1. The Bigger the Righter: Right of Way in four-wheelers means whichever is the bigger vehicle gets its way. So a mini has to give way to a sedan, which has to give way to a luxury vehicle, which gives way to an SUV. However, the bus overpowers all of these and nothing can beat a Horn OK Please truck, OK?
2. Gender Rule: Women drivers are really really bad.
Most men, however, are worse.
3. Absence Changes Everything: If there is no traffic policeman to be seen, then there are no rules in the first place. It’s not merely enough to be a strict rule follower: People around you will be breaking them Left, Right and Center. Accident main dono parties ko takleef hoti hain.
4. The Traffic Light Rule: An Amber Light is a Green Light. A Red Light is a Green Light for the first second.
5. The Jigsaw Puzzle: Traffic is actually a jigsaw puzzle. Whenever you see an empty space on the road, you have to fill it with your vehicle. For two-wheelers, this extends to the pavement when traffic is really dense.
6. It’s All a Test: Every day when you leave your home, you are actually entering a situation reaction test. Anyone in front of you (or behind you) may do anything silly at any moment. You are being prepared for some higher celestial traffic situation.
7. The Road Rage Rule: Save your anger. Hike your tolerance level. You will get a chance to get angry every 15 seconds on Indian roads. That means high BP and eventual heart attack. Save your anger for the really major foul-ups.
8. Be Aware: Keep track of fluctuating oil prices. Keep abreast of all the political developments. When you feel there is a price rise (or even the rumour of one) fill your tank a good 48 hours in advance.
9. The Pedestrian is King: Pedestrians have the ultimate right of way. No zone is out of bounds for them. They can appear suddenly from anywhere and sprint across the road. Remember, if you hit them, it’s ALWAYS your fault.
10. The Gymming Rule: When you go to a gym, forget about working out for your biceps and thighs. Do only exercises that will strengthen your feet, fingers and wrist. Remember: You will be hours at the steering wheel and pedals and only those muscles have to be preserved and strengthened.
11. When an Accident Finally Happens…: Come out with all guns blazing. “It’s not my fault” “It’s his fault…” Swear. When a crowd gathers, patiently explain to everyone how it wasn’t your fault. It’s all about perceptions, not realities.
12. Music or Mantra: Search for a Mantra that calms you. Search for the right music that soothes you. Now use them extensively!
13. Waterworld: Indian roads are prone to get flooded. Make sure your shoes/chappals are dry. If they are wet, they can slip off the pedals. Stick to the middle lane. Follow a vehicle rather than be beside it as wheels splash water. Especially stay clear of trucks and buses, which spray a lot of water. Don’t accelerate suddenly in a flooded area.
14. Small is Beautiful: If you think traffic congestion can’t get any worse, just wait for the Nano!
…and 5 things for the Bangalore roads…
1. One-way Rule: Any one-way may become a two-way overnight. Any one-way may become a two-way overnight. Always read all road signs even if you’ve been driving on the same route for 25 years.
2. Left is not Always Right: In certain areas (like Majestic) you have to suddenly become an American and drive to the Right. There is also a road with three lanes where the middle lane goes in one direction and the outer lanes go in the other direction.
3. The Congested Road Rules: If you have to cover a long distance on Hosur Rd, Sarjapur Rd, Old Madras Road… then keep a good stock of water, CDs and biscuits in your car and patience in your heart.
4. There is a place in Bangalore called Richmond Road Circle. On it there is a flyover. And that flyover has a Red Light on top of it.
5. If you don’t have a Karnataka registration, then get one fast, to avoid being stopped by traffic policemen again and again. Once stopped, you never know what issues may come up.
© Sunil Rajguru