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Driving In India

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by Steve Dawson, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    I will be visiting India in December as part of a business trip that will involve travelling to several cities some distance apart. My company has suggested that either myself or one of my colleagues could drive whilst in India. However, Indian traffic seems very busy and a little chaotic to me. Could anyone advise me how quickly I would be able to pick up the local rules and regulations and how difficult it would be for a foreigner to drive in India ?

  2. Tanmaya

    Tanmaya Member

    Driving in India is best avoided if you have not been living in India for a few years. A driving license is given after a driving test but you would laugh at the driving test they do. I was told to drive about 100 metres and then take a U turn and come back to where I started. I hardly knew how to drive back then. You could actually get one without having to go for a driving test.

    I am sure this gives you an idea of kind of drivers we have on our roads. Traffic rules would be followed if people knew what they are. Yes we stop at the traffic lights but it is common sight to see people jump red lights and we don't have the concept of driving in a lane. Most problematic thing that you would come across is people overtaking you from your left right and they will try to run over you if their cars could fly.

    A driver's salary is pretty low and it is not hard to find one who can also speak a little bit of English. Rs8000-10000 per month is what people are paying in Delhi NCR these days to give you an idea.
    Steve Dawson and BadBoy like this.

  3. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    Thats similar to what I had heard, thanks for the answer Tanmaya, I think I will avoid driving in that case, I'm not sure my heart could deal with the stress. As drivers are so reasonably priced I think that would be the best option for us. Thanks again
  4. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    Yes, that is right you should avoid driving if you are not familiar with Indian driving culture. Sometimes, I feel that breaking rules is a passion for them just like rules are made to be broken. But there is definite improvement nowadays. But the conditions of roads are not good at some places. A local person might be knowing that well, whereas you may not be familiar with this.

    But regarding driving license I know about South India. We have to demonstrate our driving skills to obtain a license. For four wheelers you need to drive through a "H" without stopping or touching the iron bars. For two wheelers you need to go through a "8" at one stretch. That is the skill test. To become eligible for the skill test you need to go through an objective test first.
  5. Chahal

    Chahal ਜੱਟ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਘੱਟ ਕੀ Staff Member

    Driving skills and traffic rules are two different things. There is no practical test for traffic rules in India that I know of. I took a driving test in UK and failed the written exam once and then failed the driving test because I did not prepare for either thinking Ive been driving for the last 7 years with not even a scratch to any of my cars so I must know a thing or two :)

    My estimate is that atleast 80% of cars on Delhi roads have their side mirrors folded while on the roads to prevent touching other cars LOL. I also believe that some one who went through a driving test and passed with flying colors in one of the developed countries will not be able to drive in Delhi comfortably (initially) and vice versa.
    BadBoy likes this.
  6. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    You are absolutely right! That did not strike me in fact. Yes, there is no test to assess knowledge about traffic rules in India. What we learn is only from the instructor if he is kind enough, but that is not mandatory. The objective test may contain certain questions on it, thats all. I believe there should be a practical test on traffic rules too.

    But when I joined Maruti (Indian Car Manufacturer) to learn driving, they use some advanced stimulators to create on -road driving situations. That was really helpful. Whenever you break any rules while using it, the system will immediately alert you. That is meant to give the learners a first-hand feel of the road before they actually use the vehicle.
  7. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    Driving shouldn't really be considered if your not used to it as it can get a little busy to say the least. Depending on how far away the places are that you need to visit and where your staying will obviously make a difference to what other forms of transport you can look at though.
  8. BadBoy

    BadBoy Active Member

    Ha haa thats true..

    These days TOI newspaper has a page on Delhi traffic.. To drive in delhi u need to be an expert...specially when it comes to the traffic..

