Driving In India? May God Bless You!

While Indians developed some of the most brilliant architectural techniques and the use of math, astrology and sciences, the ancient scholars weren’t seemed to be interested in developing the modes of transport. I mean, why you would drive a Buick when you can ride an awesome Flying Chariot driven by Celestial Horses.

With the arrival of the British, the Indian people became familiar with the fruits of the industrial revolution like cars and automobiles. Sadly due to the crumbling economy as a result of the often debated Indian independence cars remained an item of luxury restricted to the rich and the noble.

Despite of being a rapidly growing economy, India suffers from a low per capita income as compared to the developed nations due to the sheer size of its growing population and several other popularly debated topics. These problems have led to underdevelopment of basic public amenities and law enforcement rules and regulations.

Below are the various things you are most likely to encounter on Indian roads.

1. Potholes

Photo by David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0

While driving on Indian roads, do not forget about your trusty friend, ‘the pothole’. Well, for some reason, Indians like to dig a lot, especially when it comes to digging asphalt. As the basic public infrastructure like telephone lines, sewers and subways are still being developed in most cities; the roads are often subjected to abuse by the municipal corporations and are only repaired once the damage has been done. There exists a theory that the potholes on the roads in India exceed the number of craters on the surface of the Moon. The monsoon season also coincides with the pothole season, so one must be extra careful during the rains.

2. Bad (or Mad) Drivers – Not To Be Confused With Lady Drivers

Photo by jmiller291, CC BY 2.0

Maybe the western culture didn’t settle well and thanks to the loose vehicle license policies and to the poor condition of the roads, we all became experts at maneuvering amongst the busiest of road traffic in the world in the most dangerous of ways. While this sounds like an achievement to some, we’re poor followers of traffic rules and have total disregard for driving laws. This becomes a special problem when individuals driving the public transport fail to adhere to traffic rules and speed limits and drunk driving is common.

3. Overloaded Vehicles

Photo by Shashwat Nagpal, CC BY 2.0

Real Men do it in One Trip’, is not just a simple motto, but is an instinct that is inbred in Indian drivers. It is a common sight iIn India to see Indian vehicles overloaded with goods and passengers. Maybe it’s the growing population along with the growing fuel prices and I wonder if there can be a relation between the two but yeah. Indians being the most daring of road drivers are often seen exemplifying their skills in overloaded trains, buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, cars, two wheelers and even scooters and mopeds (phew)!!

4. ‘Holy Cow!!’

Photo by david baxendale, CC BY-ND 2.0 

Well, I have heard about the origin of the human race through a cow in several other religious mythologies such the Norse and the Egyptian (and they eat cows). Cow’s significance in India, I believe is too farfetched. While not taking a stab at the religious sentiments of the Indian people, the major problem, in my opinion, is people’s disregard of the laws related to the keeping of pets and domestic animals. Encountering, cattle on the roads is a common cause of traffic jams. So if you’re visiting India, be prepared to be stuck in traffic due to a resting cow in the middle of the road (now that’s a stereotype or what).

5. Wedding Processions

Photo by Naquib Hossain, CC BY-SA 2.0 

Indian weddings are known worldwide for their liberal merry making and a pompous display of joy that can shame even the most illustrious of Christmas celebrations. During the wedding season one must be prepared to encounter several wedding processions on the road which often causes traffic jams. In fact, during the peak seasons, the traffic police can draft special wedding procession traffic rules and guide lines. If you think that’s farfetched then you might want to check out the amount of drunk drivers you can encounter during this season.

Driving for the first time in India? The above article might make you week at your ankles. However, despite of all the above mentioned problems with Indian traffic rules and management, most tourists consider it a privilege to be able to drive on Indian roads. While driving in the bustling Indian cities is not advised, India is blessed with several passes and highways amidst the most serene and enchanting of surroundings. I mean, just because we have bad traffic management doesn’t mean our country isn’t worth visiting!

About Rohit

An architect by profession, Rohit Agarwal is a curious traveller, seeking out the minutest detail about the places he travels to, and that’s what one will find in his writings. His writings have appeared in various blogs, he’s currently trying to bring forth as many different places a traveller who shares the same level of curiosity like him would like to visit through his writings.

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