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Old 12th September 2009, 11:28   #16
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Amit, I can understand your frustration. Have gone through the same. It took me quite a while to come to terms with "Indian way of road sense" again.

As for the close shaves, it's almost regular, here are couple of the big ones:

1. Traveling to Chennai. On the flyover (on GQ) in Vellore. Nice road, so doing around 80. Moved to the right lane to cross 2 trucks on the middle lane. There was a small curve also. Suddenly on the curve an ambulance came from right in front, all its lights and sounds switched off. It would have been a head on (approx 180-200 KMPH relative speed), but I somehow managed to squeeze my vehicle in between the truck and the ambulance. At the point of crossing my Left mirror was brushing against one of tires of the truck. Ironically, the opposite lanes were totally empty when this happened.

2. Traveling to Kodai. On Dindigul bypass, again the road is good and I'm driving on 80. From far away I could see one guy crossing the other side and standing on the median. I approached with caution. Only when I was around 20-30 ft away from him, he tried to cross the road again. I changed lane immediately, but eventually he was just in front of me, within 15 feet. I had to screech to stop, and managed to stop within one foot of him. If I was in his place, I would've fainted by then, but this guy was laughing. That's when I noticed that he is mentally dis balanced.

I guess the real pain for people who have seen the better is, they know how it could be a lot better, only if people behaved well on the road.
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Old 25th December 2013, 16:16   #17
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I can feel your frustration Amit. After having spent 15 months among the well-behaved Canadian drivers and their smooth roads, getting used to Indian conditions again will eventually happen.

Take a look at our system here. Almost anyone can easily get a driving license in India. Show a bored inspector that you can start a car and get it to move, and you pass the so-called driving "test". A fellow classmate of mine, who has never driven a car before, applied for a 2 wheeler and LMV license a while back. During the test, he told the inspector that he was getting late for a college exam. The inspector didn't bother with any test, and passed him. He has that receipt kinda thing you get that you can use until your license reaches you in the mail. So, what do we have here? A person who doesn't even know that he needs to check if the car is in neutral before firing up the engine, or depressing the clutch before starting(never mind etiquette and safety while driving on the highways), has a license to drive a car anywhere in India.

I feel, the only way to resolve the problems faced by Amit on our Indian roads is to implement driving test standards like Japan and UK, cancel the licenses of every Indian, and ask everyone to reapply for a license. Only those who can pass the new tests should be allowed to drive.

Of course, this solution is a fantasy, and is never going to actually happen. Till then,we need to put up with all the idiots who inhabit our roads.
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Old 20th March 2014, 13:51   #18
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Old 26th March 2014, 15:47   #19
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Almost ran over a young girl today.

This happened in a place called Medavakkam, its the road that connect southern suburb of Chennai to the IT corridor i.e, OMR.

So there I was riding my bike at 30-40 kmph, I see a girl at a good distance ahead of me crossing the road from left to right side and there was this other girl who was crossing from right to left. I guessed that both of them will cross the road and as I approach them, my estimation is correct.

Suddenly, the girl who had crossed the road from left to right realised that the girl she just crossed is a known person and decides to jump back on the road. A fraction of second and a mild stoppie later I find both of them giggling, still occupying the left most lane of the road.

Thank god for not sustaining any injuries for both me as well as the girl, I could have been rear ended. More over, people are of the opinion that it is always the bikers fault if a pedestrian is involved. Holds 100% true if it is a fancy/fast bike.
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Old 16th July 2014, 17:34   #20
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Originally Posted by katchkamalesh View Post
Suddenly, the girl who had crossed the road from left to right realised that the girl she just crossed is a known person and decides to jump back on the road. A fraction of second and a mild stoppie later I find both of them giggling, still occupying the left most lane of the road.
Something similar happened with me during my last week's bike trip. The incident happened near Jaleshwar, Odisha. I was doing a good 60-70 KMPH on my bike on that state highway. A young girl (12-13 yrs) was standing on the road shoulder. By the look on her face, I could sense that she wants to cross the road. I am just seconds away from the spot. I think she will wait for me to cross. In fact, she looks to be waiting for me to cross. I chop off the throttle...thinking just in case. Goodness gracious...I was right. The girl decides that it is the best time of the day to cross the road, a few feet from a bike traveling at about 55-60 kmph. I apply the brakes hard, don't know why but I was ready for it since beginning. Thankfully the wheels did not lock. Those OEM TVS tires are not that bad as they are made out to be.

