Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 10:56 AM // 0 comments

India: Day 3

Crosstown Traffic

You'll never complain about the traffic in your town again! Driving in Bangalore is not for the faint hearted. A typical one minute of driving is similar to 50m/hr wild weaving, stop, crawl at 5m/h, stop, crawl, crawl, wild weaving, stop, crawl at 5m/h, stop, etc. The WHOLE time you drive you hear horns from every car, motorcycle, and auto rickshaw that surrounds you. Wikipedia defines an auto rickshaw as "...a tin/iron body resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), a small cabin for the driver in the front and seating for three in the rear. Raghu, a native of Bangalore, defines the auto rickshaw as a "deathtrap." Most Indian auto rickshaws have no doors or seat belts. If you get hit you most certainly will topple over and as the natives might say, "accha namaste."

Other observations about Bangalore traffic:

  • People change lanes at will. They seem to care who is behind or alongside them.

  • In two lane roads people drive with their vehicles occupying half of either lane.

  • People can turn to any direction at will. I saw a lot of vehicles especially buses turn left from the right most lanes or vice versa.

  • Turn indicators are just an unnecessary accessory.

  • As it is in the UK, traffic keeps left in India. But this does not apply to Bangalore. People travel on the right too especially if there is a median on the road and they join the road in the opposite direction.

  • Nobody knows what “Give way” or “Stop and Go” means. Nobody cares who has the right of way in an intersection. Survival of the fittest never rang so true.

  • The horn, is a vital part of Bangalore driving pleasure has a number of uses. The first, and most common is the "toot." This just indicates that I am near you, and you probably shouldn't try and run into me. The next is the "toot-toot." What this means is that it appears that you didn't hear my "toot," and have started to drift towards my car. The next is the "bloooooot" where it means that you've ignored my "toot-toot" and there is about to be impact, be warned. The final use of the horn has been the "twoooooooooooot" when driving really fast. Driver hit the horn so much I would not be surprised if they have a calus on their thumb.
Here's some video I took that might help you put a visual to my observations. First you'll get my point of view (POV). Then you'll see a family of four (4) on a motorcycle. Check out who is the only one wearing a helmet. Lastly, you'll see the traffic from my hotel room. Even six floors up and 300 yards away you can still hear the traffic through the glass.

You might want to buckle up before watching.

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Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

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