Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 47
  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617

    Driving in India - Testing times

    Having been here for a while I decided that it was finally time to get my Indian driving license. Actually the truth is I decided this some time back but it took me a while to get around to it.

    Those of you who have been here will know that just about everyone in India, and there are a lot of people here, have their own, unique take on the rules of the road. This does make for some interesting spectacles:





    Whilst I suspect that the driver isn't, the tractor certainly seems to be enjoying itself in a dog around the ankles sort of way.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Before anyone points it out, most of these pictures have come straight off the net as they are more to illustrate a point than show any great photographic prowess on my part.

    Whilst barmy driving is the cause of some accidents in India, issues of vehicle maintenance do occur from time to time. Heavily laden trucks with iffy brakes tend to make a bit of mess of things:





    Bit graphic the one below, so skip past it if it will give you sleepless nights.


  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    It's not just the trucks that can be a hazard, cars too can sometimes create impromptu surprises:



    I'm guessing that it is/was front wheel drive. It would have been like a low-budget Bollywood version of a multistage rocket.

    I wonder what the driver made of it.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Roads too can hold surprises for the unwary motorist, from small holes:



    to slightly larger ones:





    Just to prove it's not all bad here, Canada seem to have taken a leaf out of India's book on road maintenance, specifically the chapter extolling the virtues of a good pothole:


  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    There are some roads where you can open it up a bit. The Bandra-Worli SeaLink in Mumbai is a popular venue for seeing what your car is capable of.

    David Coulthard had a successful crack at it:



    Not all drivers are born equal though:


  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    So far I may have painted a somewhat dire picture of Indian roads. Most of the time I spend in the car is actually in cities, and the traffic there is much like most other cities in the world:




    It's probably wrong to say it's just like anywhere else in the world. It is a little bit different:




    Hmmmmm, thinking about it, it is actually quite a bit different:


  7. #7
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    One of the great things about India is the road signs you see around the place. These ones are all from up in the mountains where the air is a bit thin so are probably more extreme versions of what we normally come across. They are all also from the net because because I'm too slow/lazy to take my own pictures:













    And this one takes a bit of fathoming out:


  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    So it can probably be divined that driving in India can at times be challenging, and therefore some may question why on earth would I want to. In all honestly I'm not sure, but I do quite enjoy the complete anarchy on the roads and I am fairly confident that this is one of the few countries where the majority of drivers are worse at it than me. Put another way, I can drive appallingly badly, ignoring all other road users, and not stand out from the crowd.

    And so slightly over six months ago I went to get my driving license.

    Now, what happens is you hand over an enormous amount of documents and are given in exchange a provisional license that is valid for six months. During the six months you need to take the actual driving test.

    Fairly typically, the bit about doing the actual test was immediately forgotten about by me. It was therefore a bit of a surprise when one of my office colleagues poked his head around my door last Friday and said that i had to go to sort out my license.

    Now 'sorting out' as many will know, can be read in many ways, and my hopes were up as we arrived and were met by two fixers who confidently strode off to sort things out.

    Whilst the discussions were going on in Hindi, after a while it became clear that not all was going to plan. Following a rather painful few minutes of watching three grown men each trying to stand behind each other, one of them plucked up enough courage to tell me that I would have to actually take the test.

    The examiner was concerned to make sure that I could drive a car, which is actually quite fair enough. The three stooges going in to bat on my behalf were rather concerned that I couldn't, which could then make my getting a driving license a tad more tricky.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    And so down to the test track we went.

    Attached to the wall of the test track were a series of signs.

    Tell you what, this doesn't look too bad, I'll certainly be able to do this bit:




    I'm assuming this is a sort of sobriety test. Yup, after a few rounds of the test track I'd still be able to say this pretty fluently I think.




    Looks like I'll need to be a bit careful at chucking out time though:




    Hello, the last one seems a bit different?



    Starts on a fairly positive note but then...

    Perhaps it's just a poor translation. Stuff like that can happen.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    And so the test track. Now the test here is a bit like the one in Bangkok if any of you have done that, except this one is largely off-road. Given some of the earlier pictures on this thread it seems quite sensible

    Here's a map of what people are expected to do:


  11. #11
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Being a bit taller than many around me I could peer over the fence to get a sneak preview.

    On the map I'm standing at the top right corner. This photo is taken facing the bottom left corner:




    and then this one is taken facing the top left corner on the map:



    This may actually be a bit more difficult than it seems simply as there is no clear way of seeing what is meant to be a road and what isn't.

    It surely can't be that difficult?
    Last edited by Roobarb; 27-11-2013 at 04:55 AM.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    What happens is that the test track opens at 2pm and closes at 4pm, so cars start queuing up an hour or so before:

    So, time to be introduced to the steed I'll be riding into battle. Where is this great warhorse?



    Ummm, were clearly not going to be test driving the last word in automotive excellence here..

    Me: "So, which one am I going to be driving?"

    Other fellow: "Err, you see that truck over there?"

    Me: "Yup"

    Other fellow: "Just there"

    Me: "I'm driving the truck? Cool"



    Other fellow: "No, just to the left of it"

    I can admit now that I was ever so slightly disappointed.

    You see, it's all about presentation. If you see someone driving a Hyundai Alto (which is what the little rocking horse of a car I'll be perched upon is) then you just immediately assume that they are a learner driver.

    The truck - just look at the thing. It's like something out of Mad Max. Nobody would dare question you.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    And so we're off.

