Driving in India – An Experience like No Other

| December 27, 2011

Driving in India – An Experience like No Other | You’re finally here–the mystical, magical land of India–and now it’s time to hit the open road. Yet it’s not so open, and there are a variety of road hazards present that a driver may not encounter anywhere else. What appears as a chaotic mess of traffic can often be intimidating to drivers who are new to this country, but any driver can conquer the Indian roads simply by being aware of his surroundings and knowing some of the basic rules of the road.

In the United States, drivers have been taught time and time again to yield to pedestrians. In India, this is simply not the case. There are hundreds of cars and hundreds of pedestrians on the road at the same time; and it’s not the pedestrians who have the right of way. If you see people trying to cross the street, you should not stop to let them pass. This is a surefire way to get rear-ended in the busy Indian streets. All pedestrians know to only cross the street when traffic is clear or moving slowly, so while you should take care not to hit any pedestrians, do not go to great lengths to stop for them, either.

When driving in India, you must understand the role of the car horn. In the United States, the horn is a way to tell other drivers that you are angry or upset with them, but in India it can mean happiness, excitement, romance or anger. So don’t automatically throw up that middle finger when someone lays on his horn behind you; he might be telling you something different from what you think.

Be sure to keep an eye out for rickshaws on the Indian roads. These three-wheeled taxis drive as if they own the entire road, but if you crash into one of them, the results could be dangerous. It is important to exercise caution when you see a rickshaw because there are often many children piled into one rickshaw on their way to school for the day.

Other hazards to keep an eye out for are the public buses. These buses often give out free passes during rush hour, so passengers hang on to the bus and, subsequently, one another to grab a free ride. Avoid driving by public buses if possible, but if you must, then maintain a width of at least three people away from the bus itself.

Driving in India might be a little intimidating, but it’s also fun. Be sure to take your vehicle in for its regular oil change before you hit the road, and have high quality motor oil like Mobil fully-synthetic oil put in the engine. Mobil synthetic engine oil will ensure that your vehicle will run smoothly through the not-so-smooth Indian streets. It will keep your vehicle safe and sound amid the chaos that is the public roadways of India.

Sharmila Jayanti is a freelance writer and Indian travel expert. Before travelling on the road she visits a Mobil lube change center and store for her car engine oil change.

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Category: South Asia

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