By Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
The whole world is alarmed at the levels air, water and land pollution. But, there’s a deafening silence when it comes to noise pollution. Be it human or machine-created, noise disrupts normal activity and the balance of life. Honking by motorists is the largest source of noise pollution. The menace of honking is increasing day-by-day in metro cities , in particular, aggravating noise pollution resulting in serious health hazards.
The indiscriminate use of the horn is due to lack of patience on part road users to follow rules and regulations. Everybody wants to reach everywhere first! In other countries, honking is considered uncivilized, but here, a cultural scene is attached to it.
Indiscipline is the root cause of rash driving using the power of one’s shrill horn. Our growing sumptuousness makes us more anti-social, and loud obnoxious public behavior(s) appear to be the norm. It is a way of overcoming our selfish ways and paying attention to courtesy and developing a civic sense on the roads. Many drivers take it as child`s play in horning without considering its seriousness, thereby inviting unnecessary rage and resentment of the public. While many drivers’ route to using the horn unnecessarily is due to a lack of awareness regarding the negative effects of noise pollution; however, most of them do it only due to the lack of civic sense.
Motorists are also eager at traffic signals. They use horns terribly and unnecessarily to seek way at intersections, roundabouts and at jam-packed stretches. In terms of creating noise pollution in cities, auto-rickshaws rank on top. One is sure to hear a dozen horns barking at oneself if his car does not budge the moment lights turn green. The menace of honking is especially rampant in residential colonies wherein youngsters make excessive use of the horn continuously while riding bikes just to flaunt their flashy vehicles.
In a milieu where people drive recklessly and where there are no clear traffic rules for people to follow, the horn is the only thing the drivers can rely on, while cautioning other drivers and while trying to have their way. Also, the politicians’ vehicles use the loudest of horns. Vehicles that have party flag think that they have the extra rights over the road than others. Motor and driving culture has to be imbibed in the education itself. Courteous driving is the best way to avoid stress while driving.
According to health experts, the sound of horns is linked to several modern-day illnesses, including high blood pressure, stress and blood-sugar levels. Our growing affluence makes us more anti-social, and loud obnoxious public behavior appears to be the norm. There is no thought given to the very young, the old and the sick. As per the Supreme Court, it is an offence to blow horns in five sensitive areas anywhere in the country. These are – at signals, during traffic jams, in residential areas, near hospitals, and near religious institutions. Most of us are not even aware of these rules and violate the law all the time.
Unnecessary honking and using shrill horns are a menace and we need to appeal to all people to help to curb it because no law or rule will help unless the driver changes his or her mindset. Lowering the decibel levels is not the priority; we have to educate people but, if they still persist with honking, corrective action should be taken. Every single individual should take a pledge to avoid honking and to drive defensively, carefully and with discipline.
The author is from Ahmedabad and writes on various social issues. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org