Anyone, who has lived in Bangalore marvels at how we manage to drive so chaotically and survive. We have suicidal drivers, maniac bike riders, aunties who veer onto the roads in a two-wheeler at snail’s pace right in front of your car, homicidal bus drivers, goons driving autorickshaws who would challenge you by giving you black looks, and hapless pedestrians walking on the roads sometimes giving company to cows and dogs; it’s a real jungle out there on the Indian roads. Add to these woes is the terrible traffic infrastructure. Badly laid roads, potholes, speed breakers without markings just creeping up on you (of variable heights that are sure to give you a roller coaster ride), traffic signals not visible even from 100 m, and the maddening narrowing and broadening of the road leading to major traffic bottlenecks.
I had a German friend a long time ago who was working on a project in Mumbai. He used to get hypertensive just by seeing our traffic :). He had a chauffeur to drive him around (most of them are lunatics cum formula-1 racers). He would sit in the back of the car, and put his hands on both sides of his head like blinkers, keeping his eyes firmly off the road to save himself the agony. My experience is that Mumbai drivers are a better organized lot as compared to Bangalore and Ahmedabad drivers. Ahmedabad autorickshaw guys use their legs to signal left or right :). Bangalore ones don’t know what an indicator is! And, only fools like us removed our sun film; I see almost 50% of the traffic on the road still having them. Just reflects something more about our aversion to follow rules.
Some observations about how to survive on Bangalore roads:
  • Always overtake from the left else you would never have an opportunity.
  • Never use any indicators; you don’t have time because you have to swerve to avoid a car which suddenly braked in front of you or the driver on the right-most side remembered that he, indeed, needed to take a left turn. Wow, the entire traffic turns nightmarish.
  • Always honk, the guy who merges on the road does so at high speed and never looks in your direction.
  • Always honk, because the driver ahead could have fallen asleep and is not moving.
  • Keep ear plugs handy because the impatient guy behind you honks when you have stopped at the red traffic light. There is a car ahead of you, but he expects you to fly and give him way.
  • Be extra careful especially when there are no medians, because the traffic coming from opposite direction has mental patients who would rather kill themselves and you at the cost of risky overtaking.
  • Keep some stones with you when you get really frustrated.
  • Keep a pepper spray especially ladies (I have one) to ward off scary-looking mustachioed pests who think that they have a right to threaten you for imaginary grievances.
  • Always lock your car doors and keep your windows shut, so that you can cuss to your heart’s content, and no one would hear a thing. This will let you feel safe.
  • Pray to God that someone does not bang into your car when it is parked or when you are in it. It is a tough ballgame altogether to get the other guy to pay up for the damage caused.
  • Bike riders tailgate you or sometimes stick around in your car’s blind spot. Most people don’t even know what a blind spot is. They change lanes blindly. Try to look over your shoulder or else there is a real possibility of knocking down some of these people.

I really don’t know how I survive in this mad, mad world of Indian roads. Just go with the flow, I guess!


31 Thoughts on “Driving troubles in India

  1. oh Boy! i couldn’t agree with you more. infact the driving seat brings out the dormant devil in me. in shillong the cab drivers gives me hypertension.

  2. my friend bought a new car, we travelled frm chennai to mumbai and u shoud have seen my friend struggling to drive in chennai…some bum damaged the car with his scooter, jst did not even bother to look at us and moved away…my friend lost sleep.poor guy

  3. ha! loved this!
    i would never, ever drive in india :-DDD

  4. @nituscorner yes, we all experience that 🙂

    @Ramesh I know, it hurts the maximum when you are driving a brand new car very carefully, and someone comes and rams it so heartlessly.

    @Agnes Yes, girl. You can do that :), poor souls like us have to still keep doing it day in and day out.

  5. LOL Rachna,haD A HEARTY LAUGH.
    But I know its very difficult to drive in India.
    Very nicely put

  6. Driving in India!! You said it.

  7. Rach

    this came at appropriate time

    yesterday I had almost knocked one hefty AUNTY on her Activa cruzing at 40-80 km/h. She was changing lanes as if some one is behind her Izzat 😛

    I tried to overtake by right but later i have to follow the usual hyderabadi ishtyle of overtaking from left and all of sudden she came left in front of my car and applied her breaks too. Even i was speeding at 60 but able to apply break and turn the car slightly to avoid the collison.