I feel like stopping and giving her a piece of my mind but then I get reminded of the educated people in cities driving like maniacs and here she is an uneducated village girl. I shake my head in disbelief and get back on the throttle.
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Old 10th December 2015, 13:31   #21
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Had a close shave on Monday night. This is why I avoid driving Indian highways at night. Can't blame the old guy, he couldn't probably see well enough to judge the speed of on-coming vehicles at night. I honked loudly and he came to his senses just in time. I actually sprained my wrist in the effort to hit the horn button so fast. You can even hear the ABS doing the job.


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Old 10th December 2015, 14:26   #22
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Had a close shave on Monday night. This is why I avoid driving Indian highways at night. Can't blame the old guy, he couldn't probably see well enough to judge the speed of on-coming vehicles at night.
Woah Samurai that was pretty close and really glad it did not turn into a statistic

I hate night driving myself and avoid this at all cost. Even for experienced travellers, it is almost impossible to predict/anticipate the speed or size of a vehicle at night, especially with the high beams in full glory

In your video, the highway seems to be lit quite well, but I shudder to imagine the outcome if this was one of those numerous unlit, dark highways of our Indian roads.
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Old 10th December 2015, 15:01   #23
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Had a close shave on Monday night. This is why I avoid driving Indian highways at night. Can't blame the old guy, he couldn't probably see well enough to judge the speed of on-coming vehicles at night. I honked loudly and he came to his senses just in time. I actually sprained my wrist in the effort to hit the horn button so fast. You can even hear the ABS doing the job.
You are quite lucky that he didn't do what normally the local village folks would do in a situation like this.

- Panic and freeze in your path
-Continue walking like they don't know anything
- or scoot across

I've had two such experiences in which both were old , mentally un-stable persons. One confused me by moving to and fro and finally had to do something similar to avoid.
The other just stood still when I approaching at good speeds on the bike. Thank God for the ABS on the Duke.
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Old 13th March 2016, 11:08   #24
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Hi Amit. I can understand your position on this matter. The people here have virtually no traffic sense. One may make an argument for traffic density and population, but just a 4 day trip abroad shows you this is not true. I had been to Bangkok, peak hours in the city traffic. A bus was backing out of the hotel parking and the traffic was held up for about 5-8 minutes on the main road. There were two wheelers, cars, other buses waiting for the bus to reverse and join the traffic. Mind you they all missed 2-3 signals at the junction about 100m away. Not one vehicle honked. Not one two wheeler tried to drive over the footpath or any narrow passage between the bus and the underside of the flyover as the bus was backing out. It was a weekday, morning hours around 9ish. Not one abuse, not one physical assault, not one angry word. I was left stunned. I cannot for the life of me imagine such a scene anywhere in India. I think we (you and me) expect others to follow the rules too, as we do. Probably this thing from the gita will help even here, karm kar phal ki chinta mat kar (work without expecting the fruits of the labor). I am myself struggling with implementation of the above. But i try to. I have experienced the kind of behaviour demonstrated by those people on the road, you mentioned in your post.

My own experience, it was my birthday. I was driving back from my workplace to a lunch party with my girlfriend (now wife) and it started to drizzle (first rain of the season). I am going down a flyover at wadala on my bike, for the ones who know this place, there are slums on either side on the footpath of this flyover. My speed was only 30kmph, a kid probably 5-6 years old suddenly runs across the street at the end of the flyover. 2 bikers in front of me skidded and went down. I started to brake when I saw the kid but the roads were slippery and I went down, skidded to a stop hitting a water drum on the side. All this, while the kid stood on the divider laughing. Sustained scratches on my knee, elbow and forearm. Head was protected by my helmet. Tore my new shirt and trousers. Broke one turning indicator, scratches on the visor, leg guard of the bike. People living by the side offered water and such. I went back, cleaned n dressed the wounds, changed clothes and carried on with the rest of my birthday. I shudder to think what if there were people in place of the drum. Thank God. I didn't manage to hit one of the other bikers and their pillions. Anyway that was the driving part of my road experience. About my birthday, the restaurant where I joined my better half, also had another group sitting on the other side. This group included Mrs. Helen Khan aka Helen, who graciously joined the chorus for my happy birthday song. Sorry for the entire story part of which may not be relevant but hopefully will bring a smile to some of you and brighten up your day for some peaceful driving.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 16th March 2016 at 09:04. Reason: Removing SMS lingo, added spacing for improved readability and provided translation to the Hindi bits.
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Old 15th March 2016, 18:48   #25
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Basically all this boils down to: NO value of life in India. People at a minimal should care for their own lives, what you expect them to think about others. The amount of hazard and high risk we see everyday on the streets in India is shocking, horrendous, and sickening. Pedestrians have become really really care free in India. They walk in the middle of road when they know full speed vehicles are barging down. Many a times, a horn will garner an SoD (stare of doom), and that is about it. It is the drivers prerogative to swerve around them. Even animals on our streets (except cows) have more sense and react to a horn or vehicle noise. 99% of the public drive in high beam. It is extremely annoying and distracting at night. They can perfectly well see it reflecting in the rear - view mirror, but why drive on low beams..? Right...? Right...! The latest nuisance to surface our road culture: the smartphone. People are literally glued to their screens and are either driving slow in the middle lanes and/or managing the wheel as if they are in a simulator. Why worry about your surroundings. The surroundings should manage themselves. Such a heliocentric attitude is the mess India is in, on the roads. Sad.
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Old 16th March 2016, 00:48   #26
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Great Thread Amit!! It takes a lot of guts to pen down what you have. I agree to all the points that you have mentioned in your start up. However, please note that as a country (across all geographies in India), we have come a long way in terms of discipline on roads. I have been driving/riding in most of towns and cities in India and have visited a few places abroad. There has been a considerable change in the way we use the roads these days. I agree that there is a lot that needs to be done and the reason that we are unable to see the change is due to the vehicle density which has increased multiple fold and road culture .

