Reckless use of Car Horns (including Police Sirens in Chennai, India) — Sharp contrast to what you get to see in US

 Sometime back we have been discussing about ‘Admirable Traffic System in US‘. As a followup discussion to this post, I just thought of sharing here about the use of horns and police siren usage that is followed here and in US. Thanks to my colleague (Arun Sundaresh) for clarifying on the thoughts and doubts that I used to ask him. 

  1. In US, the lane discipline is strictly followed. You can not find a reckless overtaking anywhere. I learnt that high speed vehicles cling on to the innermost lane of the road whilst slow moving vehicles take up the lane near the rim or periphery of the road. Also, whilst negotiating turns, you can find for sure, indicators are used without fail.

    In sharp contrast to these, at least in Chennai, India you can find a reckless overtaking. Particularly when there is a traffic jam, you can find even a big truck overtaking and taking the opposite direction lane. I admit that the roads are small and median dividers are missing. But that shouldn’t cause flouting of traffic rules right? You can find these incidents regularly in Velachery Tambaram road near Pallikaranai and near Velachery Bypass Road.

  2. In US, horns are honked very rarely. When a horn is sounded it means the other person (going ahead in most cases) on whom the horn was intended is actually offending or causing a traffic hardship to others. Some examples are:
    1. Joining the main highway from exit or side road without properly adhering to ‘Yield’.
    2. Very dangerous overtaking
    3. Incorrect lane discipline followed
    4. Incorrect speed being adopted whilst driving
  3. Arun also clarified me once while driving from Valley Ranch Walmart to our hotel regarding how the police sirens are to be intepreted:
    1. You can not find the cops visibly standing anywhere on the roads in most cases but you can be sure that they are watching the road condition at all times.
    2. When the cop puts up the lights on his patrol car, it means our car needs to be pulled up and we need to wait in the car till the officer comes to us for investigation.
    3. If the driver of the car does not obey the lights, the cop starts his patrol to initiate a chase. Only when there is a real need, the siren (sound) is switched on.
    4. Also, when the vehicle is pulled up, the driver is not expected to alight from the vehicle. The investigating officers would come near the vehicle, do some preliminary (safety) investigations and then start the interrogations on the actual offence besides appropriately ticketing the offender.
    5. In sharp contrast to these, the following are observed in India:
      1. The cops can be literally found chatting with the roadside tender cocunut shops, often getting a free drink.
      2. I have often found near Guindy Industrial Estate Transit Center (bus stop) that cops just keep have their lights flashing and sirens honking incessantly to shoo-shoo away the hawkers and autorickshaws which obstruct the traffic. I admit their good intent of clearing the traffic but the continuous use of sirens has a negative effect as below:
        1. The value of the siren is often brought down for hardcore criminals since it is commonly heard and hence people would not bother about it.
        2. Waste of patrol vehicle resources
        3. Unnecessary noise level on the roads.
        4. I have written about these to cop@vsnl.net a while back but there hasn’t been any concrete action on it hitherto.
  4. You can find horns in India used like crazy. While in US, our legs would be busy in accelerator and break and here I can say one hand finger is always pressed on the horns thus jeopardizing the calmness on the roads.

 Would state administration who is geared to modernize our police with latest infrastructure to protect the country see that these maladies are also addressed?