The Impatient Honkers

During monsoon rains in Mumbai, I find that vehicle drivers on roads are increasing the decibel of their horns as well as the frequency of horning on the roads.

It is quite annoying to be hounded constantly by a joker driver at the back who is potentially horning to avoid another vehicle coming on his way in his lane (not your lane thankfully), and one tends to look at the mirrors to see if it is all about one’s bad driving. I mean yours !

When you figure out that you are driving in your lane perfectly well, and you are not the cause of the commotion at the back, you tend to get irritated with the driver who is horning continuously. Anyone would, and even if I am not driving I tend to turn back and check to see what is going on. After all, the constant honking affects your concentration or your phone call.

I find that the understanding required of drivers during tough driving conditions just does not exist. The drivers are mostly illiterate, or of young blood, or the angry ilk, that they tend to brake hard and horn hard, and think every other driver on the road is a complete idiot to be driving slowly or following the traffic rules. Good drivers are to be banished according to the current drivers on the roads of Mumbai, it appears. I do not, for a moment, agree that Mumbai’s drivers are far better than those in other cities – may be in parts of South Mumbai, the drivers tend to follow rules due to strict enforcement. But in 90% of Mumbai, drivers have gone crazy (they were always crazy, to start with).

I recall policemen used to haul up indiscriminate horners, and even fine them occasionally in Mumbai, because their honking was not required, was causing trouble to other drivers, or was used in silent zones such as hospitals or school areas. But drivers are idiots who do not learn even after paying one or two traffic fines. They continue with their ways, and I have also heard them justifying their ways stating that everyone else is doing that way, and they will be in trouble if they do not follow the other idiots’ driving habits.

At the end of the day, I believe that idiots need to be trained as well and accredited properly, and fined for not following traffic rules, notwithstanding recurrence of their poor driving practices. Any impatient idiots should be fined heavily, and should not be allowed to bribe their way out. They impact on any good drivers on the road in a negative manner, and should be punished vigorously. Suspension of driving licenses, and not monetary fines, is the best punishment to incapacitate idiot drivers.

Hopefully, the monsoon rains are subsiding, and drivers will get back to their normal (yet poor) driving habits in Mumbai. I hope they stop issuing driving licenses till people reach the age of 25, and eliminate major road rage cases as well. Re-training and re-certification is badly needed, but how can the Road Transport Office (the agency responsible for issuing driving licenses) operate in this critically needed area, when they are already knee-deep in water ?


Vijay Srinivasan
13th August 2011


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