Saturday, November 29, 2014

Indian Driving License

Lock up your children and hide your pets, because I can officially drive in India! After many months of waiting (read: procrastinating), I finally applied for and got my "India Driving Licence (Tamilnadu)." I immediately flexed my newfound power by driving to work the rest of the week. 

My first impression of driving in India: Holy Crap! It's a heady mix of terror and exhilaration as you pretty much drive like a maniac and magically everyone around you anticipates your movements and casually drives around you. Don't get me wrong, it's not like there are no road rules. There are obviously tons of them, they're just unspoken... and I don't know them all (yet). For example, in the US you would never make a person going straight stop to let you turn onto the road. Here, there's no need to come to a complete stop before your turn... essentially ever. If that makes traffic stop to let you in, so be it.

Honking has different expectations here also. Motocycles ("two wheelers") regularly honk just to verify that you know they're there. With lanes being a fluid concept here, it makes sense that the 'little guys' are the most vocal. The cacophany of horns is a little confusing at first, but makes sense pretty quickly. Flashing your brights here means the opposite of what it does in the US, which was also confusing for me at first. It essentially means, "I'M GOING FOR IT!"

Writing about driving in India always makes it sound so bad, but honestly it's not. After five months in country, I have yet to see an accident! I'm told they're mostly caused by trucks and buses, generally at night, and in less urban areas. That makes total sense to me, because traffic does not move quickly here. I almost exclusively drive in first or second gear, and I rarely have the occasion to make it all the way up to third.

It's strangely liberating to be able to drive again... next challenge: getting gas!

No comments:

Post a Comment