    Sent from my GT-S6102 using Tapatalk 2
  9. Chrisanswer

    Chrisanswer New Member

    It depends on where you are. In the south, driving can be a really pleasant experience. The south is beautiful and more sparsely population than the north. In the major cities like Delhi, driving is crazy and definitely an experience you can take home with you. The word congested is an understatement. Online they have basic rules of driving and information you can follow, but I've never been able to apply it in Indian cities
    Tanmaya likes this.
  10. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Sounds tough! I lived abroad for a little while and had to drive on the opposite side of the road and even that was tough, without a crazy level of traffic!

    Traffic always stresses me out, and not knowing where I am going also stresses me out (for instance being in the right lane or whatever) so I would honestly find it easier to hire a driver if the cost was reasonable. Takes a lot of the stress out of it!
    Tanmaya likes this.
  11. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    Thanks for the Answer Chris, yes I would never attempt driving in Delhi, its beyond my comprehension how there are not more accidents there, truly amazing driving and incredible congestion. The driving I was considering was mainly in the South although, after consulting with my colleagues, we have agreed to hire a local driver to drive for us. The cost of a driver is so reasonable and it will give me a chance to enjoy the journey and take in the sights of some of the most beautiful countryside in the World.
  12. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    Many thanks for the answer Amelia, I'm just like you actually, I do find driving really stressful, and lane-changing, particularly in heavy traffic turns me into a nervous wreck. We have decided to hire a driver now and I'm more relaxed about the trip already. The cost of a driver in India is so reasonable and a better deal than you will find virtually anywhere else.
    amelia88 likes this.
  13. DarkStarling

    DarkStarling New Member

    This is the best way of dealing with it I fear, since the traffic and conditions of travelling tend to be awful to say the least. Having someone who is both used to dealing with these particular problems with traffic is the best way, I think. When I went over I hired a car for what I thought was a cheap price in Jaipur, but it just wasn't worth the stress and dealing with the particular ways of some of the Indian traffic. But at least I wasn't hiring my own car in Mumbai...
  14. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    That's great news - glad to hear that it's already becoming less stressful just knowing that the driving portion is taken care of. Plus, if you're being driven it's so much easier to just sit back, and enjoy the scenery! That's one of my favorite parts of traveling and having a driver for the trip!
  15. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    Hiring a driver is certainly one way to avoid the problems of driving yourself in a foreign country. Would you say it's common for tourists to hire a car and driver though, and when you say it's not that expensive, what kind of prices would people expect to pay for the privilege?
  16. moondebi

    moondebi New Member

    It will be very difficult to drive in India even if you are a pro.

    The cities here are a bit too congested during peak hours. For any person coming from a lower populated country, things will be tough to handle. However, if you are staying for a longer duration, you can try your hands out, obviously if you have a driver’s license valid in India. Till then, it is safe to hire a cab or to take the help of local colleagues for the transportation.
  17. Anuj Dhawan

    Anuj Dhawan New Member

    Unfortunately I've to ride on the bad-wagon of saying 'not to try driving in India' if you are new here. Though traffic rules in UK and India are pretty similarbut just don't try it here.

    We also drive on the left had side, well so to say in theory. The lane marking, some dotted, some thick like long ribbon and the 3-different colors in signals make it all look very animated so if we go crazy on roads don't blame us! We do honk pretty hard - sometimes go rhythmic with the music in the car.
  18. Ashwin Mahesh

    Ashwin Mahesh Member

    Hiring a driver in India is not very expensive and also for intra city travels there are app based taxi services like Uber and Olacabs which have come up quite well in some Indian cities though not all. I would any day prefer this approach rather than driving myself which is a very tiresome experience and also very frustrating. It is not just the case of heavy traffic, it is chaotic on the streets. There is no lane discipline and nobody respects the rules of safe and secure driving. Yet you still cannot escape from the blazing horns whether you're driving or being driven.
  19. BayouBilly

    BayouBilly New Member

    +1 - I've never driven in India, but just watching what the taxi drivers had to go through during my visit. Forget about it!
    And I agree, if you have friends that can transport you to and from, take advantage of that! I always had to go through with taxis or public transportation :(.

