While the Delhi police wring their hands over the uncouth behaviour of motorists in the city and come up with an assortment of fines, little is really changing on our anarchic roads. Traffic in Delhi is as bad as it gets. It seems everyone on the road needs to be taught good behaviour first and then the traffic rules.
The simplest way to fix both these problems is to ban honking. In Bangkok, where traffic jams are worse than they are here, drivers never honk or change lanes without flashing the indicator.
The positives of such a ban are many: drivers would be forced to use their indicators before changing lanes and bus and truck drivers would not be able to keep one finger on the horn to say, “Get out of my way, I am bigger than you and will squash you in the next ten seconds”. Scooter rickshaws and two-wheelers would not be able to muscle their way through traffic, zigzagging between cars. Tempers would be less frayed and road rage cases would go down. And best of all, we would have no noise pollution.
How many of us have been in a traffic jam where you can’t move an inch and the cars behind you honk away merrily? If horns were not allowed or motorists were fined, people would learn patience. And, good behaviour would automatically follow.
Sometimes, I have seen drivers use the horn because they are just used to it. The fact is that honking has become so much a part of our psyche that we don’t even think about it.
To improve the situation, we need to have a ‘No-Horn Day’. If we can have one such day in Delhi, the public will automatically understand the beauty of silence. This could then be made into a law.
Along with all the traffic measures that the Delhi police have already put into place, this effort would help encourage good behaviour and civic decency on Delhi’s roads.