Dividers turn into death traps for motorists

Hyderabad: While road medians installed on many roads and by-lanes are reducing the possibility of head-on collisions among motorists, the battered dividers with deep scratches have a different tale to narrate.

Due to the lack of proper reflective paints, cat eyes and obstruction road paintings, the dividers themselves are causing problems to motorists in the city, particularly on the outskirts and secondary roads.

If the spate of accidents reported in the State capital are any indication, such incidents are on a steady rise. In a recent incident two students died on the spot when their motorcycle rammed a divider near Katta Maisamma temple in Suraram at Dundigal.

No proper signage

Lack of proper street lighting, road markings and reflective paints on the dividers, along with road congestion, are becoming major reasons for accidents involving dividers. Also, road width in the city is not uniform due to which dividers too are of different sizes resulting in mishaps.

“To avoid traffic chaos, a road should ideally have a minimum carriage way of five metres on both sides, after putting up a divider,” P.R. Bhanumurthy, JNTU professor (transportation) said. But even with that width, it is the responsibility of the authorities to provide proper lighting and reflective signage to warn motorists of the impending obstruction, he explained.

Motorists commuting on Outer Ring Road (ORR) are particularly vulnerable as the wider roads entice the motorists to step on the gas, but due to the lack of proper signage are at risk of colliding with the dividers. The sight of a battered four wheeler perched precariously on a divider has now become part of suburban folklore.

Driving with care

“Motorists will automatically avoid the obstructions if proper obstructive road signage is made at the junctions and dividers. But without these markings and proper street lighting there is always a possibility of motorists ramming the medians,” Prof. Bhanumurthy opined.

Another problem that the motorists face is when a divider comes up on a road overnight, catching regular commuters off-guard. To prevent accidents motorists too should drive defensively, especially during nights, he added.

Reflective signage

However, traffic authorities point out that it is the responsibility of municipal officials to install reflective signage. “GHMC has to install reflective signage and other related items on the roads and we are coordinating with them regularly to check the progress,” DCP Traffic (North) P.V.S. Ramakrishna said.

“Many dividers in the city are broken as motorists collide with them. GHMC authorities have assured us that they will rectify these dividers along with providing reflective signage,” he explained.

This article was published in The Hindu on May 22, 2012

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