Photo from tehran24.com
Anatomy of urban chaos
By Farhad Radmehrian
April 18, 2002
1. This light has turned yellow. By law, this means that certain things should
be done by drivers and pedestrians. However, one look at this photograph gives you
the impression that the last thing in anyone's mind is the traffic light.
2. The left turn lane for the oncoming traffic is wide enough for one (1) vehicle.
So, the drivers have to form a single file queue to go through the left intersection
and make the left turn. Forget about it. The intersection looks plenty wide for everyone
turning; so let's all bunch up around that tight turn and see who wins!
3. This guy is a mystery to me. He is just standing there with his hands behind his
back, being pensive and thoughtful. Is he contemplating his own life or just marveling
at the chaotic mess that is unfolding before his eyes? One can only imagine.
4. These two drivers and the ones ahead of them have been driving for years and years
thinking that the white dotted lines on the streets are where you aim the center
of your front hood. So, when they hear the public encouragements to drive between
the lines, they only see the danger of running into the back corners of other cars
and therefore continue to follow their safe old way of driving, which is to follow
5. This dude is another case study all to his own. Is he trying to catch a taxi or
is he caught with no way to run? Or maybe he is a traffic cop?
6. These two cars seem to be crossing from left to right and through the intersection.
But we cannot really say with certainty because they couldn't have made that left
turn so recently if there is a whole pack of cars concentrated on the left turn already
(explained in number 2). So, could they be parked in such an odd fashion?
7. This guy proves point number one. I bet you he is completely unaware of the traffic
lights overhead. He is supposed to stop behind the pedestrian crossing zone which
is now behind him. And is he at all aware of the determined pack of cheetahs concentrated
on turning left in front of him? This assessment is of course depending on whether
or not he is stopped or still moving.
8. No wonder Tehrani drivers ignore and violate pedestrian
crossing zones. A lot of the crossing zones have markings that are worn out and invisible
like the ones on this intersection.
9. This white car's ugly maneuver is actually the result of a "defensive driving"
tactic and one of the ways drivers keep from ramming into each other and everything
else in Tehran. While defensive driving is a good thing worldwide, in Tehran, defensive
driving is done regardless of limitations dictated by law. Take the driver of this
white Paykan, for example. He sees the man standing on the right lane of the street
up ahead who may be trying to flag down a taxi. In order to avoid hitting the guy,
the driver of the white car is pushing against the dark car to its left and violating
the basic principle of staying between the lines.
What usually happens in a situation like this is the car to the left will push
to the left in turn and the third car (if any) will either speed up and run ahead
of the impending squeeze or hit the brakes and stay behind the squeeze. The same
techniques are used in situations where you see 4 or 5 cars driving across a tripple-lane
road which, while an efficient use of public roadways, is also the prime reason for
all the ugly dents and bumps on the majority of Tehrani cars.
10. That is God, looking down on his good people and wondering how in the world they
can function like this?