Driving in India with special reference to Udaipur

Recently, my friend Mudit opined that, in India, people which have been driving bicycles or bikes, suddenly started driving cars. While they have bought cars with their money, but they could not buy the required education on driving cars. So, most of them drive their cars as if they are still driving bikes.
His comment got me thinking and I am trying to compile a list of driving mistakes for which we should be able to identify if a person belongs to such category, ie. drive cars as they have money, but with a education level of driving bicycle or bikes.

1. Blowing horns without any logic
There are lot of stories about blowing horns by car drivers in India! One such stories goes like this – Initially, horn of Marti cars used to get faulty in a month or so. So, Suzuki Japan ( Maruti cars parent company from Japan) sent a team of engineers to investigate the issue. They found out that, while their horns are made to last maximum 3000 horns for its life ( 3 years), those number of horns are normally used up the Indian drivers in a month!
So, if you find someone blowing their horns without any rhyme or logic, you have just spotted a car owner/driver with education of riding bicycle/bike but driving a car!

2. Trying to overtake when there is not enough space for it
Many people will try to overtake you from behind if you keep enough distance (10 feet or so) from the car in front of you. And when they succeed, they will put their car in that 10 feet space so that you either slow down or forced to drive just one or two feet behind his/her car.

3. Changing Lane
I am yet to meet any driver or car owner, specially, in North India, who knows or heard about lane driving. They simply drive in any lane wherever there is any space left by other cars or road is empty. They might even laugh at you if you ask them to drive on the left ( India is left hand driving system) even when road is empty. One of my friends once counted one driver changing lanes some 30 times in 2 KM driving in Gurugram, Near Delhi. Of course she is not Indian.

3. Redlight Zebra Crossing

I once asked my friend, why did he jump the red light? He simply replied, ohh, there was no one coming from the other side where the light is green. I could not make him comprehend that, when its red for you, you are supposed to stop your car, either road is empty or not or if there is vehicles on the green light lanes. No, he simply did not comprehend that kind of Traffic Light System. If you stop your car behind Zebra Crossing, chances are, some other cars will come from your left side and park their car on the zebra crossing in front of you may even laugh at you thinking you are stupid!

4. Right turn and driving wrong side

I have never seen anyone taking proper right turn in North India, specially in Udaipur, Rajasthan. If you observe anyone taking right turn, you might get the impression that, India is right hand driving system! When people have to take right turn in open road and if they can not take the right turn for incoming vehicle, they will start driving their car on the right side, without stopping their car. And when you see some people driving on the wrong side, they do so, because they don’t want to take a U-Turn as the further down. They do so to save petrol, but its OK for them to cause traffic jam, break rules or even causing accidents! A typical car owner who should have been riding a bicycle or a bike.

5. Me first!

Everybody wants to go first. If there is not traffic light or traffic police in any crossing, nobody will wait for others to pass. Many will increase speed of their car so that others let them pass, seeing them speeding, that’s how they think. And if you allow others to pass, then cars behind you will honk at you, and chances are, you might get abused too, for being nice to others. Being nice to other fellow drivers, riders is simply not done in India, by those car owners who should ideally be riding a bicycle.

6. Parking

People park their cars in No Parking zones or anywhere where there is some space to park, nearest to the place where they are going, like shop, meet some one, talk some one. They will park the car on lane inside colony, will spend talking on phones, will move their car only when some one honks at them. They will not move their car even when they see some one approaching, will move only when they are honked at. When they park, they will park absolutely without any consideration for others and if possible, will occupy space for two or three cars by parking differently. And they will shout at each other too.

7. Use of indicator and dipper at night
Its very rare to see drivers using indicators while turning left or right. Specially left. Once my American friend was amazed and commented, wow, you are even using blinkers! when he saw me using indicators!
Many drivers in India does not seem to know using dipper at night. They use headlight as if it is a tube light at home, you switch it on once it is dark and then switch off once you sleep.

I would like others to add their experiences and points whom they consider to be car owners with a cycle or bike owners education level.

Thanks Mudit for getting me to think and giving me a perspective!

Edit: Ram Sundararaman Comment :

” Very well written Uttam! I have some amazing experience on this front – not to say that I’m a disciplined driver – I wonder if anyone is 🙂

In respect to counter the traffic problem, you must consider some of the amazing corrective measures that have been carried out by the administration. Fatehpura circle had a large round-about. When the traffic increased, they evacuated and dismantled all of the illegal encroachments (wonder if there’s a legal one, though) in addition to reducing the size of the round about to a tenth of what it was. Bingo! Me first folks are bumper to bumper with incoming vehicles from the left. Blessing the mothers, sisters, prostitutes and you don’t know mes! As of now, one of the way throughs is blocked and the traffic is now congested in front of the petrol pump down the direction of Sukhadia circle.

On the contrary, Surajpole had a small round-about. You know what they’ve done. 🙂

Our drivers are innovative, one will never know if that lane would ever exist so why drive there and be disappointed tomorrow?

Innovations are always path breaking!”

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