Image source : Awayglobe.com
Image source : Awayglobe.com

I’m sure you’d agree that driving in India is no joyride. It’s not easy for drivers to drive on Indian roads and it’s a high risk for pedestrians including children to step on Indian roads. One has to be alert all the time or you could end up paying a huge price. Personally I’ve witnessed very rash driving on Hyderabad roads.

The few times I’ve visited Hyderabad, I was on edge, when I was traveling on the city’s  busy roads. In a way every city is unique when it comes to its driving etiquette. Bengaluru’s traffic is known to be slow- moving which again is a cause of frustration for many drivers who have to reach their destination on time.

Let’s reflect what makes driving in our country different from driving in other countries?

Excess honking is one aspect that comes to my mind when it comes to driving etiquette in India. Drivers use the horn when they see women on roads, when they are resentful, when they are frustrated or they use it when feel like using it.

Usage of horn in heavy traffic further heightens the frustration in drivers who are ahead of them in a traffic because as it is they can’t move in a heavy traffic. It sends negative vibes to other drivers and may even lead to road rage incidents. In fact in many countries, unnecessary usage of horn is considered discourteous.

When one travels  at night, it’s common to see several vehicles using high beam lights. This only goes to show, their lack of consideration towards fellow drivers. I’ve personally seen cab drivers using these lights at nights. Usage of high beam lights in darkness hurts the eyes of other drivers and could be a source of fatal accidents.

 Recently while returning home from a long day of heavy shopping,  our moving car was blocked by a herd of cows.  We had to patiently wait till they moved out of the way. Animals like cows and dogs can risk not only the driver’s life but also the life of pedestrians. I’m an animal lover myself however roads are not the place for stray animals.

Then there are drivers who don’t abide by the lane discipline rules and rash drivers would cut across the road, from any direction they wish. Sometimes it seems like they are playing a road game and it’s quite amusing to see this. Another common sight is – overloaded trucks and vehicles carrying loads beyond their capacity.  Seeing overloaded vehicles on roads is what freaks me out the most as you may never know when the vehicle would overturn resulting in a disastrous accident.  I bet you’ve seen many such vehicles on the highway.

Being a pedestrian on Indian roads is quite a gruelling task especially if one is accompanying a child or a senior citizen. Many pedestrians are not allowed to cross the road even while crossing on the pedestrian street. It’s always the ‘Me  first’ attitude’ that most of the drivers follow.Having said this, I’ve also seen absent- minded pedestrains who could also be the source of fatal accidents. It’s not always the driver’s fault.

My heart also goes out to all those patients who have to reach the hospital, traveling in an ambulance during an emergency.The stress of reaching the hospital on time would kill the patient more than the disease itself.  In case of emergencies when an ambulance has to reach it’s destination on time, there are not many drivers who would give way. Except for a few thoughtful drivers, most drivers would not budge.

This goes to prove that we don’t give importance or value other people’s lives. What if the suffering patient was someone from our own family or a close friend?  Many families opt not to take an ambulance in case of emergencies, fearing delay. This is not the case abroad. Giving way to an ambulance is a priority for every driver. 

Having said all this, let’s look at the situation from a driver’s perspective. Indian drivers too face a lot of setbacks while driving on Indian roads. First and foremost the roads are not up to the mark. Very often we’d find roads that are full of pot holes and deep craters. 

Some roads are too narrow to accommodate huge vehicles. The infrastructure to handle thousands and thousands of vehicles on road is poor. There are unscientific and unsafe speed breakers. In many cities  not much action is taken against rash drivers and they also need to deal with unpredicatble pedestrians.Yet despite all the odds our drivers endure the setbacks and carry on.

Driving in India is not a cake walk and most outsiders would agree that it is nothing less than a roller coaster ride.  Some may find it amusing too. However it’s ironic that India  is not one of the top countries when it comes to fatal accidents on roads.

Nevertheless, a little consideration for fellow drivers and pedestrians could go a long way in making Indian roads a better place to walk and drive in. It’s understandable that no one can be perfect to the tee, when it comes to driving however we could ensure to follow basic driving rules, take safety precautions and practice proper driving etiquette as life is precious.

Nissan Motor Co. conducts Nissan safety driving forum as part of it’s safety driving promotion activities.  They began with three cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai and this year they would cover eight cities namely Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi. Their main objective is to promote safe driving behaviour in India. You could learn more about the Nissan safety driving forum by clicking here -> Nissan safety driving forum .

Note : This post is written for Indiblogger’s Nissan Safety Driving Forum Contest. 

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