Every morning we start our day by having breakfast with our loved ones to make our day go honey but the moment we begin our journey on roads we face an unending problem of traffic jams. The dreams of the people get shattered every day because of the bottlenecks created by endless delays. Traffic jams are not only frustrating but are also a major contributor of air pollution as well. That’s bad for not just our climate, but takes a heavy toll on our health too. During rush hours, traffic jams add long cumulative queues wasting our precious time juggling the mess on roads. For the last many years the condition of our roads is getting from bad to worse.
Wider roads can accommodate large number of vehicles but in Srinagar city particularly, we are facing the problem of narrow roads and their traffic carrying capacity is very minimal. Furthermore, the highway capacity has increased tremendously from the past making these narrow roads more vulnerable to long traffic jams. We turn nuts when the journey of minutes stretches to journey of hours. If we spare a thought for drivers in Srinagar, we can imagine their plight of affairs on roads. Most of the people behind the wheels suffer on roads due to traffic mismanagement and congestion.
The nightmares of traffic a jam makes me remind of an incident that I will remember forever. It was a cold winter morning of October, 2019 and a good day to take my mathematics examination. I had to take the route from Ghanta Ghar Lal Chowk, Srinagar to reach to my examination centre but the congestion of traffic made the way too long to go. The actual reason of the traffic was not clear but all I know is that I was feeling nervous that I might miss my exam. After two attempts of re-routing, I reached the examination centre only ten minutes prior to the start of my examination despite of the fact that I left home well in time. I think that my mother deserves the credit for her excellent driving skills and my luck that worked well in time on that day.
Nowadays frequent traffic jams have become a nuisance that hampers our society at large. Imagine a person who is in need of critical care, gets stuck for hours on the way to hospital due to rampant traffic jams, snatches away all the chances of his survival. If an expectant mother faces the same problem on the way to hospital one can imagine the dreadful outcome. Also in other cases like interviews, job opportunities, carrier options and catching the flights, the traffic jams shatter all the dreams.
The traffic jams at rush hours is wasting fruitful human hours as well. Furthermore, bottlenecks in the road and the sheer volume of cars are obvious sources of congestion adding misery to the lives of common people. There is the economic cost of lost hours (both work and leisure) and delayed shipments associated with it. Drivers in the congested cities sit for hours in traffic jams every year; wasting money, time and fuel while coping with that. On an average many days are getting wasted behind the wheels, if we calculate the total number of hours wasted in congested areas. Besides the time and risk of life, other issues like pollution, wastage of resources and agitated behavior of drivers is also being noticed at areas facing traffic jams. As many vehicles are stranded at a particular area therefore, the pollution from the vehicles make the air more polluted, smoky and unfit for breathing. The drivers waiting in traffic jams for hours makes them restless and their behavior gets agitated making them prone to psychological issues. Agitated drivers start overtaking and argue with other fellow travelers to make a way out of the traffic jams. Risk of accident is also posed when there is a heavy traffic on the roads. While every city has its unique set of traffic problems, there are a few common issues; many people insist on driving their own car, instead of sharing rides or using a bicycle; up to a third of cars on roads are drivers looking for a place to park on roads; and then there’s the human factor, most of us simply are not very efficient drivers.
In order to reduce the growing traffic mess on the roads, we must come up with some fruitful initiatives to counter this menace. People living close to their offices must prefer walking to their respective places rather than using the vehicles. We must follow the traffic rules and regulations in letter and spirit and must consider the safety of fellow pedestrians on the roads. Disobeying traffic rules should be dealt with heavy fines and the loss of driving license as well. The solution to beating traffic congestion in cities, if it comes, will probably take a long time to reap rewards. But if at least some of the new ideas are a success – whether it’s inculcating good driving sense among drivers, smart parking spaces, widening of roads - the days of epic traffic jams may finally go into the dustbin of history.
(Author is a Student)