It has been almost 3 years since I wrote on driving (https://quest4knowledge.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/rto-learners-license-test-experience/). After this while, I feel I have the knowledge to contribute to the serious topic of surviving on Indian roads – albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner 😛
These are a compilation of my thoughts & practices on the road. New ones keep coming up – will add them whenever possible.
ps : Following them doesn’t make you immune to accidents cause the road is full of idiots. These are mere tips for drivers (new as well as experienced).
Honking doesn’t make the road yours
- Honking is simply supposed to convey your intention of “coming through”.
- It doesn’t mean those ahead of you have to get aside.
- But if someone is honking at you, pay heed to it. Sometimes people honk to inform you about something too – maybe an active bike stand or an indicator light blinking wrongly.
- Spontaneity has a place in life but not on the road.
- Being predictable is the best thing you can do on the road.
- Clear cut communication without haste makes you predictable to others.
- So use indicators in advance before changing direction, don’t make sudden stops in the middle of the road (unless its to save someone) etc.
- Drive in such a way that rest of the traffic isn’t badly impacted.
Beware of trucks, buses behind you
- It is risky to be in front of large vehicles like trucks & buses.
- A small mistake on their part can crush you – especially if you are on a bike.
- If you see one behind you, try to move away from it.
Beware of rickshaws ahead of you
- Auto rickshaw drivers are among the least disciplined drivers in India.
- The design of an autorickshaw is such that it runs on 3 wheels & has the ability to turn 180 degrees.
- Combine that with a bad driver – it gives you an extremely high amount of uncertainty on the road.
- The only certainty is that the rickshaw in front of you will probably take a sudden right/left.
Take the correct lane
- If you see vehicles constantly going past you, then you need to be in the left most lane. The right/middle lanes are for faster vehicles.
- This rule is inline with 2 other rules :
- Overtaking is allowed only from the right hand side (of slower vehicle)
- Heavy vehicles like buses & trucks need to be in the left most lane since they are supposed to drive slow.
- If you are planning to take a left/right then be on the suitable lane well in advance. Last minute changes affect everyone else.
Change lanes ONLY after rear view mirror confirmation
- As mentioned before, the road is not the place for surprises.
- Respect those around you by using the rear view mirror before changing lanes.
- Install rear view mirrors if you haven’t done so.
Life > Avoiding a pothole
- Too many deaths take place in India due to potholes.
- A lot of them happen due to a vehicle changing lanes suddenly to avoid a pothole.
- Its better to drive slower on unknown roads & thus be at a speed at which you can react better to potholes.
Life > Attending to your mobile while driving
- Driving involves your life as well as those of others. As such – it deserves your utmost attention.
- Receiving a call or texting while driving ensures you lose focus & it can lead to accidents.
Respect traffic lights
- The first safe, automatic electric traffic lights were installed in the United States in the late 1890s. It has a lot of history behind it. Respect it.
- Traffic lights is the standard way of ensuring consensus among all the drivers on the road.
- A single person disobeying it can lead to chaos at the signal junction & even lead to accidents of innocent lives who respect the traffic lights.
Be cautious at crossroads
- While we might be respecting the rules of the road, the same might not apply for others.
- You can never be sure who is around the next corner or crossroads.
- Driving slower at such points gives you more time to react to idiots of the road.
- This is a lesson I learnt the hard way – after being clobbered by an auto rickshaw at one such crossroads 😀
Apologize whenever necessary
- The road is one place where you meet people from all walks of life.
- Respect them & don’t shy away from apologizing when you are in the wrong.
- I recently apologized for sudden lane changing to a person. He was pleasantly surprised that I wish I could have taken a picture of him to preserve it.
- Getting angry doesn’t solve anything. Don’t get affected by the road.