Nonconforming habits

  • Get News Alerts

It is something that is commonly understood, but at times is used to imply an entirely different meaning. It is best understood by observing how vehicles use the side blinkers on roads in Nepal. Conventionally, a blinker is meant to warn traffic behind about its turning intentions. Strangely, drivers here let the blinkers on even when stopping by the kerb. This does not indicate their turning intentions but as a way of informing others, on their right, to move on! The same is practiced by vehicles on the highways as a way of informing vehicles behind to overtake. This is, without doubt, a dangerous and nonconforming practice.

One should not turn on the blinker either too early or too late. If too early, those behind will wonder if you forgot to turn it off. Too late a signal, can even lead to getting bumped from behind. But it is not unusual to see someone deliberately or otherwise turning without signalling. Early cars had small signal arms that physically protruded out of the sides and was called “trafficator” that did not blink. The device got hidden within the body when not in use. In the early days drivers usually indicated the turning direction by show of hand. This would still be ideal as blinkers do not stand out under sun’s glare.

The way helmets are used here offer another glaring example; it is not that bikers do not use them. By not securing properly, quite many are seen using helmets only to fool traffic police than safeguarding one’s head. An unsecured helmet is as bad as riding without one. It becomes a matter of life and death if it results in serious head injuries. Is there any point in lamenting or repenting afterwards? The same is true with the non-use of seat belts in car. But given the slow pace on most urban roads there are far less serious accidents in contrast to two wheelers. The motorbikes, being inherently unstable, are prone to more frequent and serious accidents. A small bump or a little nudge is enough to get it skidding with serious consequences. Impatient mentality and anarchic ways motorbikes get driven are the main factors in the rise of accidents and resulting fatalities.

Pedestrians crossing road haphazardly was much in the news recently. What an irony, the related agency even boasted about having recovered substantial amount as fines in the few days it remained enforced. There is no denying that there exists overall ignorance on the part of all road users. But governmental agencies are even more at fault in placing most zebra crossings at bends. One will find this true at most road junctions especially those without traffic lights. Road bends are places where pedestrians are confronted by fast moving vehicles. This is more likely in an environment where responsible driving is not a part of the driving culture.

But it might take long before such attitude changes, and coercion is certainly not the way to go. It can be done formally at schooling level. It can be done, informally, by following good driving practice, on our part, and explaining its advantages to the accompanying child. This will have a lasting impression and make the child a better driver in future. Other programs could include tailoring sensible driving training to the needy before they get the license. It should not be difficult to identify such people based on the level of education, their age and background. That is not meant to say that all educated drivers are rule abiders. Had it been so, our streets would not be in such a mess. A simple driving etiquette can work miracles. Road safety should be the concern of not just drivers but pedestrians as well. Related departments can help by improving road and footpath geometry where necessary. The focus, so far, has been on improving roads alone, not footpaths. What we need is walkable footpaths that people find no reason to avoid. 

harjyal@yahoo.com

Comments

Opinion

  • Amendment of Education Act: A betrayal to capable candidates Amendment of Education Act: A betrayal to capable candidates

    Not all, but many of the temporary teachers who have been wishing to become permanent, no doubt, appointed on the basis of their political ideologies. They couldn't succeed in the examinations despite repeated attempts. They carried the bags of those parties during their teaching career.

    Manoj Sapkota

  • The Doklam dilemma The Doklam dilemma

    Being a buffer state between the two giant neighbors, Nepal should conduct its foreign policy vis-à-vis China and India in a very sensitive manner. Nepal has always maintained that it would not allow its soil to be used against any neighbor. At the same time, Nepal should make sure that its own national interests are never compromised.

    Gaurab Shumsher Thapa

Blog

  • To dogs, with love To dogs, with love

    Many find talking about basic animal rights stupid when no basic rights of people are guaranteed. However, there are still few people who are aware how humane behavior has turned toward cruelty and indifference which can be vividly seen through the way street dogs and other animals are abused around us.

    Sujita Shrestha

  • Unanswered questions on recent leftist alliance Unanswered questions on recent leftist alliance

    Although they seem to be very much communist while in opposition, whether about the 'Indian semi-colonial status' in Nepal or American hegemony, this has never been evident while they actually come into power and rule Nepal.

    Dr Chandra Sharma Poudyal

Readers Column

  • What we need to learn from Thailand?

    Thailand is a developing country. But it seemed like a developed country at first sight. It is hard to believe that Thailand is a developing country. There are big buildings, and clean and broad roads. The city is clean with no trace of pollution.

  • Traffic Police in Kathmandu

    As busy and hassling as the traffic system in Kathmandu is, the Traffic Police here have to handle an equally strenuous job. Over 1,400 traffic officers in and around the Kathmandu Valley battle against the pestering traffic and air pollution each day.

Popular

Recommended

Suchanapati