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Hyderabad: Risky road users put the lives of others in danger

Published Dec 24, 2015, 7:22 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 3:12 pm IST
Uncultured motorists make the disciplined fly into rage.
A pedestrian shows his hand towards the oncoming vehicle, thus risking his life and that of others. 	(Photo: DC)
 A pedestrian shows his hand towards the oncoming vehicle, thus risking his life and that of others. (Photo: DC)
Hyderabad: Motorists and pedestrians risk their lives and those of others often on the roads. Every time a motorist jumps a signal, he or she puts the lives of others at risk. Meanwhile, pedestrians cross roads by just raising a hand towards the oncoming vehicle without giving a second thought whether it is actually slowing down. “If I have to wait for vehicles to stop, I may have to wait for a lifetime. The best option is to raise my hand and cross the road,” said A.G. Rao, a banker from Ameerpet.
Spitting on roads, relieving themselves on footpaths, applying sudden brakes, throwing waste on the roadside from a moving car, using illegal horns and dazzling head lights the list of violations is long. And people continue to break the rules despite being penalised many times. Psychologists and psychiatrists say such behaviour on roads could be due to frustration at home, work, failure in life or developing an attitude of taking a delight in breaking rules.
Image Hospitals counselling psychologist S.V. Nagnath said people tended to extend their bathroom (domestic) behaviour to the roads (social life) and behave in a selfish manner without being concerned about other road users. In some cases, it was pure jealousy and discrimination of social status that leads to an auto driver or a two-wheeler rider not give way to a high-end vehicle, he said.
S. Akriti, an IT employee, said men tend to drive more rashly when they see a woman driving. “All of a sudden their behaviour changes and they manoeuvre dangerously around their vehicle.” Mr Nagnath said, “The filmy hero gets activated in the male motorist when they see women driving. They will take risks to attract her attention and display that they are more powerful. It is simply male chauvinistic behaviour sometimes. Some motorists take it as an ego issue and feel defeated if one goes past him and victorious when they overtake others.”
Yashoda Hospital’s consultant psychiatrist Dr K. Prashant terms it narcissism. “It is selfish behaviour. They are not bothered about other road users. They want excitement all the time and drive rashly for that adrenaline rush. They become addicted to such excitement resulting in theirs’ or others’ death,” he said. 
Chief functionary of Indian Federation of Road Safety Vinod Kumar Kanumala said the mindset of people needed to change. This can be done from childhood at home and educational institutions. “Smaller vehicle users who violate traffic rules are smart and know what they are doing. For example, they don’t mess with lorries, buses or SUVs as they can’t win,” he said.
Pedestrians are always left in lurch
Pedestrians can’t be penalised in India if they break traffic rules. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic — Hyderabad, A.V. Ranganath said the problem on the roads was not only with the motorist but even pedestrians. There were no rules to regulate pedestrians except to provide them with pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, he added. The traffic police, meanwhile say that as per the Indian Road Congress rules, every one is a pedestrian before getting in and after getting out of a car. So top priority needs to be given to pedestrians while designing roads and preparing plans for transport infrastructure projects. 
It is the pedestrians who are mostly at the receiving end. Lack of pedestrian infrastructure like footpaths, skywalks, road furniture, zebra crossings etc. forces pedestrians to walk on roads, leading to accidents. “Every year, hundreds of pedestrians die in road accidents and the government, local bodies should be held responsible in addition to the motorist,” said Sujatha Kumari, a social activist. 
If motorists are to be blamed for not respecting pedestrians, even the latter cannot be absolved totally as most of them do not believe in crossing roads at zebra markings, said a traffic cop. “Lack of proper road infrastructure at prominent junctions has pushed pedestrians on to the roads, resulting in accidents. A recent study showed that over 25 per cent of people who die in road accidents are pedestrians. “But pedestrians cannot be completely blamed. Only two per cent of the 300-plus junctions have some facility,” said A. Sreedhar, working with an NGO for the rights of pedestrians.




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Location: Telangana