What do you do when the traffic light ahead turns to red?
If you are not on foot, I suppose the universal rule of law is that you stop.
It is quite plain and simple and usually the above statement is non-negotiable. I say usually because in Chennai and I would like to believe in many other parts of India, the red light is subject to negotiation and even debate. These negotiations are between the driver and his / her conscience and it appears that the winner in most cases is the driver.
Stopping at the signal appears to be the most difficult thing to do and for some it can be an annoying distraction when a light turns red. For some others standing behind someone waiting for the light to change can be a life altering moment and usually ends up in exaggerated outburst of road rage.
Usually I get bullied by some idiots behind when I wait at a traffic light simply because it appears that there is no traffic from the adjacent lanes, forgetting for a moment that lights also permit walkers to cross the road. I make way just to get these pests out of my thoughts to preserve my sanity. Today at the landmark Anna flyover (also called Gemini flyover) I waited for the light to change green. I was treated to a blast of horns from the cars behind when they saw that some others were not waiting and I was holding up progress for them. Today I held firm, ignoring the blasts by plugging in my earphones and by increasing the car stereo a little more than required. After a few seconds the blaring of the horns stopped I suspect out of sheer frustration. I moved on when the lights changed.
At the next dubious intersection (I call it dubious because people have a doubt on the utility of the same) on Poonamallee High Road, I pulled up for the red light and held my line. The usual rule breakers rushed on but then I noticed a MTC bus pull up behind and wait patiently for the light. This was a real surprise knowing MTC bus drivers and along with the bus other vehicles fell in line. I leant today that if you are firm you can make a change.
People may think you are mad to follow the traffic rules and you may get laughed off but it calls for a lot of self-control, maturity and discipline to hold your line. In the long run it is well worth the effort because if you cannot be disciplined for such a small thing, bigger things will be way out of your league.