Driving on blocked roads is one of the most demanding tasks that a Delhi resident takes on on a daily basis. But is it really the sheer volume of vehicles that makes driving on city roads so stressful?
It is true that the large number of private vehicles halved the speed of the traffic, making it impossible to time your journey even outside of rush hour. But slow traffic and perpetual traffic jams aren’t the only stressors on Delhi’s roads. There is also misconduct.
Delhi’s roads are the ultimate testing ground for your reflexes.
A car suddenly stopping or turning without an indicator is common. Even if you are one of the few who obediently maintains a minimum following distance, you can never underestimate the car behind you. Such restricted vehicle spacing is, in fact, considered a route maximization technique. This is how Delhi has driven for generations.
In his book “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do”, written a decade ago, the American journalist Tom Vanderbilt devoted almost a chapter to the chronicle of the “Delhi traffic maelstrom”, where driving was essentially ” good brakes, good horn, and good luck “.
What he found alarming was the chronic tendency of Delhi drivers to get lost between lanes, especially those going in the opposite direction. When changing lanes, drivers seem to trust not the mirrors, but rather that the person behind them honks if there is a danger. Not much has changed since.
Delhi’s drivers, Vanderbilt wrote, are either the best or the worst in the world – the best because they are so adept at maneuvering in tight spaces and sticky situations, or the worst because they are there. put, to begin with.
Vanderbilt also found that few drivers in Delhi were particularly qualified for a license. He based his observation on a 2006 study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research on the process of obtaining a driver’s license in Delhi.
The study Vanderbilt cited in his book followed 822 individuals in three groups: a “bonus” group, whose members would get a financial reward if they could legally obtain a license as quickly as possible; a “lesson” group, whose members received free driving lessons before attempting to obtain a license; and a “comparison” group, which received no instructions.
The researchers found that the “bonus” group obtained licenses much faster than the other groups because they used an “agent” to speed up the process. But when all participants took a driving test, 69% of the “bonus” group failed compared to 11% of those who took driving lessons beforehand.
In fact, it was only recently that driving license offices in Delhi were infested with touts who “helped” people get licenses with or without passing an apprenticeship or driving test. Unsurprisingly, many who drive Delhi’s roads are unfamiliar with basic driving techniques such as negotiating roundabouts, turning around, or how to overtake, change lanes or drive in the rain, the fog, even at night.
Retrospectively testing all of these drivers for their driving skills may not be logistically feasible. But the authorities could think of organizing a refresher course for drivers renewing their license and sending the stray back to driving schools.
To ensure that new groups of drivers traveling on the city’s roads are accompanied by adequate training, the Delhi Department of Transportation has introduced a computer-based learning test and built its first automated track to perform road tests. drive to Sarai Kale Khan permit office. While work on 10 more such tracks should be accelerated, stricter regulations are needed for private driving schools, many of which limit their courses to teaching the use of the steering wheel, gears, clutch and brakes.
Delhi has also started compulsory training for commercial drivers before they are issued badges to drive. In the towns of the NCR, however, obtaining licenses, both commercial and private, still follows old world routes. Drivers driving for taxi aggregators, many of whom have licenses from other states, are among the worst offenders on Delhi’s roads.
With limited staff, traffic police have their plate full of dangerous offenses that can lead to death. So few are penalized for what police call “minor” driving offenses. Hopefully, the technology-based surveillance and intelligent traffic management system – both likely to be rolled out this year – will make drivers more responsible. Because each act of leniency contributes to this feeling of impunity responsible for so many hit and run offenses observed each year