69 Independence days later, India, let’s learn to drive.

Its 69 independence days later and the abysmally low, sometimes non-existent level of knowledge about rules of the road make driving in Mumbai, Delhi and other Indian cities more of a job than a pleasure. Here’s hoping the readers share these 5 simple suggestions to make Indian roads stress free.

These are actual driving rules from the book, which nobody in our country bothers to teach us. If on a handful of us city drivers begin to follow these simple thumb rules, things will change in a few years!

1. Cross walk etiquette, let the person cross!

cross-walkDo you recall being taught about a zebra crossing in school? It’s called a ‘cross walk.’ The rule is simple, if you see someone, a pedestrian, a cyclist or even an animal on a cross walk, you STOP. A few seconds of waiting never hurt anyone. And while you’re waiting at the cross walk, keep you hand off the horn please.

2. Converging traffic, who goes first?

How many times have you converged with another car and not known whether to go first, or let him go first? Inevitably, the person who makes it the quickest in India, goes first. This is madness. It is risky, you could collide and it costs money to get that bodywork done. Now if you start trying to understand the rules of the road with a book it will get a little complicated.

Save yourself and the other guy the trouble and follow this simple thumb rule. Think of every car on road to have a red light on the left and a green light on the right. If you see the red side, you STOP. If you see the green side, you GO.

So what does that mean? If you approach a car facing its left side, you STOP and he GOES. If you approach a car, facing it’s right side, you GO and he STOPS. Simple enough?

3. Entering a Circle, or a Round About.

round-aboutYou remember the RED and GREEN rule we just discussed? Forget about that when it comes to entering a circle or a round about without traffic signal control. In the absence of a traffic signal at a circle, you let the person already inside the circle finish what he’s doing. So if you are approaching a round about head on, and you see a car going around it already, do not get ahead of that car! Let him go first.

4. Traffic Signal timers are to Save Fuel!

Perhaps the most misunderstood traffic apparatus on our streets nowadays are those traffic signal countdown timers. They were not put there so that you can start moving when there still are 5 seconds to go! They were put there so that you can switch your car off to save fuel and know exactly when to switch it back on.

Now lets talk about what happens in Mumbai. The waiting traffic starts moving when it reads 5 seconds to green. At the same time, the moving traffic keeps moving till more than 5 seconds after it has turned red again. The result? An unnecessary pile up of vehicles in the middle of the road to save 5 seconds! Do yourself and the rest of the world a favour, the next time the uneducated driver waiting behind you at a timed signal, starts honking at 10 seconds to go, stick your finger out the window and flip him the bird! Wait till it turns green.

5. Honking is Impolite. Period!

hornBlowing that horn, in most civilized places in the world, is a matter of extreme requirement. One does not need to blow that horn to get a pedestrian off a cross walk or overtake a vehicle, just a simple flash of the headlights will get his/her attention. And if that doesn’t work, learn the art of blowing the horn in short pulses. The idea of a horn is to get the other person’s attention, to tell him your intention, not to cause a racket!

There are many more ways we can make our streets stress free and the driving experience pleasurable. Drop in your comments and suggest some more. Share this story to make a difference!

Happy Independence 2015!