of corruption) but these idiots demonstrate equally destructive mannerisms on the road which can't even be classified as violations under any law code. I have listed down 7 such habits of highly effective idiots on our roads which most of us, if not all, face on a day to day basis during our regular commutes to workplace, marketplace or places of specific interests.

(Note: My observations have been conceptualized and transformed brilliantly into the images below by better half)

* 'Me first' idiots

Oh there are just too many of this category. Right from the moment you take out your vehicle from the parking area you begin encountering those. Start reversing your vehicle from your parking block to the drive-way, some punter who is quite some distance from you, freewheeling at a leisurely pace yet, would suddenly rush the proceedings, honk hard and try to squeeze his vehicle past yours in a flash just to get ahead of you approaching the apartment exit. You wait at the traffic signal with your car positioned on the extreme right next to the divider, maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, some biker will first squeeze his bike between your car and the divider to get in front of you, in the process many times screwing your outer rear view mirror nonchalantly, and then on finding no place to move further, put the bike horizontally between your car and the car in front. All this just to make sure he gets to go first when the signal turns green. You go to some shopping mall or multiplex, at the parking booth, someone will always attempt to break the queue by taking advantage of the wrongly designed parking bays and / or pretending ignorance/hurry. Same holds true at the toll plazas, office parking (which these days comes at a premium), fuel bunks etc. and all this just to get that extra minute and millimeter edge over you. Inside the city, no matter what's the speed of your car on an open stretch, some pedestrian will always consider himself a cousin of Usain Bolt, and cross the road ahead of you absolutely unmindful of the fact that with the speed you are driving, your car can actually gatecrash his party. Its also a mystery to me why on most occasions people look exactly at the opposite direction only (from where no vehicle is supposed to come as it's a one way lane) while crossing the road.

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* 'My way is the Right way' idiots

These are in fact not idiots but true leaders because they don't follow anything or anyone. They make masses follow them. Hard to believe? Drive via some railway crossing having manned gate and see for yourself. On a narrow two-way road where only one vehicle can ply on each side of the 'virtually' divided dual lane, at the crossing when the gates are closed, both lanes of the road will be occupied by vehicles going towards same direction, and this magnificent phenomenon happens on either sides of the gates. When the train passes and the gates eventually open, both sides juggle to steer clear of the amazing mess that they have themselves created. I conquered the 'deadlock' and 'race conditions' related interview questions primarily based on this example in my career. I call them leaders because one will normally trigger the chaos and a whole lot of others will blindly (and sometimes deliberately) follow the suit. I sometimes wonder what's so special in the negative traits that people are so very easily tempted to follow them whereas the same isn't true for the positive traits. Coming back to the point, these idiots are found commonly on highways where tractors, trailers, dumpers, bullock carts, bicycles etc. would invariably ply on the wrong side of the road. If there's a 'U' turn nearby, the excuse would be that it's just 200 meters risking on the opposite side and hence pretty safer and justified to do so. If there's a 'U' turn far away, then no excuse required as for most Indians that reason alone is a strong justification to refute laws and rule books. Another example is your designated entry and exit points in office campuses, home apartments, malls, stadiums etc. where 1 in 10 will, in all probability, manage to scare the hell out of you just as you are about to enter from the 'IN' and his vehicle confronts you right there trying to sneak out as the 'IN' opening is closer to his parking space than the 'OUT' opening by 10 meters or so.

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* 'Hide-n-Seek' idiots

Now you must be wary of this category of idiots as most likely their antics will lead to fatal or near fatal consequences to either them, you, their vehicle or your vehicle. Never ever drive past hastily ahead of an intercity bus slowing down at the bus stop as some devilish commuters getting down at the stop will, 50 out of 100 times, try to cross the road to go to the opposite side, walking from the front side of the stopped bus. You will have only a minuscule of chance of avoiding a run-over incident in these cases. Similarly, waist height dividers are these idiots' favorite playgrounds. I have had frequent bad dreams of me driving on the fast lane and at some point, front tyre of some stupid biker magically appearing in front of my car from a small 'man-made' gap in the divider.

7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads-bus.jpg

* 'Center of Frustration' idiots

These idiots just love to be the center of everything at all times, be it attention or the roads. No matter which vehicle they are driving, they will always drive on the lines bisecting the lanes. You will always be left guessing which lane they are eventually going to pick. To add salt to injury, such 'center' mongers will always drive slower than the expected speed of the lane. Your persistent honks wouldn't budge them at all, in most cases. Once or twice I have also observed that these same set of idiots, even in the parking area, park their vehicles by totally dissecting the parking marks so that only one vehicle can eventually be parked in the space for two.

7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads-2.jpg

* 'Rush Hour' idiots

They prefer to live on the edge. These idiots can be commonly found during peak office hours, for e.g., 9 to 10.30 AM and 5.30 to 7 PM. Try commuting to office in your own car during this time and you can easily count at least 2 to 4 of them. You approach a crowded signal which has just turned yellow from green, plan to slow down and stop your car at the junction that's exactly when you find a couple of cars and bikes rushing past you honking insanely in crazy speeds just to be able to cross the junction before the signal turns red. These sudden events will eventually lead to a heart in mouth moment for you as they miss a side-on collision by a whisker. Next as you enter the narrow lanes of your own office premises, you will find another set of schumachers overtaking you to reserve a block in the limited parking space for their vehicles. Try confronting them and you get a sheepish response that they have an urgent meeting to attend in next 5 minutes. Many a times, they will also violate 'no entry' signs in order to get an 'ideal' parking block ahead of you.

