Driving in Pakistan

2017/02/07 2 comments Zappy
?Driving in this country is impossible?? ?I hate the traffic in this country!?? ?Look at how he/she is driving!? are all among the ?many? phrases we have all heard (or said) over time by living and driving in Pakistan. I do however feel that it would be an unfair and highly subjective assessment (read emotional) to say that Pakistan has the worst traffic and driving environment in the world. One would have to look at cities like Mexico City (Mexico), Chengdu (China), Moscow (Russia) and Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) just to name a few major cities having the worst traffic situations from around the globe, statistically.

However whilst on my search to find statistics related to traffic congestion and driving in Pakistan I have come across an absence of official updated data to truly get an accurate quantitative understanding of the situation. The only statistic to go by are the number of total road fatalities in the latest year (being 2013) standing at 25,781 according to the WHO, not being far behind the United States which stood at 34,064 driving related deaths despite having a much greater number of vehicles overall. While the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics would suggest a much more modest number for the same year I think it would be safe to assume the tendency of official government statistics for being rather ?window dressed?. Keeping these facts in mind one could be forgiven for thinking that these statistics do underline a more systemic problem persisting within the general driving and road safety culture existing in Pakistan.

From a more qualitative experience based view-point, one only needs to take the streets with (or even without) a vehicle to be part of the chaos that inhabits our roads, regardless of whether it be a busy main road or even a small side street, there is unfortunately a disorganized self-serving bias all around. One could also be forgiven for subscribing to the ?when the going gets tough..? sentiment and just adjust to this way of ?travelling? because who has the time to fix the national mind-set, which isn't a one-person job in the first place.

While a lot can be said about the root of this problem lying in the mental make-up of people in general and a genuine lack of patience or empathy while on the road but that is something well documented in people?s minds. As to the existence of this poor driving phenomena, it is perhaps with a hint of malaise that we view an overall change in attitude that ideally would start with one?s own self. Unfortunately such a thought however noble, presents a mammoth task of engineering a fast tracked evolution in every individuals attitude towards the country in general and more importantly towards our fellow citizens.

What we can do immediately I feel however is to take protective and personalized measures to deal with this prevalent situation nationwide. These not only pertain to the motoring populations? attitude while driving but also due to the lack of overall infrastructure, the activity can also be dangerous even without external interference. There are many safety and precautionary measures that can be taken to protect ones-self from any unfortunate accidents. One such measure involves installing safety measures in your vehicle of choice apart from of course being a conscientious driver.

Problems such as rash driving, lack of road infrastructure, inadequate street lighting, natural factors (rain, fog, snow etc.) are all ultimately hindrances to a safe and organized road safety culture. Luckily in this day and age with the advancements in technology, there are many solutions to the mentioned problems. Many solutions related to car accessories and customization's exist that can be effective in over-coming issues such as poor visibility and blind spots such as assistive cameras that can be helpful in navigating through difficult areas or reversing through blind-spots. The same technology also exists for effectively over-coming natural factors that hinder driving such as rain, fog or snow to name a few. Advancements in automobile engineering and newer supplementary products such as higher wattage car lighting systems are revolutionary in helping motorists navigate through areas with inadequate street lighting or dangerous terrains. Furthermore, products such as bumper guards, side skirts and spoilers while viewed as items of style and customization are originally intended to improve a vehicles? maneuverability, down force traction and general drivability. 

Ultimately, I feel it is important to recognize the significance of road and driving safety and actively act upon improving the standard of driving on an individual basis by not only taking precautionary measures for one?s own safety but also instilling a sense of national pride in making our roads a safer haven for everyone.
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