    And a lot of walking!
  20. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    If a person isn't willing to take the chance of driving in one of the major cities, and they don't have access to transport via a driver, what sort of infrastructure is in place in regards to public transport, and maybe more importantly, what sort of prices would you expect to pay?
  21. bhu1

    bhu1 New Member

    If you want to drive within the city then avoid driving, hire a cab or driver. If you want to drive on the highway then Delhi to Agra (Taj Express Way) is the best place to feel a classical driving experience.
    BayouBilly likes this.
  22. BayouBilly

    BayouBilly New Member

    Haha, no way. After watching what my cabbie had to go through - classical driving experience is not what I'd define it as :).

    I've just seen too many people not respecting the rules of the road in Delhi to even broach the idea of getting behind the wheel. I guess it works for some people, though - but not this guy!
  23. bhu1

    bhu1 New Member

    I am talking about Taj Express Way dude! not in Delhi city
  24. sillyllucy

    sillyllucy Member

    I don't think you will be able to get a license and able to drive if just in town for a short stay. I say stick to taxis and find a driver you like and stick to him. It is so much easier that way!
  25. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    Speaking of licensing, what kind of training and license do you have to have to be allowed to drive in India? I know in a European country you can hire a car if you have a full driving license in your own country, does that apply in India or are the rules a lot more strict?
  26. MichelleVL

    MichelleVL New Member

    Hi Steve! My advise to you is that you avoid driving in India at all costs. A good option is to rent a car and hire a chauffeur during your stay there. My advise is based on your personal safety and that of your colleagues. Driving in India is not safe for someone who has never lived there. The driving is very complicated and chaotic, and from what I saw in my last stay there, there are a lot of hit and runs. So again it's best if you hire a professional. Maybe someone here can suggest a Transportation or Chauffeuring company that you might be able to hire while in India. Best of luck to you. Have a great trip.
  27. Aja

    Aja Member

    It's always good to educate yourself on how to drive in a foreign country. Just because you will driving on the same side of the road, doesn't mean that all of the same rules apply.
  28. Bonzer

    Bonzer New Member

    Driving in India isn't so pleasant. Yes, of course. But things are improving. Expressways, dedicated lanes, and flyovers are coming up everywhere. It may be developing slowly. But the high growth rate of population negates everything. It's embarrassing but true.

    In any case, a foreigner coming to India is best advised to avoid driving and hire a cab or a rent a car along with a chauffeur for the entire length of his/her stay. Air conditioned sedans are available at inexpensive rates and can be pre-booked.
  29. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Well, it really depends on how long you will be staying in India and just how good your driving skills are. Because believe me, they will be really tested in countries like mine or India. Lol. Like you said, it can be chaotic, driving in the roads of India. Be prepared for unusual scenarios you might encounter once you drive in India.

    As much as possible, I'd advice you to just hire a driver for your whole trip. Or better yet, observe the road scenarios first before driving in India. It's not impossible for you to adapt to the local rules, regulations and all these things. But it can take a while before you can fully embrace them.

    Here's a little guideline on what you can expect when you drive in Indian roads or highways:

    • Motorcycles are the major mode of transportation for an average family. Don't be shocked to see three or even more people in one motorcycle. Don't be shocked as well to see children riding the motorcycle, sometimes without even a helmet.
    • Not much space between cars. I wasn't really that shocked with this one as well as this is also the case in my country.
    • Honking is okay. My husband used to live in America and he said that honking your car's horn there is kind of frowned upon. But in India, it's okay to honk especially when you're making a difficult manoeuvre or maybe just because you felt like it.
    • Lenient load limits for bicycles, motorcycles and cars.
    So there you go, it's up to you really. I think it can be a great experience to drive the roads of India even once in your life. It's something that I've never really done but would love to do so.

    Good luck!