7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads-parking.jpg

* 'I like to move it, move it' idiots

Bicycles on Indian urban roads are deadly to the riders. Wait, they are super-deadly to the bigger vehicles plying around them. Fast and weirdly changing movements of these will put the likes of Shakiras and Prabhudevas of this world to shame. In fact, honestly speaking, snakes and other reptiles move straighter than them. Many car drivers also do the honors here. On a two lane intercity highway if a passenger carrying small or big vehicle stops in front to allow the passengers to get down at the stop, the car following that vehicle instead of staying behind waiting for the vehicle ahead to move on, will change the lane without batting an eyelid as if it is the only vehicle on the road and all other vehicles are on strike that day. Outer rear view mirrors are non-existent for such idiots. They will eventually fall prey to either a head-on collision with the incoming traffic or end up getting T-boned by the vehicles coming from behind on the fast lane.

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* 'Short term memory loss' idiots

They themselves don't know where they want to go until the very last moment, or at least it seems so. Persons walking on the busier roads will take support of the dividers as an intermediate stoppage to safely cross the roads, and there's nothing wrong in doing so as long as they know where they want to go, and when they want to cross. You drive on the fast lane, see a couple of people standing on the knee high divider waiting for the traffic to ease down to cross the road, and as your vehicle comes near, suddenly one or two of them will realize standing on the divider is injurious to health, decide to jump on the road and stand there instead on the fast lane itself, right in front of you, only to scare the daylights out of you. Another scenario is the traffic junction where somebody will have followed the leftmost lane strictly throughout the approach but suddenly takes a right turn at the signal from extreme left, passing by in front of your vehicle which you have intended to take straight ahead.

7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads-5.jpg

In all the above cases, it is the big vehicle which bears the brunt and mostly held responsible for the mishaps whereas truly speaking these idiots spell doom for themselves and someone else pays for it. One popular TV ad for a reputed tyre brand quotes 'Roads are full of idiots' and has depicted few such commonly found scenes on Indian roads. I can go on and on but the above mentioned are the topmost 7 that I could come up with as they are the most commonly observed by me, and most dangerous too.

All said and done, as someone has rightly said, your safety gears are between your ears. If YOU don't think it is safe, it probably isn't. The safest risk is the one we didn't take and roads are absolutely no place to be adventurous.

7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads-1.jpg

What do you guys think?

Note to moderators - Dear Moderators, I just posted this article in the 'street experiences' section but if you think this is not relevant here or it has no relevance in the team-bhp forum itself, please feel free to remove from the site or re-align to appropriate section as needed.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 16:31   #2
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

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Old 2nd April 2013, 17:04   #3
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Great Narration with equally humourous sketches. We all would agree on all the listed ones above.
Another one that I can add (without the cartoons) is the HIGH-Beam drivers. They don't care if you can see the road, their vehicle, their indicators but go on blinding the oncoming driver. Few are there who will put it on low beam if you indicate (only to find that the truck has only one functional headlamp and is using the high beam) but others will not even pay attention. I guess for them is all ok as long as they can see the road and oncoming vehicles. And I am not talking about the Indicabs here, these are the private owners driving their own ride.

I Hate them.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 18:48   #4
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

How real and plenty of these on our roads? The road is full of idiots indeed.

'Center of Frustration' idiots
There is another variation , you join the fast lane (right) of no where at speed of 20.

I had narrow escape on Sunday when I was returning from Aurangabad, I was crusing at 80+ on right lane with no traffic and straight roads. From a road side dhaba, out of no where a taxi Eritiga (MH12 GZ xxxx) driver decided to get on road and that too on right lane. He was almost blocking 1.5 lanes with the tilted angle and got in right lane, thankfully my car missed to hit him by a second or two.

The idiots continued to zig zag lanes , breaking hard to sueeze in at will for next 10 kms. When I did not allow for them to squeeze later, owing to limited space between cars, this bugger had guts to stop in front on my car at next opportunity and block the road for next 5 mins. I am sure of the local rags to riches gaonwallah characters boozed and on merry trip here.

Patience and patience is the key
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Old 2nd April 2013, 19:01   #5
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Excellent write up! Such incidents are more on Saturday. Before I start driving on Saturday I tell myself, "switching to Saturday mode!" where one has to be extremely careful as this is the day when people who are learning to drive, the rundown vehicles, outsiders with less sense of city driving etc., converge on the roads.

