And then…


Indian roads are getting wider and better every day, 4-laned with clear cut dividing zone. Road surface quality has improved thereby making the drive smoother thanks to well done repair and lesser annoying pot holes. Cars with latest technology are in plenty. You can even find teenagers driving cars (perhaps one of the few places where they’re using their knowledge of industrial engineering) with the cell phone stuck to their ears and at speeds beyond your imagination. As the cars are quieter and road smoother, sound level of car coming nearer is very low and is hardly heard.

This brings me to my little story. It is a bright and pleasant morning with almost no vehicles on the road. An old man is on his morning schedule of 5 km. walk. He is returning, so he is tired and perhaps slow. He wants to cross the road to go to the other side. He does this every day. Suddenly, he sees a big car stop within inches behind him with an annoying screeching sound. The driver looks upset. He (or perhaps she) express their feelings using some real foul language. The old man has nothing to protest. The old man was lucky and possibly escaped from what could have been a disaster.

Many things, such as the one mentioned above, happen before our eyes. Who is at fault? How do you avoid such incidents in the future? How do you inculcate patience and a sense of respect for senior citizens in our youngsters? How do you ensure that old people don’t risk their (and other) lives when they go out on such morning walks?

May be there is an engineering solution to this problem as well: Can we not design our roads with clear signs marked for pedestrians where the pedestrian has the right of way? I am sure we can. I sure hope we do.

There is a term for what happened in my story. It’s called road rage and it seems we need to get a handle on this sooner rather than later.
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