Monthly Archives: June 2010

Driving Discipline… Is US any different than India?

Something that has really fascinated me about the US is the driving discipline. People follow lane rules, follow speed limits, yield to pedestrians, etc… etc… Most of this I haven’t seen in India.

But when I look closer, all of these are happening here not really because people here are really disciplined. Its because their infrastructure is letting them be disciplined. Here the density of vehicle population per square meter on the road is a lot less than the density of population in India. When people on American roads go through a little bit of additional stress with respect to traffic, they just go crazy. Suddenly all the disciplined drivers have disappeared. It’s a free for all situation.

Today I just went for some monthly vegetables and groceries shopping to Costco which is like 10 miles away from my apartment. As usual the road authorities have started road work on the Interstate that takes me to Costco (They do this all through the year… Just keep doing road work… which is good.. nothing to complain)… A three lane traffic was suddenly forced into a single lane for a small stretch… I saw so many vehicles driving on the shoulder, honking at each other, driving really close to the other vehicle, moving from one lane to the other thinking that the other lane moves faster, blocking the way for service vehicles, and all sorts of things which we dont get to see normally in Pittsburgh.

Although this is unusual in Pittsburgh, I have seen this is how people drive in New York everyday. There is absolutely no lane rules, no respect for pedestrians, it is just free for all… Its simply because the density of vehicle population on roads is a lot more in NY as compared to Pittsburgh…

I think there are three categories of drivers :
a) Those to follow and respect rules to ensure their and others safety irrespective of the country in which they drive
b) Those who follow and respect rules if sufficient infrastructure is provided. But in the absence of a good supporting infrastructure they don’t follow rules
c) Those don’t care about rules anywhere.

Am sure every country has a good mix of all the three. Its just that it’s a lot more glaring in India and less obvious in countries like US.