Life in a Slow Lane

Life is like a long road journey, driving in a comfortable 04-wheeler. If you drive at a leisurely pace , there are more chances of enjoying the drive and reaching the destination safely, in a relaxed state of mind. If you drive like a race driver, then ideally your journey should be of shorter distance or for a shorter period of time. If it is not, then either you do not believe in enjoying the drive or simply you are a robot with an active heart and few bottles of liquid blood circulating inside your veins.

Here, I am exclusively talking about people who love driving and believe in driving for pleasure or commuting to work. Commercial drivers are a different species altogether and they have to consider a lot of factors which affect their driving habits. Size of vehicle is a big factor on road and mistakes also carry bigger repercussions based on the mass of vehicle.

Another category of drivers who occupy roads use 02-wheelers of various dimensions and it is the largest category of drivers (especially in low and middle-income countries of the world ) which includes almost every section of a society. Bike aficionados also form a major chunk of this segment who mostly drive for fun and adventure.

Cyclists are the lowest strata of road users in most countries except some richer western countries where Cycle tracks occupy the pride of place among city planners. Cycles are used by both poor and rich persons for obviously different reasons. Rich people use it for recreational purpose and poor people use it for sustaining life as it is the most economical means of commuting for a large number of people on earth. Pollution-less status of Cycles have helped in advancing it’s usage among environmentally -conscious people who can afford to shun public transport for shorter distances.

It is an established fact that all the above-mentioned category of drivers come on the road due to some reasons or why else they will use a transport ?

So, if everyone is a conscious human being and driving for a defined purpose on the road, why do road accidents happen ?

Reasons are manifold but negligence may top the list. I will bypass the safety and other reasons for the simple fact that if an accident has happened , negligence may have played some part in any of the factor related with vehicle, road, people or circumstances.

Speed can also be listed as one of the reasons in majority of cases. Few million people die around the world every year and majority of them are males.

Why do more males die in road accidents ?

Not that males are bad drivers or bad users of road. May be, females are better drivers, but debating driving skills won’t do any good in this case.

For the simple fact that in majority of nation, more males remain on the road at any time of the day.

Moreover, in road accidents, more people die in low and middle-income countries as compared to richer countries. Reasons are obvious – better and safe vehicles, better road infrastructure and defined space for everyone on the road, better implementation of rules/regulations, better emergency response system, etc. are some of the factors.

However, nowadays , self-driving cars have joined the fun on roads. But, vehicle without drivers is a concept which many people are unable to digest for the simple reason that if accidents happen on the road then there is no chance of road-rage or the resultant melee associated with road accidents.Chaos of road accident is too tempting for human beings and that’s why accidents keep happening regularly. Ironically, when a self-driving car killed a person for the first time ever in Arizona in 2018, human error was determined to be the root cause.

What an irony ?

If a human is to be blamed for an accident by a self-driving car then what is the purpose of autonomous cars ?

So, do not believe in technology as far as driving skills are concerned.

Driving is an in-built ability which some people possess intrinsically and some learn it religiously. Speed is the most vital factor in controlling a moving object. If you are moving at a slower pace then chances of survival in road accidents increases exponentially. No matter how much safety devices are invented, if you can’t control your instincts on the road than you are doomed.

One of the largest segment of online games consists of Racing and Speed games and Z-generation kids love it on the screen. But there is difference in virtual reality and black tarmac in real life.Hopefully, when these kids grow up, better sense will prevail.

I have been a fan of Fast and Furious series but was shaken by the death of actor Paul Walker in 2013 who seemed to be a perfect driver in every sense of the term.

Running in fast lane may have it’s thrill but life in slow lane looks cosy and comfortable.

I love Cycling due to this reason only as it keeps you grounded in every sense. It is also healthy to use it regularly and many fitness enthusiasts swear by the benefits of this ancient medium of transport.

But, that topic deserves another blog. May be some other day.

8 Comments on “Life in a Slow Lane

  1. Driving has been linked with two facets of life one is thrill/ recreational activity and second is for sustainability/ requirement of leading life.
    Facts are narrated in very simple words and credit goes to the writer. He has turned the Casual Thoughts in synopsis of events. But somewhere missed the fact that casualties on roads are more attributed to the persons not commanding the steering.
    For instance the pot holes created during tyre change of big containers, stone boulders placed on roads to dry food grains and left there even after grains are removed. Overenthusiastic paddlers ready to run and cross the roads with no concerns about the approaching vehicles. Lack of segregation of highways from residential clusters making them prone to easy access of children and cattle.

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  2. Well-said Anupam.
    I do agree with your viewpoint. Reasons of road accidents are not easy to enumerate and depends upon the circumstances of a particular case. I just wish to initiate a debate regarding this life-and-death issue.

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  3. Well written! Liked the idea that if humans are to be blamed for a self-driving car accident, what is the point of having such a technology? But no matter how much we may dislike it, such a technology is the future of transportation. What worries me though is the number of jobs people are going to loose by adoption of such a technology. And how automated the whole experience will end up being for an average fun loving drivers like many of us.

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  4. Well written sir.
    Life in a slow Lane at leisurely pace allows us to enjoy the aesthetics, serenity of the world which is there ever welcoming us to feel it ,to live it. River nurtures the civilizations in it’s plain….

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  5. Wonderful observation Anand.
    Though, the age of autonomous vehicles is round the corner but there are several teething issues. It won’t be easy for our generation to adopt such systems in near future as nothing can replace the fun of a long drive as we know it now.

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  6. Sure Sudhir.
    Cycling can’t be summed up in one blog , it can be extended in a web series sort of story with interesting twists and turns in each episode.

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