I drive and I like driving. It helps me to think, debate with myself, think of new things and driving calm me down. At least it used to. Not anymore. I am not boasting. I drive a Honda Insight; a hybrid car. It tells me my fuel efficiency as I drive. Once I drove from Kadawatha, Sri Lanka to Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka back and forth with one tankful of gasoline. Nearly 700 km. When there is no traffic I can drive to work in 25 minutes and my car does about 22 km per liter of gasoline. With traffic sometimes I have taken 1 hour 40 minutes and 7 km per liter. I only realized this because my car shows those numbers. I will point out (in my opinion) why there is so many traffic jams in Sri Lanka, in this part 1.
I think a lot about how the traffic flow work. I wonder how Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, materials science, chemistry and psychology works during driving. Even for the people who are not well versed with mathematics, their brain will do so many relative speed (velocity) calculations before changing a lane, accelerate or decelerate. Those motor cyclists, do many more like that as they are a dot compared many vehicles in a road. Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry, runs the car but psychology actually drives it. Do these three wheeler with the driver’s children’s name on the back of the vehicle, really think about them and the family when they drive like this; my mind wonders. Do these motor cycles with parents and 3 kids riding on them be allowed to endanger their kids like this?
In my opinion many factors contributes to the traffic jams in Sri Lanka. In no particular order they are;
1. Road Condition. Although many roads are being built and resurfaced, there are still many more not good enough to drive smoothly
2. Motor Cycles – not adhering to any road rules. Creating their own lane, riding on the wrong side of the road. All these lead to breaking and slowing down of all the big vehicles. Each of the small delays adds up to a big delay. Most of the time they go to the front of the traffic at a light but they don’t have pick up to drive away fast. This makes few larger vehicles to miss the light and jam to get longer.
3. Three Wheeler – Most of the above comments
4. Smaller cars – Most of the above comments
5. General disregard of the rules – Lots of people use politicians as an example. I agree but just because one does something wrong, we all should not follow it. Do any of the drivers know that there are traffic lanes?
6. Slow drivers on the right most lane – self explanatory
7. Oversize vehicles on narrow roads – self explanatory
8. Bad drivers – self explanatory
9. Leaner drivers – most of the time they come to road in the rush hour
10. Attitude – Even when one driver does something wrong, they talk and act like the other driver is at fault. Most of the people think they can win with words though they are at fault. People say if you can drive in Sri Lanka, you can drive anywhere – that is the dumbest, stupidest thing I have ever heard. Just because one act like an idiot, they will not learn anything.
11. Problem with the Police – there are not enough men on the road. They use archaic methods to issue a fine, which simply takes too much time. Payment of the fine add on to further loss of productivity in the country. They ignore certain offenses thinking they are minor. Generally there is no implementation of the road rules.
12.Pedestrians – sometimes this is related to the road (side walk) conditions. Sometime they cross the road as and when they want. Sometimes they just walk in the middle of the road. Sometimes they intentionally block the road on protests and on other situation like building structures for functions.
13. Politicians – mainly not caring and not setting an example to the public. Not doing anything to solve the problem
14. Technology – distracted drivers, non-functioning traffic lights, etc.
Next time I will try to write something about solutions I wonder about while driving. In the meantime we could do our part. To save fuel, to save the environment, to increase the productivity, to decrease the stress and related illnesses, to be better citizens of humanity, be considerate while driving.