Part II – 10 kinds of characters on Indian city roads

Snapshot – Yesterday, we brought you the first edition of the 10 kinds of weird characters on Indian roads. The second edition is up and ready and here we go.

The one who doesn’t seem to know that something called low beam exists on all cars/two wheelers

Now, this is interesting. Try surveying 10 motorists in India about whether they switch between high and low beams depending on the situation at hand, and there’s a fat chance that 6 out of 10 survey participants would turn a negative. So, that brings us to the issue at hand, to folks who simply don’t know that something called a low beam exists on headlamp set ups of cars and motorcycles. For this set of people, high beams are a way of life and you’ll spot folks like these driving or riding around on well lit roads on high headlamp beams, and perhaps even lit fog lamps thrown in for good measure. Flashing usually doesn’t help as these people don’t really bother responding. So, what’s the solution? Buy yourself a pair of anti-glare driving glasses.

The one who stops in the left-most lane where there is a free left turn at the traffic light. 

If you’ve been driving around in Indian cities, you’ll notice that a lot of junctions have a free left turn at the traffic light. Essentially, the ones turning right need to queue up on the right side of the lane(s) and leave the left lane free for traffic that turn left. Well, this is what happens in the ideal world. We don’t live in an ideal world, do we? So, chances are that you’ll encounter a species of road users who think that it is their divine right to occupy the left most lane at the traffic signal fully knowing that there’s a free left turn up ahead. No amount of honking will serve to get this squatters moving along as they will have to wait until the traffic lights turn green for them to to turn right. Solution – Turn on the music and just endure the wait.

Slow poke in the fast lane

Over crowded buses and autorickshaws, and overloaded lorries are the usual culprits here. While the left most lane is meant for slow moving traffic, exactly the opposite seems to be status quo on most Indian roads. Slow pokes hog the fast lane, delaying traffic around them. Constant honking usually has a few of them speed up, that is if the vehicle they’re driving has enough shove to go faster. If you can’t get them to speed up, you’re better served overtaking from the left. Just make sure you honk liberally to tell the lane hogger that you’re passing her/him from the left.

Lane Weavers

Lane weavers will weave in and out of lanes for no apparent reason. Some will even do this just for the sheer thrill of zig zagging through traffic. If you spot one, it’s best for you to slow down and keep plenty of distance between yourself and the lane weaver, for this set of characters are quite unpredictable.

The “yes, my dad owns the road” kinds

Arguably the worst character on Indian roads are the “yes, my dad owns the road” kinds. In fact, you’ll even spot a few bumper stickers proudly stating to this effect. How do you spot one? A vehicle owner that has absolutely no regard for other motorists, in terms of overtaking, honking, or even parking, can be classified into this mean category. This set of characters are often brazen in the way they break traffic rules, are rash drivers and are usually small time thugs or folks who have political/mafia connection. You’re best off keeping away from such characters. Avoid eye contact or any kind of altercation.