Saturday, September 5, 2009

Driving on Indian roads - Pleasure or Pain?

I postponed my decision to buy a car until I get some good road sense and gain some experience on the Indian roads. I bought my Honda Aviator, 3 weeks ago. This is the third vehicle that I'm owning. My first vehicle was the bicycle that I got during my high school days. Second vehicle was the Honda Accord, that I owned during my stay in US.

Also read: Shared van/shuttle services in Chennai - hard to find!?

Honda Aviator is very cool. It is stylish, has more leg space and is well suited for tall guys like me. It is also good at shock absorption (apt for Indian roads). I'm obsessed about dark/bright colors and I chose a red colored vehicle. I decided to buy the Honda Aviator model for 3 reasons - I don't have experience driving geared vehicles, I needed more leg space and there was a 2 months wait time to buy a Honda Activa (cannot wait that long!).

I bought this scooter as if I was buying a soap bar at a grocery store. I went to the shop, looked at the scooter and wrote a cheque. My benign attempt to negotiate the price proved to be futile. Well, all the skills that I picked-up during my masters & in sales training faltered. My urge to buy the scooter was higher than the dealer's urge to sell.

Also read: Self-adjusting traffic - a miracle on Indian Roads

I don't have prior driving experience on Indian roads. So, I've been learning quite a few interesting lessons about driving on Indian roads. You can see them below:
  1. You cannot avoid an accident if YOU alone drive carefully.. others also should
  2. People don't treat traffic signs/signals as RULES. They are treated as GUIDELINES
  3. Don't tail gate autos/cars. They may avoid a pit/bump on the road & you cannot
  4. Crossing or taking turns during the first few minutes of a signal change or during the last few minutes of the signal change may be dangerous
  5. Survival of the fittest holds good (You need to master the art of driving through even inches of gap between vehicles)
  6. You cannot avoid honking or getting honked
  7. At times, pedestrians have right of way & at times they don't (It actually depends on the driver)
  8. Your indicator light signals are typically ignored (When you turn-on a "right-side" indicator, the person coming behind on your right will not slow down or give you way)
  9. Expect vehicles from the opposite direction in one-way roads
  10. There is no real speed limit in any of the roads. Use your intuition
Driving on Indian roads is definitely not a pleasure. I'll continue to update this list as and when I learn new things :)

Also read:

Got the two-wheeler driving license - after hours of waiting
Two wheeler service - Can't escape from those long lines and hours of waiting
Heavy Rain made Chennai into Venice

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