Ten tips for driving on Indian roads

I cannot resist writing about roads and driving, since I spend at least an hour on this every week day (and most weekends as well).

So in no particular order, 10 tips for driving in Indian roads.  Anything to make our commute exciting.

1. Drive where there is a road (if not a path). It does not matter if it is the wrong side of the road, No Entry or One way.  Just like water tries to seek its own level, vehicles should fill the space available.  Do this, especially when there is a traffic jam.  When you are blocked, there is no reason why someone else should go.

2. The bigger the vehicle you have, the faster you should drive.  Size does matter.  If you disagree, try blocking an elephant when it charges.

3. Honk as much as possible. Honk when idling, honk when speeding.  Honk to show frustration, honk to relieve frustration.  If you ride a two-wheeler or auto, fit a horn, which sounds like car or truck.

4. Drive always in high-beam, however bright the street lights are, or even in broad daylight. Install powerful LED lights and fog lamps and have them running.  Ensure you do this for two-wheelers as well.
On the other hand, if you are an auto, make you sure do not have any lights, especially tail-lights.

5. Do not indicate when turning or better still, indicate one way and turn the other. It is important to keep your fellow-drivers on their toes and being predictable does not help.
To facilitate this, if the roads are wide enough, keep to the left lane if you want to turn right and vice versa.

6. When stopping in a signal, ensure you do so somewhere ahead of the signal lights and definitely ahead of the zebra crossing, if any.  For one, there are no zebras that need crossing.  For another, you don't need to see when the signal turns - those behind you will honk and let you know.

7. Talk on the cell-phone while driving.  If you are a two-wheeler, make sure you don't slow down, when a call comes.  Instead, with one hand on the handle-bar, insert your other hand into your pocket, take the phone out, check the caller and take it.  If you are more skillful, send an SMS while driving.

8. Hang the helmet in the helmet-holder or keep it in front of you when driving a two wheeler.  Whip it over your head when you come to a place, where you know a cop may lurk.  When past that road, remove it.

9. On a wide road, keep to the right, the slower your vehicle is (and definitely if you are an empty auto).  Just because you are slow, why should you allow others to pass you?

10. In any unmanned crossing, do not wait for your turn. It will never come. Put the nose of your vehicle in front, inch by inch, until you are clear enough to cross.  Tail-gate other vehicles if they have done this - saves you the trouble.

Hmm!  I know this is the eleventh, but since I am subject to this everyday, allow me...

11. If you have any cows or other animals, release them on the road, especially narrow ones.   The darker they are, release them in the darker parts of the road - it is good to test the alertness of drivers.