India – a driver’s guide

It has come to my attention that there is not a complete and accurate guide for foreigners driving in India. Here in full is my “Highway code for India”

1) Roads, especially in and out of cities, are of good quality and clearly marked with lines, and medians separating main flows of traffic.

a) The lines are intended for guidance only, in order to assist the driver to maintain a straight line, they are not used to indicate separation of vehicles

e.g. 3 “lanes”, depending on the vehicles involved can indicate room for between 1 and 19 vehicles side by side

b) The junction you desire may not be accessible from your direction of travel due to the median. If this is the case you should exit the flow of traffic early and form a contra-flow on the opposite side of the median until you reach your exit. To maximize choice for traffic in the opposite direction, you should drive in the middle to allow oncoming traffic to choose to pass on either the left or right of you.

2) Use of the horn

a) The vehicle’s horn is to be used only in the following cases

i) To indicate your intention to make a left turn ahead

ii) To indicate your intention to make a right turn ahead

iii) To indicate that you are on the road

iv) For any other reason

b) The correct use of the horn is as follows

i) Place hand firmly down on horn

ii) Keep it there until maneuver in point a above is complete

3) Use of indicators

a) Your vehicle must be fitted with between 0 and 2 functioning indicator lights

b) The use of the indicator is limited to providing entertainment for passengers of your vehicle, perhaps in the form of maintaining the beat for a sing-along

c) Intention to turn left or right may be indicated by use of the horn (see above) or as follows

i) driver or passenger (front or rear) may lazily place hand out of window as if to cool hand in the air

ii) turn

4) Junctions

Junctions have either of the following properties

a) “Give Way” – all vehicles on the road must give way to you and allow you free passage

b) “Stop” – on no account should you!

5) Vehicle capacity

The following vehicle maximum capacities should be adhered to

a) 3 passenger auto-rickshaw (aka tuk-tuk): 15 persons (including driver) in Delhi boundaries, unlimited out-with

b) all others: no limit, but guidance is that the older and more open the vehicle, the more passengers should be carried

6) Use of mirrors

a) internal “rear view” mirror if fitted must be positioned to enable eye contact with rear passengers

b) left and right “wing” mirrors should be folded in or removed, this enables improved aerodynamics, and allows maximum number of vehicles to fit in the road.

7) Passing slower vehicles

a) Indicate intention by use of horn (above)

b) look for appropriate space to move into (note, due to special situation in India, the space may be up to 1ft narrower and/or 3ft shorter than your vehicle

c) move into this space by any means required

8) Signals and Police instructions

Signals and Police instructions should be adhered to by all other road users, they do not apply to you.

9) Vehicle breakdowns

a) If possible move your vehicle to the middle of the road to allow free flow of traffic around you

b) If it is not possible to restart the vehicle yourself, attract the attention of others to stop and watch

10) Passenger set-downs, pickup and parking

Your vehicle may stop for any reason and for any length of time at a location best suited to the driver

11) Accidents

If involved in an accident, follow the following steps

a) stop suddenly

b) bleed

c) for emergency assistance dial the ten digit emergency service number appropriate for the service required and your geographic location

d) If a cow is involved, call a holy man

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  • I watched the” Amazing Race” episodes from India and, therefore I’m not at all surprised!! Amazing that most people survive the experience.

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