Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Three days of ‘No Honking’

On last Sunday, we took a trip in our car to a nearby hill, and on the way, we met with a minor accident involving hitting a dog. The dog scurried away, but for some reason, my horn stopped working. I didn’t get a chance to get it fixed, and hence I have been driving my car without a horn for the last three days.

I didn’t think that it would be possible to drive the car without a horn in this country, but well, to my surprise, I am beginning to like it. So, what’s the big difference driving without a horn? Well, now I am extra careful when I am driving since I cannot expect the other person to move away. This experience is very similar to what I had experienced when I was driving a motorbike in USA. One has to train oneself quite seriously to ride a motorbike in that country. The reason being that USA is mostly a car driven country and there are very few motorbikers. A motorbiker has to ride extra cautiously. The onus of being made visible to other drivers on the road lies with the motor biker. The reason is simple- If you make a mistake, you die. And if the car driver makes a mistake, you die. One has to anticipate other people’s movement, be always on alert and take precautions beforehand. Being casual about it can result in a fatality. There are no seatbelts or airbags. And the helmets sometime only act as a cage to contain your brain from spilling over.

Driving without a horn for the last three days has made me drive my car extra cautiously- when I saw few kids playing in the nearby yard, I was extra careful to make sure none of them enters the road. Earlier, all I did was just honk and keep driving. Now, I have to make sure I keep distance from this lady who seems to walk very loosely and who shows disposition to cross the road anytime now without ever looking my way.

A friend of mine tells me that Indians are the most trusting people on the planent. No other people handover the responsibility of deciding the fate of their lives onto others the way Indians do each day when they drive on the streets. They just honk and hope the other person would swerve from their original path to save them from getting into a major accident, they just enter the mainroad without even looking believing that the other person would screech to a halt, they just overtake and keep blinking their lights and hope that act alone would save them from a direct collision.

If all the horns on every car and motorbike gets bust, we would definitely have a more peaceful nation. I also believe that many of us would take back that responsibility that we gave away of saving our lives, and start behaving more responsibly taking charge of our own fates. That would build character and we would see more and better leaders.

Instead of the current charade of creating leaders by debates and SMS votes, I think TOI should just campaing for no horns! That would spawn more leaders in this country.


  1. Someone once told me that in Delhi if you are a pedestrian and want to cross a road, the trick is to pretend that you have not seen the approaching vehicle. If the driver comes to know that you have seen him, he will not stop. He will stop only if he thinks that you have not seen him, because no-one actually wants to kill you. I mean they don't really care if you die, but it unnecassarily adds lot of paper work and everyone wants to avoid that.

  2. Ahh, How I wished this happened.
    I had a bell in my old cycle, which I used to ring merrily, right, left and center. In my new one, there's no bell. I ride with much more attention and care. No problems or accidents.

    It would seriously reduce noise pollution.. and contribute to mental peace of the public on the roads and in buildings adjacent to the roads.
    Unfortunately, most Indians just love noise, cacophony and bustle, so I don't see that happening. They would rather stop driving than drive without horns (pun intended). :-)

  3. I have driven all m y life without honking. It definitely makes my driving safer. Anyways, everyone already knows that the brakes are a safer bet than the horn. The sad part is people (India) who I've tried to convince to stop honking refuse to accept that honking is bad. In fact, some go the ridiculous extent of saying that you should use it just because your car has it. I know people who actually pay a few thousand rupees more to have an extra-loud horn installed in their vehicles !


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