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The Rare View

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.


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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Flyovers, road widening, improved public transport – these are large scale, big budget solutions to traffic issues. But there are also several ‘small scale’ problems which, if effectively addressed, can actually result in substantial improvements to daily traffic flow. One such problem is “Drive in your lane”. It is such a simple rule, but governed by laws and rules of etiquette. The rule exists to keep the flow of traffic at a steady pace; instead, the rule is ignored because of selfishness, idiocy and most times, unawareness of Mr.CtrlZ – the guy who doesn’t follow rules.

So, do we drive on the left, right or middle of the road? Well… just ascertain the direction, trust your instincts and keep going, because Mr.Ctrl Z believes that adherence to road rules would lead to misery; he doesn’t drive, instead just works his vehicle in a particular direction at his own pace and leisure.


A couple of years ago, in one of the London tubes, I noticed people looking at me when I was nicely perched on an escalator to get to the next tube. It was later, after a couple of such trips, that I realized I was not following the escalator norms. I was standing on the left side of the escalator. So what, right? Well…To give a little background to those who are unaware of escalator etiquettes- you must stand on the right side of the escalator in order to allow others to move by swiftly. I realized this only after looking at a hoarding which suggested so.

b log_road

Similarly, unaware of the fact that the extreme right lane is meant for overtaking, Mr Ctrl Z finds it a safe lane for driving at a slow speed, resulting in unwanted cluster of vehicles behind him (see graphic). In such a situation the driver is left with no option but to take his vehicle to “wherever the gap is”. For instance, if he is on the right of the road, unless that is occupied, he goes to the middle, unless that is also occupied, he occupies the next available gap, as in a car racing video game.

Overtaking Mr.Ctrl Zs would mean a huge risk. Mr Ctrl Zs, despite several honks and instruction signs, insist on driving in the right lane. It is not confusion; it is feeble-mindedness. Ctrl Zs are not citing traffic laws or actual evidence but their own personal sense of what is right. They may also defend themselves by telling drivers not to be impatient or worse, to take the middle or the left lane to move ahead of them. But by doing so, they are asking drivers to break the law and put two wheelers or slow moving vehicles at risk.

I believe that out of 1 million drivers in Delhi if only 5 percent would understand what I am trying to say we would save enough time, energy and petrol in our country/city.

Please share your comments below.

Manoj Madhavan (@manojvirtual)

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