I guess team-bhp should now have a section on the highway code and correct driving practises (pinned).
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Old 2nd April 2013, 19:25   #6
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Great narration - I was laughing throughout. I must admit (sheepishly!), I find myself guilty of one or two above - specially the "I like to move it, move it!" idiot, where one has to wait behind a bus at a bus stop Yes, patience is the key to transform from an idiot to a sensible guy. One has to practice patience and needs to perfect it.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 19:37   #7
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

The answer is not patience, but to switch off yourself from the situation completely. It is highly impossible to have the infinite patience required to keep sanity on Indian roads. I plug into music and turn my brain off for the two hours I ride everyday. Some remote part of the brain rides my vehicle and makes sure I don't turn into one of the idiots myself.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 20:34   #8
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

I have encountered another annoying highly effective habit of idiots.

Selectively in a hurry.

These are the guys (vehicle agnostic, drivers of all types have this habit) who cut through traffic any which way they can, and end up right in front at the traffic lights. Which, of course, is red. Then, when the lights go green ... they don't move!

I mean, if you are in a hurry, you would want to take off like a pole-sitter in a race when the lights change, right?
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Old 2nd April 2013, 21:07   #9
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

I noticed this when I drove to Mysore yesterday. I normally do Blore-Mysore on my bike and occasionally by car and this was something which I hadn't noticed a lot. But this time it was so obvious I had to post it.

There are plenty of bikes on this road and all are locals. They ride on the left lane, which is good. There are also plenty of bullock carts and slow moving vehicles that again are on the left lane which is good.
The problem arises when the two wheelers without checking their mirrors cut into the fast lane to overtake the slow moving vehicle. You keep pressing the horn pad , flash lights, they will not react and continue with the overtake. And the best part being, they pull over and block the complete fast lane and take their time getting back to their lane.

This happened over and over again with every two wheeler who was in overtaking mode. It is like they have a death wish or are doing it on purpose to get some money out of the bigger vehicles at the cost of their life.
Overall Blore-Mysore highway is the worst road to drive on and it gets worse.

Last edited by tharian : 2nd April 2013 at 21:08.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 21:54   #10
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

SforSarang: Very nice write up. We encounter with all these type of Idiots atleast once in a week and at least one type of idiot, for sure once in a day.

One more type that I would like to mention is the "Get Confused Buddy" kind of Idiots. These are people who never remember to turn off the indicator nor have a buzzer installed that would remind them to turn it off when the auto cut off is not happening.

I have ended up many a time being isolated to the corner of the road when overtaking guys having their left indicator turned on. At the time I overtake them and they notice me overtaking them, their blood starts boiling (as I would be on a bike and also that being a Splendor) and they rev up pushing me to the right corner and speeding away.

At the end of the day it is me scratching my head thinking as to why I ever tried overtaking this guy? Lately, I have stopped overtaking guys who have their indicators turned on either knowningly or unknowingly and maintain a safe distance with them to ensure I dont get smashed up.

Thanks for listing out all the types. Would help a lot to identify them when riding or driving.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 21:56   #11
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Excellent and hilarious thread. And the best part is this is not even the tip of the iceberg and you could have taken a few hundred more pages elaborating on many other idiotic behaviour existent on our roads.

The question we need to ask and address is how to cure us of this disease. I sincerely feel a good part of the cure has to be in the form of driving habits and general character/habits/attitudes that your parents/family/teachers have helped you to develop during your growing up years. I am not a saint and probably would have at times found myself on the wrong side of the law for instance while jumping a yellow signal to attend that meeting. But 99% of the times I can say with pride that I drive sanely and allow the cognitively challenged around me to zoom ahead. And I feel that its primarily due to my dad correcting me whenever I made a bad decision on the road during my early driving years.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 22:17   #12
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Great thread ! Cant stop laughing at some of those.Best is the mystery where people look the opposite direction as they cross.!
I would like to add another one which is very common in highways here.
People on bicycles riding on the wrong side of the road and that too beside the divider.Imagine the guts to face oncoming trucks like!
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Old 3rd April 2013, 07:56   #13
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

I find it most annoying when a slow mover tries to take over another slow mover. Ridiculous that this happens on expressway as well, typically with truckers.

The scene is as if they are playing a race with peak speed limit of 20kmph.

In cities, autos are not far behind in playing this game with each other either - typical on gradients, where their rpm and noise level increases to such a level that they think they are driving really fast and can easily overtake their fellow autowalas.
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Old 3rd April 2013, 08:29   #14
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Two-wheeler rider's axiom: The moment you pass a bigger vehicle and get in front of it, the bigger vehicle ceases to exist. You can relax and slow down now.
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Old 3rd April 2013, 08:41   #15
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Default Re: 7 Habits of highly effective idiots on Indian roads

Absolutely brilliant article sforsarang!
Thanks for presenting such a frustrating aspect of driving with a dose of humour.

What I have failed to understand is that - how can some people be so stupid? Anybody with an IQ as low as 50-60 should be able to use logic and reason to figure out the utter stupidity of these habits. What's unfortunate is that neither self-discipline nor adminstration have been able to rein in such idiots.

Here's a new idea for Google:
After you have successfully launched the "self-driving" car, how about spending some research money on "driver-disciplining" car? A car that will be aware of its sourrounding (just like the self-driving car) and give a mild electric shock to the driver if he tries to muscle in his way at the front of a queue or drives on top of the lane-markings or enters a one-way from the wrong direction.
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