The randomness you encounter on Indian roads is primarily generated from the fact that you’re not only driving among cars, but you’re also in the midst of bicycles, wandering humans, animals, and random objects like a stray seat cushion. Your goal, in getting from point A to point B, is to dodge all of these obstacles.
(This is just a good four minutes of one of my rides into Dehli. Note the sweet '30s-era ride at about 1:15)
In India, nobody even bothers to dialate their pupils at these sorts of things.
Feel like roaming around from one side of the road to the other? Do it. Feel like driving exactly in the middle of a wide open road with two lanes? Do it.
Haha!! That’s a good one. True for walking as well.
I’ve seen countless accidents in India while driving from A to B. It is an unfortunate sight that I hope no one has to ever deal with. Below are some tips from my experience driving 1000’s of miles all over India.
Buses: Buses are machines developed by Indian military researchers to prowl city streets and destroy anything in their path, or to even hunt down and eliminate smaller vehicles. A design quirk allows people to get inside them for rides around town.
Road Conditions: If you're the team responsible for piloting Curiosity across the surface of Mars, then the condition of many of the roads should be very familiar to you. There are good roads, certainly, but there's also plenty with holes in them deep enough to get cast as lakes in dinner theater productions. Also, to keep things exciting, there's the occasional roadside trash fire.
An IDP is the best option for those who plan to stay in India for a short duration because it is valid for one year. It also allows the holder to drive a vehicle between states. After the IDP expires, a permanent licence is required.
Lights: Based on the drivers I was with, headlights are for the weak and if you turn them on then you'll be letting darkness know it won. Eventually, you will end up giving in, but it's good to put up a fight.
I was just told by a tour operator that in India foreigners cannot drive between cities (so longer than 200-250 kms) and I would need a car with a driver. This was the asnwer on my request of renting a car and drive it by my own between Delhi - Agra - Jaipur. My guess is that he only wanted to sell more services to me and this new law is completely non-existing. Can someone help me about it? Could you rent a car in Delhi and drive it on the above mentioned route and drop off at Jaipur airport?
In India cows are considered holy animals. It seems that the cows are aware of this fact and so they happily sit in the middle of the road forcing vehicles to drive around them. This can be alarming at times because around a blind corner you can stumble upon a gigantic bull without warning. Often no amount of beeping the horn will get then to move which is quite incredible really.
Driving in India is a lesson in anarchy. But if anarchy is like Indian roads, then it is not so bad once you get used to it.
I hope this helps. I came away from India thinking that their drivers may be simultaneously both the best and the worst in the world. Sure, they take risks that to Western eyes seem insane, and everything is incredibly chaotic. But, at the same time, even with their high accident rate, that number should be much, much higher. They pull it off most of the time, somehow, and are seemingly without fear.
Relax, as best you can, with a qualified Indian driver and a decent car from a good agency.
Some of the rules of the road should be enforced by the police. Motorists convicted of certain traffic, and certain non-traffic offences may have 'points' added to their licences: some traffic violations, typically warrant three points, and motorists with twelve points face a temporary driving suspension.
It is better to hire a car/driver from a well reputed operator/transporter.....that is going to be the best for you....
Irresponsible driving habits, insufficient highway infrastructure development, and other hazards make travelling on the country's roads a certainly nerve wrecking and potentially life threatening undertaking.
On the two-lane highway from Jodhpur to the Rajasthan desert, my driver would switch into oncoming traffic, at 100 KPH (60 mph) or so just because the pavement was better on that side. He'd stay in the lane with traffic barreling towards us until the car or truck heading right for us was close enough to read the driver's wristwatch. Then he'd calmly yank the car back into the proper lane.
There are traffic lights, but like lane markings, you can choose to abide by them if you wish to do so. Traffic lights exist for decorative purposes—mainly to add some nice flashing colours at night. Most people try to follow them if there are cops around, but generally outside of business hours, you don’t have to care about them. Nights and weekends are a free for all.
Metros in India are extremely congested and the drivers can appear to be rough in their approach towards beating the traffic. In Delhi alone there are 2 million vehicles. The roads also play a part in making driving difficult. This article will give you tips for driving safely in India.
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– Learn all my tips for safe India travel – 39 page full color ebook – Printable PDF – Save yourself from getting sick in India
@Neil Miller… You may try and do a piece on how ‘Parking’ works in India. I can provide inputs if you need because I face the problem everyday. (pix will be included).
I fell off the floor upon reading this. Chaos over Logic you say – I say Laughter over Chaos over Logic anytime. Kudos on your wit, made my day. :))))
I am dead after reading this and the reason to be dead is excessive dose of laughter 😀 :D..!! And this is so bloody true..!!
Everything is personal to them. Indians are an embarrassment to their own country. They stab each other in the back all the time. They are least bothered about their fellow Indians when it comes to money, greed and power. Its always win lose (they have to win no matter what) situation with them. They dont care who loses but they have to win by hook or by crook.
Nice ones. I agree. If you let someone cross the road, you are disrupting the traffic flow. They will get across on their own.
Driving In India
When driving your car in India, the horn becomes an extension of yourself. Just like the way you give people disapproving glares, or acknowledge someone’s kindness, the copious use of your horn is another way to express yourself.
Please see our daily routine of traversing through Indian roads. https://youtu.be/wGWgcIFC2S8
NEVER let any pedestrian cross the road! Not even old women or children! As other vehicles won’t stop, but rather overtake you blindly, at full speed, from any side of your car, your kind gesture will probably condemn the pedestrian to a violent death. Seriously, I several times almost got people hit before deciding to give up my good european manners and ignore pedestrians looking for an early reincarnation.
I have another post coming about getting in accidents that will hopefully be helpful, but rule #1 is to let someone else handle it!
I picked up an Indian friend from the airport in Washington D.C. and got on the highway. He said, “My … traffic is so orderly here!” I told him that that was the first time I ever heard anyone characterize D.C. traffic as orderly. 🙂
As tempting as it might be for some daredevils, I advise you to never drive in India yourself. The road rules and ways of the land are so different than the west that it is a recipe for disaster.
Three tons of quarried rock under a huge tarp on a van designed to hold 750 kg? Sure! Two couches on a bike? Have at it. A bull and a stack of tires on a moped? Why not? In fact, eventually someone will just turn a three-wheeler upside-down on the ground, tie some rope to secure the vehicle to the surface, and the entire world will then be cargo for one tiny truck.
Agree with johnb, driving here isnt as easy as in europe. The time taken in roads is much longer then in europe as well. The operator you contacted gave you right suggestion on getting a chaffeur driven car and 250kms a day is too much sometimes....but if you still want to try driving yourself then contact Avis.com, they provide self driven cars and these self driven cars usually cost more then the chauffeur driven car. Good luck
It is very hard to drive car here in India, The conditions of the roads are very different here. So I won't suggest that. Also you will need a global license to driver here.
So in other words its better to take a car with driver in India not because of this but also driving on Indian road is not easy traffic is so bad and scary that you won't be able to drive so better be safe and enjoy your tour..
Of course this is all assuming you have a ticket. Buying tickets for public transport is an epic experience, so be prepared.
Using your turn signals doesn’t mean: “Hey, I want to turn, can you let me in?” It means: “I’m going to do this no matter what, so you better move out of my way.”