    I was angry like anything as Shaurya was with us in the car. I asked her what the problem and you know what she said?? mere ko wo bangle leni thi pointing towards a roadside bangle shop..

    I was about to swear but somehow managed not to…

    🙂 what to do??

    Such is life!!!!!

  8. @bbsearchingself Yeah, all of us have suffered and have unique experiences to narrate. 🙂

    @Anulal Thanks for visiting and your comment!

    @Bhupesh Well, the auntie escaped because she was an auntie 🙂 and luckily there was no collision. I also ensure that the kids always sit in the backseat while driving. I am sure each one of us suffers such incidents daily while driving. I know Hyderabad traffic, it is pretty bad too.

    like you said, such is life!

  9. Oh my! I was shaking when I got done reading this-LOL!

  10. Hi Rachna, Wow! I have seen what you mentioned here and looking at the chaos the roads there can give one a cardiac arrest.

    Love your keeping stones, ha ha. I used to keep couple of eggs, only used once, other one broke when I stepped on it.
    Love your humour….guess better take a taxi and say some sutras while enroute, ha ha.
    You stay safe, have a great week, Lee.

  11. I cant agree with you more.I took a visitor from Mumbai to Nasik and for him it was an experience of life time.

    PS.. There were two cows sitting in the middle of the road

  12. @Uncle Lee 🙂 Actually, I don’t keep stones, but I am tempted to sometimes :). Sometimes being cool help us deal with sticky situations. I’d rather drive myself than be driven around.

    @BK Chowla I have seen the amazement on spotting cows on the roads among foreigner. For us, it is pretty normal 🙂

  13. Boy oh boy, what a post! I was falling down from my chair reading every bit of it in detail. You have such a super mastery over words and over expressing yourself perfectly, that the post has become a wonder in itself. Can I read again? Obviously I can. Superb post Rachna!!!

  14. hahahah…i kn…driving on the damn ugly road…too bad for our spine…:-)(

  15. I was really surprised when I read this blog post..Cuz..I was actually drafting a blog post on Driving…

    Lol… the way you wrote it.
    pretty nice…

  16. @Bhavesh Glad you liked the post. Thanks for your unadulterated words of appreciation and encouragement. You made my day 🙂

    @rohini and Ramesh 🙂

    @Sorcerer Really, that’s nice! Go ahead and post it. With your razor-sharp sense of humor, I am sure, it will be a crackling post as always 🙂

  17. LOL. I enjoyed driving in India. 🙂

  18. totally agree with u abt the Ahmadabad auto drivers..have seen that myself and was so shocked!! nice blog..


  19. @maverickshree Yes, Indians are the most undisciplined only in India :). They fall in line elsewhere.

    @Chandrika Really! You enjoyed driving in India. I absolutely hate it.

    @Bollywoodstylediaries Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope to see you more often.

  20. So true!!! Driving here is a challenge. The experience makes you a tough driver 🙂

  21. That’s why I’m so scared to even start to drive..I feel I’m going to run over someone! And this overtaking from the left! We are not supposed to do that right? It’s here that I have seen people do that shamelessly !

  22. Haha! perfect. And yes it is a jungle out here. And I doubt it’ll get any better soon. So we just ensure we do what we can to ensure our safety 🙂

  23. Rachna, your post is a mirror of traffic travails, not only of Bangalore, but of all cities of India.The traffic is not at all organised.The tips given by you are very practical .

  24. I exactly understand what you go through Rachna. In Hyderabad car drivers show thier heads to signal and if you are on two wheelers, then you have even stray dogs to challenge you.

  25. And yet, I read somewhere, that despite all the chaos on Indian roads the proportion of fatal road accidents is quite lower as compared to many other places in the world. Could be because of the overall slow speed of traffic here, or because of the famous Indian attitude of ‘adjusting’ to all kinds of chaotic situations, or could be simply simply because of all the faith one puts into the gods (including the ones displayed on our dashboards) who are much more effective than the traffic rules which nobody seems to care for anyway! Someone once said that driving in yoga is like yoga in its own right. I think it is a fair assessment 🙂

    • Yes, that part is true, Beloo. We hardly do reach top speeds on the city roads. But on the highways, the driving is really dangerous and also during mornings and nights when the traffic is thin. Driving in one ways and also without decent headlights/taillights is very risky and rampant. hahaha Yes, driving in India is definitely some beast or a form of Yoga. 🙂

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