Forums like Team-BHP (proud to say this) has started a sensible community, I dont say that we have changed the world but yes, We have certainly begun. I would say that we have 50,000 less senseless drivers on the road ( BHPians I mean). This will definitely grow.
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Old 16th March 2016, 01:11   #27
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This thread started TEN years back and is still relevant. This says a lot about the road manners in India.
Now even highways are becoming more dangerous than ever due to constant widening work which anyways is delayed by few years.
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Old 16th March 2016, 07:41   #28
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I've had many close shaves over the years and have been lucky enough that they remained close shaves. Most of them have been on highways and the recent one was last weekend.

Member SandeepMohan and me did a drive upto the KA-AP border on the Hyderabad highway and I was driving return on his Linea TJet.

As many know , this highway is a beauty and with a car like this , it is hard to resist.
It was a long left curve which had a slight incline to it and there was a Innova in the middle of both the lanes who moved obediently to the left lane when I honked. Since he was on my left and the road was curving left, my view was blocked as to what was ahead. As soon as I am side by side with him, I see an old couple crossing the road from the left to the divider. I was doing some decent speeds. The old man crossed and the old lady who was in the middle was walking slowly (old) and she looked up once and saw me and continued trying her best to clear off, bless her and she didn't freeze.
I hit the brakes , the ABS kicked in and car shed speed quite fast and at the end, it didn't feel that close due to that. Credit to the car for that.

What annoyed me was that the Innova driver could have signalled me to slow down, instead he just moved to the side making me think it was clear. He was much slower too. Not blaming him entirely since his windows were closed as well. Also goes on to show how un-safe the highways are although some are well maintained and built to do good speeds.

Last edited by tharian : 16th March 2016 at 08:07.
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:01   #29
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Quote:

What annoyed me was that the Innova driver could have signalled me to slow down, instead he just moved to the side making me think it was clear. He was much slower too. Not blaming him entirely since his windows were closed as well. Also goes on to show how un-safe the highways are although some are well maintained and built to do good speeds.
Well mate its entirely your fault!
You forgot about the most important rule in overtaking. Overtake only when you can completely observe the road and is free from obstructions until you can safely complete the overtaking.

You are overtaking on a gentle curve (never overtake on curves, any curve! btw). You never know if the innova person saw the couple first and was moving to the left. A vehicle moving to the left is no confirmed indication that you are free to overtake. Its on you to make it safe to overtake

There was a video post showing how a truck moves to the left at the last minute (not to give way, but to avoid colliding with a moron trucker coming the wrong way on a highway!)

Last edited by racer_m : 16th March 2016 at 09:03.
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:14   #30
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Well mate its entirely your fault!
You forgot about the most important rule in overtaking. Overtake only when you can completely observe the road and is free from obstructions until you can safely complete the overtaking.

You are overtaking on a gentle curve (never overtake on curves, any curve! btw).
I wouldn't agree to this entirely either.

I know about the don't overtake on a curve rule very well, I did most of my initial driving on narrow winding roads in Kerala.

On a well marked 4 lane expressway , on a gentle curve were in the first place pedestrians have no business being on the road , I would not completely agree with you.

Oh wait, I forgot, this is an Indian 'expressway'.


Yes, agree to blaming the Innova drive is not right since I shouldn't depend on him on what is ahead.

Last edited by tharian : 16th March 2016 at 09:19.
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