Driving in India is not for the faint hearted.
It’s pretty astonishing the way locals are able to navigate the streets of New Delhi unharmed and free from road rage. I’m quite sure any Westerner’s attempt to do the same would result in either (or both) of these.
From my observations, roads rules in India go something like this:
- Honk. A lot. This act warns other cars you’re nearby, usually in the driver’s blind spot. Day or night, you’ll hear a bellow of horns from cars just passing through.
- What lane lines? Some years ago, the Indian Government’s attempt to manage its traffic problem resulted in lane lines being marked. Trouble is, now locals drive as though lanes don’t exist.
- No such thing as the wrong way. We saw many instances of cars appearing out of nowhere, happily driving into oncoming traffic. That’s right, into oncoming vehicles. We’re told Delhi police are clamping down on this dangerous practice. Watch the video below and look out for the white car in the top right corner for proof.
- Night driving = hazard lights. Locals in India seem to drive at night with their hazard lights permanently switched on. This may have been due to the fog in January which limits visibility, or could just be common Indian practice.
Though it’s okay to have a light-hearted laugh at some of the unusual driving habits witnessed in foreign countries, 3 key lessons for those planning any overseas holiday car hire emerge – research, respect and caution.
1. Research the road rules you’ll be driving under before you leave. Do you meet the right licence requirements? Do people drive on the left or right? Are the conditions right for foreign motorists to be driving at all? Your car hire provider is likely to help you.
2. Respect local driving practices and motorists. Though things may be different at home, drive with local road rules in mind.
3. Exercise caution at all times. Drive with more care than you normally would back home. Be prepared for changes in driving conditions including weather.
When it comes to driving overseas, it always pays to think ahead.