Salman Aslam

Candid Schmooze

Traffic Maelstorm in Pakistan

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A casual glance at the traffic pandemonium of a city speaks volumes about its national character leaving an indelible impression of more misery and chaos to follow suit.

Pakistan is in the midst of a traffic quagmire as its woes get further compounded by totally inept and lackadaisical management machinery. Driving in Pakistan has become a horrendous nightmarish experience. Road rage and intolerance has reached endemic proportions. Road side lynching has become a common sight followed by torching of vehicles.

This commotion and turbulence on roads reflects moral degeneration, anarchy and dwindling moral values/ethos. Courtesy on roads, etiquettes and mannerisms seem to a saga of fairy tales. Burgeoning and mushroom of motorcycle menace with its teeming millions has clogged all arteries. Population boom has resulted in massive increase in vehicles and motor cycles. All those blue collared workers who were on cycles are riding bikes owning to easier availability, faster conveyance and economy.

The roads as such are not in commensuration with the mammoth increase in vehicles. No effort was made to dedicate separate lanes for bikes and cycles. Culture of giving way to ambulances, fire brigades and police vehicles has not yet seeped in our moral fibre. Motorists are so stoical, callous and dispassionate in standing ground rather than yield. TV channels have failed miserably to educate citizens by NOT running traffic awareness films to infuse, instil and inculcate some semblance of traffic sanity.

Traffic woes have exacerbated over the last few years. There are over 2 million motor bikes at Lahore alone. This menace alone is responsible for majority of accidents alone. Let us enumerate the various flagrant and blatant violations we encounter every day:-

  • New wave of driving on the opposite side of road. Still baffled as to which mode of drive is in vogue in Pakistan. (LHD/RHD).
  • Driving zigzag in a helter-skelter mode. 
  • Latest trend of overtaking from the left. 
  • Driving in the right most fast lane and not giving way. 
  • Resultantly the entire lane is choked and instead of going fast the lane becomes slow. 
  • Chatting and messaging on mobiles, bikes and even by cyclists. Swerving indiscriminately from left lane to right to turn without indication.
  • Traffic police not checking:
  1. No headlights.
  2. Faulty brake lights.
  3. Broken taillights.
  4. Broken numbers plates. 
  5. Pressure horns. 
  6. NOT dipping lights at night. 
  7. Driving without wipers.
  • Concept of zebra/pedestrian crossings has become extinct. 
  • Cars and motor bikes stop on these crossings obstructing pedestrian from crossing.
  • Blatant violations of traffic signals posing a grave hazard.
  • Absence of traffic signals at slip roads.
  • Massive survey required to add more traffic signals in both English and Urdu for our illiterate population.
  • Not conversant with right of way on roundabout crossing. Golden rule right of way is to traffic coming from right irrespective.
  • Blowing of horns in hospitals was a taboo yet being violated with impunity.
  • Driving on footpaths.
  • Menace of one wheeling.
  • Overloading of tractor trolley vehicles without lights.
  • Throwing litter, trash and garbage on roads.
  • Driving without license and documents.
  • Under intoxication and drugs.
  • Sudden stoppages on road to drop/pick passengers.
  • Delinquent driving with consent of parents.
  • Juvenile delinquency.
  • National psyche of bragging, cajoling and coaxing to evade arrest/fine.
  • Using connections and nexus to browbeat the law.
  • Using tinted glasses for sordid and nefarious activities.
Our traffic management system is in its death throes. To stem the rot certain drastic and prudent damage control measures have to be taken lest this further plummets into a bottomless pit of complete mayhem. These are appended below:-

  • Compulsory use of all media to start a massive traffic awareness programme on rules, courtesy and etiquettes.
  • Eye sire of advertising boards be replaced with banners /hoardings depicting traffic awareness.
  • No licences to be issued without compulsory attendance of driving schools approved by police.
  • Traffic rules to be made a part of syllabi and curriculum of educational institutions.
  • Separate lane for motor cyclist’s.
  • Fast lane for overtaking. Centre lane safest to use.
  • To overcome traffic congestion roads to be destructed to even numbered vehicles on one day and odd numbered vehicles on next day.
  • Observance of dry day where only emergency use of vehicles permitted.
  • Use of HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) priority over single occupants during peak hours.
  • Compulsory use of rear seat belts and helmets for bikes.
  • Quincheys a major source of accidents must be registered. No teenage driving.
  • All slow moving traffic Tongas, carts must have lights.
  • No law passed for use of DRL (Daytime running Light) some vehicles using these lights in Pakistan.
  • DRL law can be passed where vehicles can use side lights during day for easier identification and reduction in accidents. Point to ponder.
The need of the hour necessitates actions rather than words which fall on deaf ears. If we want to fall in the comity of semi-civilized nations than our traffic muddled system needs a drastic pruning and overhaul. Presently our traffic morass falls in the ambit of the most uncouth and unrefined Third World country.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 12:00 AM,


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