Rants of a Pakistani Driver

Monday, October 24, 2016


Photo Source
“Why do I always forget that traffic is a social affair?”

 Stefan Emunds

Preface: If your morning or afternoon or evening commute has ever caused you to nearly spontaneously bawl in your car seat, you’ll likely sympathize with me or any other driver you know (not to mention yourself). There are days when I wish I was still a kid being dropped to school by my dad and being picked up in a school van, to avoid any sort of direct or indirect road contact with the other so-called drivers. Those of you who know me personally would know that I drive only in Islamabad, which is supposed to be every driver's dream (at least in Pakistan). However, the city has its downside in driving and I've lately observed and blurted out (I am usually a calm individual, though) a few times on the road, so I thought maybe I should share it with the world. 

So my first rant as a Pakistani driver is against the drivers who love speeding; they whoosh pass you like a ghost or some sort of a supernatural creature. Sometimes, I can even feel my car tossing lightly as a result of the blowing off wind they leave behind while flash-passing. You see a speeding car all dinged and banged up and you wonder what kind of damage would finally knock some sense into the speeding driver! I mean, what’s the emergency after all? Do you need to use the restroom? Like is it really that bad? If you speed a little (occasionally), it is acceptable but if you’re in a habit of speeding dramatically pretending to be a flash-man then you should certainly reconsider before you cream your innocent victim!

Then you're likely to bump into tailgaters on the roads of Islamabad (or more appropriately put; they're likely to bump into you). Often you have to reassure yourself they aren't roped to your car or something. I mean, keep some distance, you clingy! How can anyone in their right mind drive within a few inches at a considerably decent speed? I believe you when you say you've super reactive brakes, a well-gripped set of tyres, and that you're an excellent driver (I highly doubt the last part, though), but you can still fail to avoid an accident if you tailgate. Sometimes people brake unexpectedly or even slow down significantly; you could easily hit the car. Tailgaters seem to be clueless about basic physics, human reaction times, and common sense. They must be ignorant of many things: they must be under the delusion that somehow there could never be a need to react at a snap, or that they will somehow be able to stop quicker than the driver in the front – dangerously wishful thinking!

I’ve seen people in Peshawar and Lahore running the stoplights, owing to their impatience and with much delight and a big smile knowing they’ve won beating the system. Islamabad doesn’t see that a lot. Just a few sneaking through the red lights by a microsecond before the orange goes red; know that you are still an offender. You could crash into another while still making your way through the intersection, when light has already turned green for another lane. Patience, mate!

OK so you think you’re cool because you can text while driving? Give me a break! Driving needs full concentration and so does texting, so this multi-tasking is of no good. Either put your phone down and drive or just sit at home and use it!

There are two extremes that I often find myself sandwiched between on right lane. There are those cussed drivers who love hanging out in the right lane, even if they are slower than the flow of the traffic. Come on, just get to the left lane; you don’t belong here. Speed limits are arbitrary, subject not to safety or engineering, but rather politics (so to say). If you cannot do politics; just resign and unseat yourself! And then there are those who keep flashing their brights at you and won’t leave you alone unless and until you get out of their way. Sometimes, it’s just not convenient moving to the other lane (especially when there is traffic on it). Please grow up, dude. This isn't a video game; a little bit of patience won’t eat you up. Impatience could though! 

Next you'll meet those who use the high beam headlights even within the city (and there are many), blinding your vision making you see a thousand splendid suns even in the darkest of nights. I curse you and your sight, you ignorant driver! Who gave you the license? - sorry, for losing it a bit here! Phew! 

Ever encountered those pulled over on roadsides and just when you are close, they veer in front of you; all this without the use of any indicators (what are indicators, again?).

Often when I am stuck in traffic and obviously I have no way to go, I get honked by anxious souls waiting right behind me. Honking is not going to move my car. I assure you I already know I'm blocking your path and you blowing your horn constantly are only going to piss me off and create noise pollution in the country's capital. I can’t just fly over; if you can, please go ahead, fly and stop honking. Yet, a considerable percentage believes they don’t have to wait it out with the rest of us in traffic lines, bolting down the slightly moving lane until someone lets them in or they forcefully merge in front of someone who is patient and doesn’t close up tight enough to thwart letting them in (that would be me!).

