Driving in India


Traveling in India is an almost hallucinatory mixture of sound and sight.
It is frequently heart-rending, sometimes hilarious, mostly exhilarating,
always unforgettable - and, when you are on the roads, extremely dangerous.
Most Indian road users observe a version of the Highway Code based on
some ancient text or on the position of the moon. In general the 12 rules of
the Indian road code are:

ARTICLE I

The assumption of immortality is required of all road users.

ARTICLE II

The following Order of Precedence must be accorded at all times. In
descending order give way to: cows, elephants, heavy trucks, buses, official
cars, camels, light trucks, buffalo, jeeps, ox-carts, private cars, motorcycles,
scooters, auto-rickshaws, pigs, pedal rickshaws, goats, bicycles carrying goods,
handcarts, bicycles carrying passenger(s), dogs, pedestrians.

ARTICLE III

All wheeled vehicles shall be driven in accordance with the maxim: to
slow is to falter, to brake is to fail, to stop is defeat. This is the Indian
drivers\' mantra.

ARTICLE IV

Use of horn:
Cars (IV, 1, a-c): Short blasts indicate supremacy, i.e. in clearing
dogs, rickshaws and pedestrians from path. Long blasts denote supplication, i.e.
to oncoming truck, "I am going too fast to stop, so unless you slow down we
shall both die". In extreme cases this may be accompanied by flashing of
headlights. Single casual blast means "I have seen someone out of India\'s 870
million people whom I recognize", "There is a bird in the road (which at this
speed could go through my windscreen)", or "I have not blown my horn for several
minutes."
Trucks and buses (IV, 2, a): All horn signals have the same meaning, "I
have a gross weight of 12.5 tons and have no intention of stopping, even if I
could." This signal may be emphasized by the use of headlights.
Article IV remains subject to the provision of Order of Precedence in
Article II above.

ARTICLE V

All manoeuvres, use of horn and evasive action shall be left until the
last possible moment.

ARTICLE VI

In the absence of seat belts (which there is), car occupants shall wear
garlands of marigolds. These should be kept fastened at all times.

ARTICLE VII

Rights of Way: Traffic entering a road from the left has priority. So
has traffic from the right, and also traffic in the middle.
Lane discipline (VII, 1): All Indian traffic at all times and
irrespective of direction of travel shall occupy the centre of the road.

ARTICLE VIII

Roundabouts: India has no roundabouts. Apparent traffic islands in the
middle of crossroads have no traffic management function. Any other impression
should be ignored.

ARTICLE IX

Overtaking is mandatory. Every moving vehicle is required to overtake
every other moving vehicle, irrespective of whether it has just overtaken you.
Overtaking should only be undertaken in suitable conditions, such as in the face
of oncoming traffic, on blind bends, at junctions and in the middle of
villages/city centers. No more than two inches should be allowed between your
vehicle and the one you are passing; one inch in the case of bicycles or
pedestrians.

ARTICLE X

Nirvana may be obtained through the head-on crash.

ARTICLE XI

Reversing: no longer applicable since no vehicle in India has a reverse
gear.

ARTICLE XII

The 10th incarnation of God was as an articulated tanker.
In order to make it from point A to point B, strict adherence must be
paid to the rules of the road, irrelevant of the distance between points A and B.
To truly understand this phenomenon you must experience it for your self.
Driving is no longer a means of transportation, it\'s a fight of survival and
road supremacy.

Category: English