Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why can’t we Indians follow rules while driving?

There are 5 main reasons for this, as I see it:

  • Sheer size of our population
  • Size of our country
  • Cultural and language differences
  • Education
  • Impatience

How do the above influence our driving skills (or the lack of it)?

Size of our population

We are around a billion people and counting. Although 80% of our population
lives in the rural areas, economic factors are beginning to drive more and more people to the cities in search of a better life. This is increasing the population in cities where existing infrastructure, more often than not, is creaking under the burden of additional population. To put this in perspective, apparently Bangalore attracts around 3000 migrants everyday and adds 5000 vehicles everyday! The more the population, the more vehicles on small roads and therefore more chaos!

Size of our country

India has an area of 3,287,590 square KM or 1,229,737 square Miles, with a billion people. To get some perspective around this number, the US has an area of 9,631,420 square KM or 5,984,685 square miles with 300 million people, which is around 3 times the area of India with a third of our population! So obviously the density of people per square mile or KM is very high in India.

Pause, to think of the consequences!

Cultural and Language Differences

India has 23 scheduled languages and various dialects as recognized by our constitution! So assuming that a truck driver from North India has to drive to the South or vice versa, the chances of the driver speaking in any language apart from the native language he speaks is infinitesimally small! Most of the signage in India is in the local language of the state the driver is in or in English! Chances that a driver would have got a license by paying out bribes are pretty high! Pray, tell me how will anyone understand the signage?


India has a literacy rate of 65.38%, so again think of the truck driver – chances that he being educated is small, chances that he knows a language different from his native tongue, tends towards zero.


Anyone who has lived in this great country of ours or anyone who has visited here will attest to the fact that everyone is always in a hurry! In the morning, yes there could be an office emergency, call or a meeting – in fact I was talking to a friend of mine and he has a very interesting theory around this – He opines that the urge to “get there” (read as being successful) and “get there” first is so overwhelming, simply because there at least a million other people who also want to “get there”. This I can accept and live with!

How in the world can you explain the peak hour chaos in the evening? More often than not, most people are getting home after a hard days work – why can't people chill out, listen to music or do anything to relax – Nope, everyone is yet a hurry!

So it is going to be implausible that the population of the country suddenly tapers off, the size of the country suddenly expanding, the cultural and language differences disappearing, the education levels suddenly skyrocketing and certainly impossible for the impatience to dissipate and replaced by patience. Ergo, we as country will continue to remain as we are!

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