Driving artistes

Driving artistes

Driving along a reasonably calm road I had to rapidly press brakes to stop my car behind another one which abruptly came to a halt with no indications whatsoever. As I always try to keep a reasonable distance while behind another vehicle there was enough time and space, I could avoid hitting the car in front. 

Of course a two wheeler immediately behind me could manoeuvre around my car and move on. This kind of abrupt stopping is a frequent occurrence on our roads posing challenges to other drivers and riders; perhaps even to the pedestrians who are caught unaware what a vehicle intends to do. Autorickshaws are the best abrupt stoppers, turners, speed breakers and have perfected the art of traffic game changers. However, the percentage of accidents owing to abrupt game changers seem to be pretty low suggesting we all have become experts in handling such challenging situations even in the last second. Thank God but not sure how long we can prolong God’s kindness each time.

Lately, I do not see any more on the streets the heated hand gesturing to slap, finger pointing to stab and verbal bashing to curse parents and grandparents suggesting we do not mind the well seasoned game changers. I wonder then why we must have the expensive indicators fitted to our vehicles as they never seem to get used. The rare times that an indication needs to be given, there is always the right hand of the driver and/or the left hand of the passenger in the front.

Hand waving to indicate right or left turn, slow down and stop have also become highly skilful these days as many use the artful waving (literally) pattern,use one finger or multiple fingers almost in the style of the Indian classical dancers. Some use all five fingers in a rapid manner looking like an animal closing and opening its mouth gently suggesting (I think) 5 seconds (hopefully not 5 minutes). It is most comical and certainly confusing when both the driver and his front seat passenger in lorries and trucks are simultaneously using their hands. Interestingly women drivers seem to get away without using their hands and fingers – I wonder how and why? 

Is the drama on the roads to do with our communication culture in general? Never expressed and mostly assumed until there is the wrong reading of intentions and assumptions leading to embarrassing moments and raging arguments occasionally leading to physical fights.

Why not we express ourselves in a clear and straight forward manner like indicating ‘I need to make a right turn’ or ‘I am unable to meet the deadline’(by tailors; repairmen)?
Why not we say a straightforward but realistic ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or even a conditional ‘may be’! A simple and straight forward communication is pivotal during conversations at home or on the streets. Then again are we going against the hand waving culture?