A first time visitor’s guide to India – Pt.1 – Traffic

In an auto-rickshaw

Beware, evasive manoeuvres imminent

I know there’s tonnes of articles around about preparing for a trip to India, but I really wanted to share the things that I suppose I wasn’t so well prepared for, or things that are simply useful to know! As I write them I will link to the others at the bottom.

Today’s topic – traffic!

Traffic! Yes, we’ve all seen it on the TV and of course for most of us the last thing we will be doing in India is driving, so apart from being held up maybe in a taxi or auto-rickshaw, why should I consider it? Well, see those roads right? at some point, if you actually want to go anywhere, you’re gonna have to cross some of them!

And believe me, in India, traffic lights, zebra crossings, they count for nothing! So, for those of you in the UK, forget your green-cross-code, there’s no more stop, look and listen, oh no, if there’s a gap and there’s a vehicle hurling towards you – you gotta go! This is your only chance!! Yes, it’s bloody scary and goes against everything you’ve ever been taught ! The first time I was dragged across a 6 lane (6!!) highway, weaving through some moving, some not so much, traffic I freaked, but I got used to it! my biggest tip here? Stand to the left hand side of a group of crossing Indians – when they go, you go! They know the score – and in the event of any sort of an issue, they act as a buffer between you and the oncoming vehicle! – although very unlikely this will happen – they’re pro’s

I know that should I end up living in India, I won’t drive, EVER! I am one of these people who get’s really mad when people don’t obey the rules of the road, I spend at least 3 hours on the road every day commuting, so I guess that’s where the passion comes from, but in India, I think the rules are, that there isn’t any rules? Do traffic offences actually exist there? I’m guessing not – I drew this assumption on the way to the hotel from the airport shortly after landing in Mumbai when the auto I was in got fed up of the traffic and weaved through the crash barrier to go the wrong way down the opposite side of the highway!! crazy!

And Auto-rickshaw drivers – a funny breed – so many times we tried to hail one, asked our destination, only for them to drive off! We couldn’t figure it out, we only wanted to go 5 mins down the road to the station! So Babu tried asking alone – just in case it was me that was the issue – but no, that didn’t work either! We never did figure it out, good job it was only a 15 minute walk – never the less – Babu was not pleased about walking!

Also on the subject of Auto-rickshaws – in Mumbai at least – they have a pricing card, which relates to the reading on the meter somehow. the pricing has recently changed and there is a lot of issue about over pricing – we came across a few auto-wallas who were trying to charge us a fixed price as well- an inflated one at that – this is not allowed! So if you’re heading that way take a copy of the tariff with you – it can be found here (I wish I’d know that before going!) and if you still have an issue, you are perfectly within your rights to flag a nearby traffic officer who should also be carrying a copy of the tariff!

If anyone else has any useful traffic related nuggets to share, please comment below!


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