And then those ‘sweet, innocent’ bikers, who assume no rules apply to them. They try to run over pedestrians and even cars ten times their size. They have delusions – they think they are flying in the air and just when you stop at a signal, they make their way through zigzag moves and stop right in front of your face, swirling and waving like an eagle. It's actually shocking the way they fix themselves with such ease and sobriety. 

How can I forget the rubberneckers!!! Why do people rubberneck everything??? Even the buildings or the posters they see every single day. So, is there an accident on the road? Do you want to go help? No? Yes, of course all you wish to do is indulge your morbid curiosity.

OK now a little advice for the traffic cops!! I'm big on traffic enforcement but trust me, you don't have to stop people in high traffic areas: signal them to move to where you won't block traffic. And you aren’t paid only to ticket drivers for not fastening their seat belts. There are a million other rules too that they’re breaking so learn to be more versatile.

By not following the traffic rules and not being a careful driver, you are not only putting your life in danger but also that of others. It's totally unjust: you could smash people in an instant because of your fault alone, and they can't do anything about it except haunt you for the rest of your life (that too only if you’re sensitive enough to blame yourself and not them). Be a good citizen and follow the traffic rules religiously!

Here is to all the drivers out there, reading this and being able to relate to it! Happy safe driving!!!

You Might Also Like

22 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading all above, at least I'm not the only one who face these clumsy things on road. Everybody is in rush, and give damn to other people on road. We as nation getting impatient and self centered, this create ls growing problems each day.

    Good work Amna, keep writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your input and the words of appreciation!
      That's true...each and every car on the road seems to be in a mad rush. They fail to realize that their impatience could be fatal.

      Delete
  2. Would that all drivers were able to read this and would that,of course, all who can read;must read !beautifully explained!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, sir :) Your appreciation means a lot to me.

      Delete
  3. Magnanimous piece of writing..Awesome read.

    ReplyDelete
  4. well done madam, u truly are hell of a writer!! any may be a driver!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WOW! I can totally relate to this. You just explained the scenario so briefly that their is nothing that I can add to this write-up. It has every bit of the words that come to my mind when I am driving on the road. Just loved this post. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha looks like it's same everywhere in the world ;) thanks for the feedback, Nancy :)

      Delete
  6. Great post!! I loved reading this because I can totally relate!!! shell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shell :) Appreciate your feedback!

      Delete
  7. Nice help and tips for road drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL! This is something I would write to calm my road rage down? Let me tell you, these people out here don't deserve a license!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha you got that right. Love the cathartic effect of writing :) And yes, their licenses should never have been issued at the first place but now that it can't be undone, the authorities can at least take the licenses back! LOL

      Delete
  9. I spend about 5 hours on the road for my work commute (I really need to move closer). Anyways, I have ran into every single situation that you mention lol. I'm sorry lol but people suck lol. Sometimes I wonder how they even got a license because some of these people shouldn't even be on bikes lol....well and then you have the bikers LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So these situations seem universal :D Bikers are actually very annoying.. motorists are from another planet altogether :D

      P.S 5 hours daily commute is a tough call! Especially considering how these crazy drivers on the roads outnumber drivers like ourselves.

      Delete
  10. There are so many undisciplined drivers all over the planet, this situation is universal. .Thank you for these helpful, nice tips .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah now I know it's universal :D I thought it was just me !

      Delete
  11. I think you will find such drivers almost in every country just the difference would be of the quantity. But I guess it's the people who become like this, either they are driver or in some other profession. But really like the way author has described everything.. Thanks for sharing with us

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank for the comment ! Yes! I guess road ethics is something very few people in the world are aware of.

      Delete

Amna's Goodreads Bookshelf

To Kill a Mockingbird
Animal Farm
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Odyssey
A Tale of Two Cities
Frankenstein
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Les Misérables
Eat, Pray, Love
The Poisonwood Bible
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Lolita
Under the Tuscan Sun


Amna Tariq Shah's favorite books »