We often see vehicles on roads with their rear-view mirrors shut. Why? I can only think of the following reasons:

  1. Ctrl Z (character who doesn’t follow rules) thinks that with vehicles moving in such close quarters, there is a good chance of mirrors getting hit and broken.
  2. Ctrl Z trusts his peripheral vision more than looking at a rear view mirror.
  3. Rear view mirrors have been stolen/broken and Ctrl Z never bothered to get them repaired.

As a child most things that are inculcated in you, remain with you. Similarly, with driving what you learn in the beginning remains with you forever, since we are all averse to change. Ctrl Z may argue that he is a safe driver even with his rear-view mirrors shut. He broadly operates within the domain of karma where you do your best, and leave the results to your insurance company.

The worst use of rear-view mirrors in Delhi is represented by the auto-rickshaws. Autos provide a convenient and viable mode of transport in Delhi. According to a recent report in Times of India, there are 2 lakh more auto-rickshaws to be added to the current fleet of 1 lakh auto-rickshaws in Delhi. Add that to several other three wheelers like delivery vans, water tankers, DTKs, and pickup standards, etc., which ply on Delhi roads. I want to highlight one thing which has been ignored or not noticed so far and if corrected can solve if not most but some areas of traffic concerns.

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Rear-view mirrors in three-wheelers pointing inwards

Because rear-view mirrors point inwards in more than 80% of auto-rickshaws in Delhi, they tend to notice traffic from behind a bit late. With a triangular body shape, three-wheelers should have their rear-view mirrors pointing outwards so that they can spot the vehicle from the back at the right time. Auto-rickshaws with rear-view mirrors pointing inwards tend to:

  • Surprise you by turning suddenly (most of them don’t do it on purpose, just that they spot you late).
  • Rely on their peripheral vision.
  • Step on brakes suddenly not realizing there is a vehicle at the back.

It’s about time this area of concern was addressed, which will only benefit people in the long run.

Manoj Madhavan (@manojvirtual)

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