The signs are all there

The signs are all there


The signs are all there

Driving through highways from one city to another has come a long way, as long as the meandering roads that connect most of our growing cities. They are of international standards, or so we are assured by the Highway Authority of India, in justification of the lofty tolls along the way.

The credibility of this assurance is questioned by many a doubting Thomas. Yet, getting on to the highway comes as a respite from traffic jams, polluted air, jaywalkers and two wheelers who zig-zag as they chat on their mobile phones.

The highways also offer some glimpses of the Indian hamlets and rural life to the unacquainted city dwellers. Yet, driving close to an average speed of 100 km an hour with undivided concentration is a challenge. One wrong move and the consequences are sure to be grave.

Whether one behind the wheel is fully aware of this truth or not, the ministry of road travel is taking no chances, which is quite an accomplishment for a system that normally waits for a wakeup call before the citizenry can be alerted.

Interspersed all through the highways are sign boards reminding travellers in a lighter vein, that highway driving is no laughing matter.

‘Speed thrills but kills’ is the first of the many billboards that one will see along NH-4 that connects Bengaluru to Chennai. ‘Live for today, drive for tomorrow’, follows soon.
Moving from speed to safety, some creative and witty alerts provide for some food for thought as well as a giggle for the commuters.

‘Safety conscious, smart obvious’, ‘Safety rules are your best tools’, ‘Know safety, No injury’, ‘Safety first makes us last long’ and ‘Safety gears are placed between the ears’ remind travellers the importance of safe driving.

Some punch lines for the young and the reckless are hilarious, too. They read: ‘Minor drivers, major accidents’, ‘Control speed for safety’, ‘Don’t lose your head to gain a minute’, and ‘Reckless driving is a one way ticket to hell’.

For the married ones, these two-liners are amusing: ‘If you want to stay married, divorce speed’; ‘Drive carefully, your family is waiting.’

This particular alert on general driving sense nailed it with wit, ‘Everything comes in your way when you are in the wrong lane.’

Finally, the refined joviality and wisdom in these lines could transfigure many a grumpy old men behind the wheel into a laughing Buddha: ‘Safe driving is like breathing, don’t stop it’; ‘Rather your helmet than your head’ and ‘Safety starts with S, begins with U’.
Humour apart, but isn’t it an irony that drivers are expected to read the  alerts that advise them against any kind of distraction along the way?

The same double standards that our culture is notorious for, is at work, I guess, even along the long and meandering highway roads!

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