Unusual warning signs on Indian roads - Ignore at your peril

Unusual warning signs on Indian roads – Ignore at your peril

Warning signs come in many forms on Indian roads. There’s no fixed standard and this is what makes it all the more tricky. Ignoring these signs can be very dangerous to you, and can even result in fatal accidents. So, how do you figure out what’s going on. We’re here to help.

Truck drivers and their indicators


You’re driving pretty fast, at about 80 Kph on the highway. You see a truck sitting on the right lane, going much slower than you, at say 40 Kph. However, the truck’s left indicator is constantly flashing. You slow down, and try to figure things out.

You honk a few times, and the truck driver shows no signs of shifting to the slow lane. Yet the indicator keeps flashing. What is the truck driver trying to tell you here? He’s saying that you’re free to overtake.

The next time you come across such behaviour from a truck ahead of you, you can “cautiously” overtake from the left, but ensure that you honk enough and let the truck driver that you’re passing. A similar scenario can happen with the truck flashing its right indicator too.

Pothole warning

Pothole Warning

Large potholes on Indian roads are so many that the government does little to cordon them off. Virtual death traps on Indian roads, potholes, along with speed breakers are a major cause of road accidents, and deaths. However, good people still exist, and they take pains to fill up the pothole with stones and branches, just so that you know that there’s a large, dangerous pothole ahead. So, the next time you spot a coconut tree branch sticking out of the road, you know why it’s there.

Manhole warning

manhole warning

[Image courtesy Tribune]

During the rains, open manholes are death traps. On an unfamiliar road, it’s always advisable to the stick to the middle when you’re driving. “Unoffocial” manhole warnings consist of a rag tied to a stick that juts out to warn approaching motorists. So, when you see one, give the space a wide berth.

Cricket ball or football

Flying cricket ball

[Image courtesy Flickr]

When a cricket or football comes bouncing onto the road, s-l-o-w down. Invariably, there will be someone chasing it, and more often than not, it’ll be a kid running after the ball. You don’t want to run over some one, do you?

Red rag on metal rods

Truck Rods

Exposed metal rods jutting out from the back of a truck are dangerous but there’s little that authorities do to prevent cargo being carried this way. It’s very easy to run into metal rods unknowingly, especially at night. So, if you see a red rag flapping about in front of the car, get cautious. It’s usually a warning signal that truckers use on protruding rods.

Branch or tyre on road

Truck Breakdown Warning

[Image courtesy NavinHarish]

A branch or a tyre on a road may be a freak thing in the developed world. In India’s it’s a warning signal that there’s a breakdown ahead. You’ll find this frequently on Indian highways, with broken down trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. If you spot one, slow down immediately.

Hazard lights

Hazard Lamps

[Image courtesy Team-BHP]

Hazard lights are meant to be used when a car stops in the middle/shoulder of a road, due to some emergency. However, in India, they’re used for many purposes. As soon as motorists enter tunnels, they begin flashing their hazard lights. So, you shouldn’t blindly brake, thinking that the car ahead is stationary. Also, hazard lights are used when a motorist sees a large speed breaker or pothole. So, when you see hazard lights being flashed by a car ahead of you, proceed cautiously.