Saturday, May 24, 2008

Unlearning to drive

It is often required to unlearn old habits, before learning new ones. Driving, is clearly one such area.

The last generation largely grew up driving on narrow one lane roads, sometimes unpaved. Four wheelers were for a fortunate few, and that too in the last decade. We, in this generation, are indeed blessed to be driving more comfortable transport on wider roads. However what we seem to retain, are vestiges of driving skills from an earlier era.

We seem to have been thrust into an era of laned roads, without being taught the associated rules. To look at rear view mirrors, to use indicators while changing lanes, to suit lanes to speed, to wait at signals, to honk with reason... are some traits we've never learnt.

We continue to view four laned roads as a wide one laner with markers that never matter, zigzag as if we drove two wheelers and honk our way to glory, as if we were clinking those cycle bells.

None of this is more apparent anywhere in India than in NCR, a region endowed with awesome infrastructure... and with drivers with archaic driving etiquettes.

Now, I don't blame our forebearers (and us). Its just that change has been so rapid, that some of what we learnt (at times by observation), is now a liability. We have so much to unlearn, and so much to learn.

PS: The above is a hypothesis, based on just three data points, seeking to explain the mystery behind abysmal driving skills in the area where I live
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