Monday, January 17, 2011

Rogue drivers bring traffic to a crawl on highway

A FEW weeks ago, I had to visit a a relative who was hospitalised at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre. Since I had to drive to Subang Jaya from the city, I decided to use the North Klang Valley Expressway.
That day being a Friday, I thought the NKVE would be a better choice to avoid the evening rush-hour traffic. The downpour that came an hour earlier also prompted my decision.

I reached the Jalan Duta toll plaza about 6pm and queues were already forming at all lanes, which was not surprising.

However, after the toll gate, the traffic ahead had been reduced to a crawl, made worse by the heavy vehicles that did not keep to the left lanes as they were supposed to as they climbed the slope.

When I reached the fork in the highway that led to Sungai Buloh and Petaling Jaya, I was in for more surprises.

It had started to rain and from there till the Kota Damansara exit, it was a bumper-to-bumper crawl.

Being unacquainted with the traffic situation there, I called Plusline when the vehicles were at a standstill and the operator told me that the bad crawl was precipitated by the usual after-office-hour jam at the Subang exit.

Throughout the journey from the Kota Damansara exit to the Damansara exit, queue jumpers made the slow moving traffic worse.

These impatient motorists switched lanes as and when they wanted, getting ahead when other drivers were not keeping up with the vehicles in front.

And if one motorist denied them their chance to move into their lane, they waited for another.

While the inter-lane queue jumpers wreak havoc on the main traffic stream, another group of inconsiderate drivers use the emergency lanes to swiftly get ahead of the queue.

Vehicles of all sizes formed this rogue convoy. From drivers of Kancil to express buses, 4WDs to trailers, these motorists were using the emergency lanes. These rogues got onto the adjacent lane whenever there was a gap.

One truck driver, was incensed by the driver of a Kancil that he threw an empty plastic bottle at the car when it inched into the space between the truck and an express bus ahead.

Though the highway authorities can do little about the queue jumpers, it can act on those abusing the emergency lanes since the highway is monitored by closed-circuit television cameras.

Fines can even be imposed when they exit at the toll gates since their vehicles can be identified through the CCTVs.

Traffic controllers on bikes could also be dispatched to these areas to set up barricades.

Highway concessionaires have a responsibility towards their road users.

In exchange for the toll fees, road users expect to have a pleasant, safe and, often, faster journey to their destinations.

By taking steps to apprehend rogue drivers on highways, concessionaires not only generate goodwill among their paying customers but are also helping to prevent accidents.

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