Do Not overtake from the left...

This is one rule that is seen on highways often - a rule that needs to be followed meticulously. In many places, traffic police seem to enforce this rule with enthusiasm. Recently, the Kochi City Police came with an idea of "Model Road".  They declared the Edappally-Vyttila-Aroor section as a "Model Road" - where all motorists were required to follow all highway rules. The rules imposed were - maximum speed of 70kmph for light vehicles, strict lane discipline and no overtakes through the left.

The cops were enthusiastically pulling up violators - overspeeding was caught using speed radars, and traffic wardens were posting at many places on the road. So far so good. However, the police said "No Overtakes from the left" - but they never tried understanding why motorists were overtaking through the left. The Government of Kerala even launched a video campaign as part of their "Road Safety Campaign" - the videos included those intended to induce alertness about use of mobile phones while driving, using zebra mark for crossing the road, lane discipline and so on.

In one video which was intended to convey the message "no overtakes through the left" - the message was conveyed by showing a trucker driving slowly (crawling would be the correct word here) on the fast lane (the right lane on a 4 lane road) and a car driver honking continuously from behind. The car driver finally overtakes through the left. The message comes up "even on four lane roads, one should overtake through the right". All is well - BUT - why on earth isn't the video focusing on the trucker who does not change lanes to allow the vehicle behind to overtake him??

In the two years of driving in Kerala, I find that overtaking through the left is inevitable while driving through the few kilometres of four-laned roads in Kerala! The reason: the head-weighted average Malayalee would not let any one overtake them! Try this on a road: the moment you start overtaking a slow moving car, he'll start pulling to the right - the reason: you have not finished the tenure of tortoise race punishment. You try overtaking through the left, he'll pull left. So on four lane roads, the tactic would be - try overtaking on the right, he'll pull right. Use that moment to overtake him from the left!

While I don't support overtaking through the left, it is inevitable in our ill-mannered state. The lack of road sense is shocking. Our RTOs insist on drawing "8"s and "H"s for getting a licence. The simple solution - driving schools teach wannabe drivers only to drive "8" or "H". These drivers after confidently winning their license, get on to the road to try out "8" or "H" on the road - in the process pulling out all the senses out of other drivers.

Here is one incident - I was driving back home today, on the typical one-and-a-half laned "Non" Highway in Kerala (once called the NH-17, now NH-66). There one one old white coloured yellow-board Ambassador crawling at 30kmph. This bugger would start pulling to the right the moment I try to overtake him - I really do not understand what did he achieve by that. After testing my patience for a good 10 minutes, I managed to overtake him at one tricky point. The next time you crawl on the road, remember that you are putting the life of the guy following you into risk - because he'd make dangerous attempts to overtake you. What do you achieve by not letting him overtake? You have anyways decided to go slow - why force others too to go slow?


Ace said…
I saw in matrubhoomi news paper that it was the NH 47 which got renamed to NH 66 and not the NH 17.
Binai K Sankar said…
@Ace.. NH-47 got renumbered as NH-566. NH-17 was renumbered as NH-66, and has been extended from Edappally to Kanyakumari. So, the old NH47 (NH566) is now from Salem to Edappally, and the old NH17 (now NH66) is from Panvel to Kanyakumari.