I just started driving a four-wheeler on the Indian roads for the first time. Of course, I am training my brain to make sure I enter a road on the left side and not the right side, to anticipate random people coming from any direction any time, so on. However, driving at night is such a tough task - many cars, trucks, vans and even two-wheelers drive using high-beam ON. Driving at night puts so much pressure on the driver to the point of being completely unbearable and downright risky.
You are completely blinded when facing such high-beam headlights. You can’t see the curb, you don’t know if there is a pot-hole or not, you don’t know if there is a pedestrian or not. For few seconds you are completely blind – you don’t know where you are going, and you lose your bearing.
I am quite sure that I am not the only one who is blinded by such high-beam headlights. I am quite sure most humans do get blinded by such high-beam lights. In fact, most animals do. They just stare at the oncoming vehicle and get run over.
So, how come we still use high-beam headlights while driving in a city, or on a road with oncoming traffic? Isn’t it obvious for each driver the inconvenience and discomfort it causes? Why do they continue to practice something that causes so much discomfort while enduring that discomfort? Is it something like, ‘Yes, I know I am doing something stupid here, but I would like to continue doing it because others are doing it!’
Instead of escalating the problem, why don’t we tone it down? Like, driving on low-beam in the city, and moving to low-beam in face of oncoming traffic? One would expect that it is the most sensible thing to do. It is just common sense. I have driven for many years in US (and
What is it about us that don’t allow us to practice something that makes sense right away? Is government involved here? Is the system wrong here? Are the politicians corrupt here? Is it caste-politics or communalism here? What is it in play here?
Or is it just about our attitude- the utter lack of social responsibility?
This lack of social responsibility is seen in other phases too. I was watching two young girls walking on the road next to my office. Very nonchalantly, they just threw trash, plastic and paper on the middle of the road while conversing away to glory. That particular scene was imprinted in my brain. They were educated girls, could be college-going or could be software professionals, they were nicely dressed, were talking in English. But just look at the apathy. I am not illustrating this to accuse those two girls. This shows how we raise our kids, how we teach our kids, how we as adults do not set examples where necessary, or may be, we do set examples- but they turn out to be bad examples, like driving with full-beam lights knowing very well how inconvenient that is to everyone!
Imagine the conversation, where the son says, “But Dad, this big light completely blinds us. Then, how come we are driving with big lights?” and the Dad replies, “This is the only way to get ahead in this country, son! Push or be pushed!”