Learnings from a traffic jam

Pune is not a huge metro city, we have a good mix of big & small roads, tiny lanes & one-ways, with a dash of faulty signals & graciously distributed pot holes too. Almost every day there is a jam on some or the other road.
I tried to find a reason, relating this situation to a deeper life meaning, trying to understand why does a traffic jam happen?? It is still the same road, same people, just because there is a faulty traffic light or absence of a traffic policeman, Why does it all have to go out of control???
Despite being educated, despite being aware of the traffic rules and despite the basic common sense training, is it soooooo difficult for us to think logically & take steps to ease a jam??
Last evening, I spent an hour in a jam that could have been solved in just 15 mins tops and I observed the behaviour of people on the road.
When I got stuck in the jam, the left side of the road stopped moving, slowly the entire right side of the road was taken over by the left side commuters on bikes(majorly) & cars. They just wanted to go first. Now, This caused an extended jam because no traffic could move on the either side of the road. All everyone had to do was stick to their side of the road and let the situation ease out, instead everyone decide to block all outlets.
 Now I thought to myself, are we all this stupid??? May be yes!
The key things I learnt here:

  • Rules make life easier: At least in this case! Jumping a red light, driving on the wrong  and other similar acts would have been allowed if it helped a smooth traffic. So obviously there is a reason they are not! These rules are put in place for a reason, let us learn to trust this process and stay out of bending or breaking them.  It is not cool to break every rule in life, specially the one that can causes others inconvenience or even causes you a fatal injury. Think before you want to show your bravado or fearlessness on the road. It does not translate into you being the same in real life.
  • Me first attitude: Traditionally the biggest cause of any traffic jam is the” me first” attitude. Someone in the crowd wants to win a race or just does not want to get stuck or something like that, He/she takes the lead to cause a jam. Ironically he/she does not realise that they are causing a huge chaos & large waste of time with that one stupid move. Similarly in life I think it’s ok to let someone go first, may be he needs to, trust people, don’t try to get out of everything without caring about what price the other person, the one right behind you will have to pay for this move. This highly selfish behaviour causes ambulances & genuine commuters to be stuck for hours with no fault of their own. Whether you are a slow or a fast driver, it won’t cost you much to just not cause everyone else trouble. Be patient, think like a grown up.

  •   No Compassion: Everyone wants to get their destination, agreed, but can we be a bit more compassionate towards other humans on the road. Rage is bad & so is ignorance. I see some people just ignoring people who want to take a pass even on an empty road. May be if you let others go first, it will solve the problem faster. This applies to all of us, the one who is letting you go first & the one who is going first. Be compassionate, maybe he needs to go first or faster. Be responsible. Show some regard, yes you do not know every person on the road, but it won’t harm to develop a mutually respecting society around us.

  •  There are some good people: Every jam brings forward some heroes. The ones who care about everyone, who step out of their car & tell people what to do. They take the lead & solve the problem. Some help while sitting in their cars too. It is amazing to see how only a few people care enough to get up & help a stuck school bus or an ambulance. These people don’t get any sort of recognition or credit, they are forgotten soon after you get out of the jam, but they still do it! Respect them, be like them, get inspired by them, all because we need more like them.

  • Start with disciplining yourself:  Like someone once rightly said “To Change others, start with yourself.”  After you complain about others & their reckless driving, spend a moment to introspect, are you a responsible driver/rider? Do you make efforts to not further cause a jam?  Do you unnecessarily jump signals or break random traffic rules because it’s easy & fun?  Do you contribute effectively on the road in a situation? If you don’t, it is never too late to change that. We need to bring about that positive change, for a better Pune, for a better India  & a better tomorrow. We need to bring that change for our younger generations to come. They will learn & adapt to a world we create for them, if that means recklessness & irresponsible attitudes on the road or in life, they will learn just that! To teach them compassion we must practice that too.

🚦🚦Hope this inspires you to be a responsible driver/rider!🚦🚦
Stay blessed 💟

Pune’s Famous Road (non)sense!

The most common phrase I hear about Pune from its travelers or residents for a long time is “lovely city but bad traffic sense”.
What exactly happens on Pune roads that gets us such a bad name??
Well, I have been here for more than a decade and have lived in many other cities in the country (thanks to being a fauji kid), so yes I have obviously seen what the traffic is like in other cities too. But there is this peculiar attitude you see only in Pune, on the roads, which is so unlike its climate or people!!
Some instances I have observed & may be if you have lived here, you can relate with it too 🙂

  • Everyone seems to be a part of secret formula one race, which allows them to do what it takes to reach their destination 1st.
  • Even if you can see there is going to be a jam, from somewhere a bikewala will come & block the road for the big trailer/bus to pass, hence leading to a bigger jam
  • Trying to take a U turn anywhere, anytime is a crime.
  • There is no such rule of overtaking only from the right!
  • You shall get dirts despite all your efforts to drive safe, basically with no fault of yours.
  • Most of the people are professionally trained to give dirts & drive at the same time.
  • All Pedestrians seem to have an invisible brake to your vehicle, which they shall use to cross the road when you are coming at a decent speed, by showing you “THE HAND”
  • There is always this wanna be boy speeding through the most crowded streets to impress all the women in one go!
  • We do not have/use zebra crossings!! oh wait, what are those for??
  • Bus, rickshaw and cab drivers are the official owners of all the roads, so do NOT mess with them!!

 What bothers me most is, this city is known as the oxford of the east, with a large number of schools, colleges & professional institutes. Not just this, with the high rise of the IT/ITES industry there is huge influx of well educated professionals from all areas.
Yet, we don’t see that education on the roads??
Firstly is anybody even educating them about how to drive/ride?? Keeping aside the humor the roads are getting worse by the day, getting more and more unsafe for everyone traveling on them.

Pune is the epicenter of fatal road accidents in the country. The accidental death rate for Pune is 89.4%, the highest in the country. The rising number of fatalities needs immediate attention from the policy makers to the commuters. A study carried out by the –revealed that Nearly 3 people die in road accidents in Pune every day.
Can you imagine the number of lives that could be saved with a change in the road culture of this city??!!
 Its very shocking and disappointing that RTO, educational & professional institutions are not taking the initiative to begin the culture of safe driving in the city!
Here are somethings everyone could do & support:

  • RTO should have a driving test + IQ test every 3/5 years
  • Educational institutes & professional organizations should have special workshops & trainings on safe driving cultures, starting from their own students, staff & cab drivers
  • Corporates should team up with social groups of the city as a part of their corporate social responsibility and conduct special trainings/activities for the public transport drivers.

May be, these small steps could bring about a huge change & help Pune roads to get safer!