The Grand Indian ‘Traffic’ Circus

Posted: October 7, 2012 in Random Bluff

Welcome back blog, missed you too!!

Seems like a long time I haven’t posted in T.U.D. Ohhh, wait I was just stuck in traffic, trying to figure out a way following the ‘Traffic Rules’. Traffic rules in India? I don’t remember ever seeing a Traffic Rules book in India. That might partly explain the traffic in India. People seem to be making up their own rules as they go.
And who am I to say that?  One who got his driving license without a test. But still we Indians are too good at cribbing and being judgmental (even if we don’t know the abc of the trade, Yes I can’t play cricket still I feel like Sachin should retire). So here is my humble attempt to reverse engineer the traffic rules from what I observed:

  • Blare the Horn Rule: When you are completely stuck in a traffic jam and there is no chance to move even an inch, it is mandatory to blare your horn, ceaselessly, hoping the vehicle in front of you will convert into a chooper and give you a free way. But again why blame ourselves, the moral science books in primary standard never had a lesson on patience.
  • Head Light Rule: When you use the head-lights, it is absolutely forbidden to use the low beam- completely forbidden.
  • Jumping Signal Rule: Stopping or slowing down at red lights is appreciated. But again depends on personal faith, the first few always have the choice to jump over, over-speeding, and the look on the face as they pull it off… my my, will put monalisa’s smile to shame.
  • Fancy Lines Rule: You can drive anywhere on the road. Some people prefer to drive on the left side. And as a rule never pay any attention to the decorative white line in the middle of the road “Oh I though it”s the road we have to drive on, what’s the fuss about the lines??”
  • Customary Phone/Ipod Rule: It is a felony to be caught driving a motorbike without a mobile phone glued to your hand and ear, or atleast the music player you’ve got. The Chick in the car next to you will be definitely impressed.
  • Grand Abuse Fest Rule: When you collide with a motorist or pedestrian, it is customary to exchange profanities, no matter which party is to be blamed, it’s mandatory to created a scene, apologies are completely forbidden in the ‘moral values’ annexure of the rule book.
  • Never use Zebra crossing Rule: Pedestrians and cows have the right of way. Walk, run, stop, walk again, Jump, grin shamelessly, run again… Kudos, you’ve managed to cross the road ‘Zebra Crossings are for zebras… right ??’
  • Railroad Crossing manifesto: When the gate is closed at a railroad crossing, all vehicles that cannot pass under the gate must stop. If you can bend, crawl or roll yourself and your vehicle under the gate, you can continue without stopping.
  • Ignore hazard light Rule: Turning on the hazard lights (both indicators blinking) means you are going straight and not about to turn (I swear this is true).
  • Defecator Privacy Infringement Amendment: When driving on deserted village roads, look straight ahead not sideways. Please respect the privacy of street side defecators – though it’s completely different while travelling by train.
  • Let the kids pass Rule: When you have to stop behind a vehicle on the road, leave bare minimum space, just enough for kids to pass through. You must strictly follow this; else the adjoining smaller vehicles may use their right of way to sneak in the space in front of you causing traffic jams.
  • Greet the Buddy Guidelines: Applicable for buses/trucks and autos – While diving on a two way street, you may occasionally pull over on the street to have a quick chat with the driver of the vehicle coming from opposite direction. While you are chatting, other vehicles stuck behind you may use their right to honk.
  • The front tyre rule – Applicable for autos and rickshaws, this rule states that wherever you can find the space to stick in the front tyre, you’ve that holy right to move in with full speed, no matter whether sometimes it results in auntyjis being air borne and thrown away.
  • 200 meters wrong side provision: Dont be surprised to find occasional motorcyclists driving in the opposite direction in your lane. Keep your reflexes well tuned for such guys, of course they just have to reach the next lane, who’ll take the toil to find a u-turn when it’s just a matter of driving 200 meters on the wrong side.
  • Right of way Rule: On a 4 way crossing with no traffic cops, it is mandatory that all vehicles should slowly move in their intended direction (straight or left or right turn) simultaneously. The fastest and the quickest vehicle would have the right of way.
  • State sponsored Amusement: Watch out for gymnastics by cyclists.They signal right and left with their heads, ohh sorry that is the state sponsored amusement for onlookers, perfectly legal.
  • ‘Sticking Arm’  Turn Indication: Turn-Indicators on 2 wheeler and sometimes 4 wheeler are to be ignored, what takes priority is sticking out your arm and waving it to indicate that you  are turning left or right. I case you have a co-passenger on the back seat the responsibility of “hath de mudna hai” is to be taken up completely by him/her.
  • ‘Sticking Arm’ Turn Cancellation: Now with this ‘sticking arm rule’ comes the ‘cancelling indicator’ rule as well, sounds complicated.. ehh too simple goes like this – when you are on a 2 wheeler (bicycle or bike), you need to stick your arm out to indicate you’re turning (yes, despite the actual indicator, the arm rule works in India)….and then when you realize that it isn’t where you meant to turn, you can happily stick your arm out again to draw a cross at the same level in the air, thus nullifying the turn (trust me I’ve seen that).


P.S. I missed the most important aspect – parking. But then again, one could argue that “parking” is a topic that requires a whole post dedicated to it. No?

P.P.S. I think out of all the chaos Indians can still take the credit for inventing the smallest unit of time – semi-demi-hemi-nano-second? It’s the time between the traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking like you just didn’t see it!

  1. Radhika Gupta says:

    Zebra crossings are only for zebras.. 😀 😀 Amusing post!!

  2. Ankur Mithal says:

    Hilarious and totally true. You could write a book out of these rules. And invite contributions, since each one of us is an artist in this circus, mostly clowns.

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