Rules of the Road for driving in India: there are none.
Or at least there are none that your regular licensed non-Indian would recognise. I am writing this whilst steaming along the highway number 2 in the very breezy backseat. Today is a good day, no monsoon passenger soaking rain.
Where a cow on the M25 would make the BBC nine o’clock news, herds of goats, camels, roaming wild dogs are par for the course here. Whilst is it common knowledge that cows in India are sacred and pretty much wander anywhere, they do seem to have a special affinity with tarmac. It is not unusual to come across a lone cow standing directly in the middle of fast oncoming traffic, mesmerised with some suicidal death wish, but play chicken with a cow and the cow always wins.
Dual carriageways operate pretty much as you would expect until you find yourself pummelling headlong into a truck or cart top-loaded beyond the law of physics. The other carriageway? Perfectly OK, but apparently no point in using.
Moving through a traffic jam then feel free to sit your front wheels on top of the bumper / door / bonnet of any adjacent vehicles, regardless of size. An inch between your tuk tuk and the car in front, definitely space for a bicycle or truck to squeeze through, whilst absolutely EVERYONE honks there horn to let everyone else know they are here and intend to move forward. Sprinkle liberally with people, cows, the odd child and a man who has set up shop selling ping pong balls and you pretty much have a regular traffic scene. (Note: traffic always = traffic jam)
Never ever look behind you when driving. It will scare the holy crap out of you. Your only responsibility is for what is in front of you and how you can get past it, likewise for the guy behind you.
Potholes ranging from a reasonable suitcase size to huge craters – appear on all and any road. Some of these will swallow a tuk tuk whole – often they come disguised as a harmless puddle, which Dave, Mitch and Andy found out on the slip road to the motorway today. If there are no potholes, the authorities will dig some especially deep but sharp edge drop ones for you as we found in Gaya in the middle of random intersections. Now don’t think that means there are no good roads in India, the one we are currently travelling on, the N2, is lovely and smooth. We are bombing along at 50km per hour, until we come to a cleverly disguised speed hump. Not the nice sort you get in England, more a sharp little hillock, which will launch the unwary into space.
So that’s all from the road today, except we have just been pulled over by the police. We thought we had best comply – who knows what road rule we have broken. We are relieved to find out that they are only investigating a murder and would like to buy us a cup of chai.
Crapsticks… swift save there from Laura…. laptop going back into back… need both hands to hold on…