Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Honking for the Right of Way



In the crowded road the right to way goes to the vehicle having a loudest honk. Even the pedestrians pay more attention to the car having a loud horn. If this mentality of the drivers, pedestrian and the society as a whole continues we would be just like  any other city in India filled with deafening din. And the ingenuity of the mechanics producing louder and musical horn does not help much in reducing the noise but it does get the attention from the drivers and the pedestrians. The louder car honks, the better it is draw the attention and warn that you are coming; leading to the (competition) survival of the loudest.

In developed countries blowing the horn of a car without a proper justification would be slapped with fines. Here, we are so used to hearing the noise of the horn that we do not mind at all. The trucks with big letters at the back - “BLOW HORN”, “HORN PLEASE”, “WANT SIDE, THEN HORN”, etc­ – boldly authorize the use of horn rampantly.

Come on drivers, are you not taught in the training institute that the rear view mirror is to see whether any car is coming from the rear? and not for the purpose of watching a passing girl. If you could make out all the details of a girl looking in the rear view mirror than seeing an approaching car is not much of a problem. Please let’s not bank on the honk of a car to see it or give side to it. Let’s forget the car language which is becoming louder by day and follow the traffic rules, to reduce the noise.

I remember staying in one of the hotel in India; it was in the center of the city with all the amenities, except the protection against the noise from outside, which I realized later when I could not sleep due to the noise of the honking cars from outside. We could not sleep till 0100 hrs and got woken up at 0400 hrs by noise of the incessant honking on the road. After that incident, I have always kept in mind that if I ever had to stay in a hotel, I try to stay away from the honking distance of cars.

Once I saw a truck parked on the roadside and honking repeatedly, I could not resist myself and went on to ask the driver why he is honking? He told me that he is trying to call his friend who lives a couple of meters away across the river. When I asked him why he is not using the cell phone instead, he righteously replied that he had tried but it was switch off. So he is resorting to the truck language, hopefully which, his friend would understand at the earliest before disturbing all the people in the locality or are they already used to it?

If they got already used to the noise than it is a (danger) sign of becoming a noisy society, the inherent noise like engine noise, metal clanking noise of the trucks, the ear piercing noise of the braking overloaded trucks, etc of the vehicle cannot be avoided but loudest of all, barring the worn out brake noise of the truck, the honking is an avoidable noise and we must avoid it.

I avoid honking at all cost. Once I rubbed against a pedestrian without honking, he gave me a dirty look and said “Don’t you have a hareen in your car? Why did you not honk? Are you trying to kill me?”  I just smiled at his ignorance. How can I kill him? I have seen him; it is he who did not see me. Lucky that his body is softer than the body of my car and above all he does not honk……….