Pune-Mumbai Expressway: A death trap? - Contents of life

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Pune-Mumbai Expressway: A death trap?

Few days back Marathi Television world was shattered with the news of death of two TV actors  Anand Abhyankar and Akshay Pendse in a Car accident on Pune-Mumbai express highway.

It was a tragic incident which brought into the light the poor traffic situation on this route. While Anand Abhyankar was a well known actor with some appearances in Hindi movies also, Akshay Pendse had recently started making his presence felt. Akshay's 2 year old kid also died in this tragic accident.
 Its not a case that accidents rarely happen on this route. Since this particular accident was related to some known faces, people talked for some time about the accidents on this route and criticized the traffic situation. Apparently accidents are pretty much normal and regular affair here. I happen to write this post  after reading one such news today killing 5 people
 (http://www.esakal.com/esakal/20130128/4888278984089359741.htm)

Most of the time accidents follow same format. One of the high speed vehicles goes out of control, breaks the divider and crashes into some car coming from opposite direction.
It is really intriguing what must be the speed of such vehicles? As far as I have seen, the roads for vehicles moving in opposite directions on this route are separated by no vehicle land or so called divider of nearly 10 to 15 feets. Vehicle need to be in very high speed to go out of control to cross so big barriers.

I recently traveled on this route using different modes of transport and noticed few things:
Apparently there is no upper limit on this route. I happen to be in a car that sometimes was driving at a speed of 140 kms/hr. Surprisingly, it was not the fastest car on the route. People drive cars with such a high speed and that too in a way as if they are playing some car race video game or F1 race. There is a serious need of speed gun on this route and an efficient system to track speed offences.
There are three tracks on the route for vehicles moving in one direction. The vehicles with high capacity ( and so running at slow speed) are supposed to use extreme left track. Well, this rarely happens. I can understand that some very long trucks face difficulties in extreme left track with turning and so need to shift to central track. But, I don't understand them running in extreme right or the fastest track. Also, other normal size trucks don't need to take even the central track. Their size does not face any turning problem. These trucks are indirectly and partly responsible for zig-zag and F1 race type driving of small size cars.
I would suggest to give up using personal vehicles/ cars and use public transport like Air conditioned bus like Shivneri or normal buses of Maharashtra state transport. It has its own advantages: First, it is a big vehicle which is not as vulnerable to accidents as small cars are. Secondly, it is never in hurry. But, it being a big vehicle, finds easier to cruise through other vehicles and easily helps you reach your destination in time.
Third, you don't have to worry about traffic and how to drive your vehicle ahead in the traffic. This avoids you from getting unnecessarily tired and you can also manage to get good 2-3 hrs sleep.

I would suggest all fellow travelers using Pune-Mumbai express highway to start using Maharashtra state public transport. It will also help you have safe travelling and reduce traffic on the route. There are many buses running on this route and you can find comfortable seat in a bus of your choice without waiting for more than 20 mins.

I would also like to make a suggestion, which might help change people's attitude while driving. At every point on this route, where an accident took place and somebody lost his/her life, put a board mentioning the peson's name and date of accident. With number of accidents happening regularly, the route will soon fill up with number of such boards. And while one is driving here and he encounters such boards coming one after another, he will start thinking about all the accidents and unknowingly bring not only his vehicle under control, but also his mind, saving few lives.
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