    Now, how the test works is you carry your file on the passenger seat. There are marshals at the main handling bits of the track to watch your reversing and things.

    These guys are fairly patient it has to be said, but if you clearly don't know what you are doing then they will take the file off you and you then have to drive off the track.

    Happily it does turn out to be something of a procession



    The trick is to get around the track and still have your file at the end.

    Now, we have from right to left

    - White Hyundai Alto, Bloke driving
    - White Honda City, Bird in that one
    - Another White Alto, Bloke in that one
    - Grey Swift, Bird
    - Silver Alto, Roobarb (bloke)

    Beginning to feel that the small pantomime horse of a car s not such a bad choice

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Around the first bend:



    First Alto is though...

    Honda City falls at the first fence...

    Yes, I have a real chance of not being failed purely on choice of vehicle.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Next up, second Alto is doing a good job when suddenly the Swift leaps ahead to block his reversing manoeuvre.

    This is not looking good.

    Lots of revs on the Swift, reversing lights on, even more revs now - Hell, I'm in the firing range.

    The Suzuki shoots back and stops just a few inches from my brave little Alto. I gingerly back away a bit. This place is dangerous.



    Oh dear, the marshal fellow appears to have been quite unimpressed with that particular bit of driving. The file has been removed.

    After that I had a clear run at the thing, so rather than buggering around taking holiday snaps for you lot I just finished it off and got out of the as fast as I could before I was rammed by another hopeful driver.

    I left the track just in time to see this fellow being turned away in his bullock cart. No idea what he was doing there:



    Apparently I passed. The license is in the post they said.

    Hey ho for the open road, nothing can stop me now!


    Ummmm


  16. #16
    Thailand Expat
    beerlaodrinker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Online
    Today @ 10:54 AM
    Location
    vientiane
    Posts
    6,521
    Excellent post roobarb, your a braver man than me , fok getting behind the wheel in india, Just out of curiosity do you see many female drivers in india? i cant recall seeing any but that was a long time ago

  17. #17
    I am in Jail
    leemo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Last Online
    07-10-2015 @ 02:27 PM
    Location
    pty
    Posts
    2,608
    Not sure about now but before I went to India in '88 my research said 50k die on its roads each year. Mystery if that included only those dead at the scene, though I couldn't imagine many critical but saveables survive first the wait for rescue and then the trip to the mortuary, er, hospital, or for that matter once they got there.

  18. #18
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    17,873
    I drove in India for three years. From one side of New Delhi to the other two or three times a day, and numerous out-of-town long trips. I've lived in many countries, and India was the most dangerous driving I have ever encountered.

  19. #19
    Cool Cat
    Perota's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Last Online
    15-03-2017 @ 05:11 PM
    Location
    Bangkok, Korat
    Posts
    3,019
    Quote Originally Posted by Roobarb View Post
    One of the great things about India is the road signs you see around the place. These ones are all from up in the mountains where the air is a bit thin so are probably more extreme versions of what we normally come across. They are all also from the net because because I'm too slow/lazy to take my own pictures:













    And this one takes a bit of fathoming out:


    Absolutely excellent !

    I've also a collection of pictures of road sign in India. They are often hilarious but always to the point. Indian culture is really something unique.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Quote Originally Posted by beerlaodrinker View Post
    Excellent post roobarb, your a braver man than me , fok getting behind the wheel in india, Just out of curiosity do you see many female drivers in india? i cant recall seeing any but that was a long time ago
    Yup, BLD, there are are an increasing number of woman drivers in India.

    On saying that, driving is pretty easy around where I live (Gurgaon) as the roads are wide, straight and devoid of the normal street clutter thay you get in the major cities. Women do find it a bit easier to venture behind the wheel here, ahem, as do I.

    As Davis points out, driving in parts of Delhi and Mumbai is not for the faint hearted, but as traffic moves so slowly your greatest chance of being injured is in a punch up after the accident when discussing who is at fault (at least it is for me, Davis is probably less at risk of this I'd imagine... ). The bigger challenge is driving out of town where the speeds rise a bit. You do need to keep your wits about you for that.

    Leemo, I'm pretty sure you're right on the vagueness on the statistics, centralised records keeping for most things in India is pretty much unheard of and as I'm sure you found out, everyone in India tends to do things their own way.

    Hey Perota, good to hear from you. If you manage to dig out the pictures of the India signs then please do post them up. As you say they often manage to make a serious point in a funny way. I like that.

  21. #21
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    17,873
    I drove from Delhi to Kashmir a few times. Scary trips, as you end up constantly having to pass overloaded trucks that are creeping along at high risk of 'turning turtle'. But, for me, the Delhi-Agra drive was the most dangerous. I eventually quit doing it and resorted to the trains.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    Kashmir... Good lord Davis, I thought I was doing well to have ventured as far as Jaipur!

    The old Agra road was pretty scary. They opened a proper highway from Delhi to Agra a year or so back that has reduced the travel time to about 2 hours. I've yet to give it a go but apparently it's a vast improvement.

  23. #23
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    17,873
    When I was there, the Delhi-Agra run was a narrow two-lane road with soft shoulders; it was horrible.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
    Smug Farang Bore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Last Online
    01-04-2019 @ 08:04 PM
    Posts
    3,867
    Good pics there

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
    Roobarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Last Online
    23-04-2016 @ 12:30 AM
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    1,617
    ^ Cheers SFB - I can only take credit for the ones at the driving test track, all the rest are straight off the internet.

    For all it's failings, or probably because of them, India does at least provide colourful subject matter.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •