Posted by: kcgadiyar | September 6, 2011

My week of driving in Hyderabad while following all traffic rules

While driving in Hyderabad, if you don’t go crazy first, you will find yourself blaming all the other drivers on the road for the chaos which WILL ensue at any time. I too am guilty of that, but we rarely recognize our own mistakes. Instead of getting mad at every single driver on the Hyderabad roads, I decided to perform a little experiment to see if the phrase “Be the change you want to see” is really applicable in real life or not. I decided that i will not break a single traffic rule for a full week (Disclaimer: I am one of the safest drivers you will find, but when i say not break a single traffic rule, i mean everything right from not overtaking from the left side to stopping when the light turns yellow). Detailed below are 5 rules which i rigidly followed for a week and the results

Rule 1: I will give pedestrians the right of way

One major takeaway from this week – pedestrians look at you like you have come from another planet if you give them the right of way. I routinely stopped my bike to wave pedestrians to cross the road and the looks they gave me ranged from a smile of thanks to a glare of “what the hell”. The most satisfying moment was when the car next to me stopped to give a group of people the right of way just as i had stopped. Made me feel good knowing that there are people who do this

Rule 2: I will not attempt to drive through a signal once the yellow light comes on

Probably the rule i had the most trouble with. A signal in Hyderabad has 3 lights but only one setting i.e. GO whether it is green, red or yellow. I stopped at yellow lights before the red and did not move till the lights hit green again. Needless to say, the people behind me did not appreciate me one bit for doing this. I must have heard more honking in the past week than i have so far. A car once almost rammed into me because he assumed that i would be moving even under yellow. After that, i have started pulling to the side of the road when i get to a signal in order to prevent angry motorists from killing me.


Rule 3: I will stick to my lane

The last week, i drew an imaginary line on the road and decided that i will stick to my side of the road, or my lane where applicable, and not go to the other side thus causing a traffic snarl.  The amount of traffic which straddles two lanes is a lot, the problem with this is that no space is left for any vehicle to overtake or even attempt to overtake. Also, if you are stuck behind a bus, your resolve to stick to your lane or overtake without crossing over into oncoming traffic will be dearly tested.

Rule 4: I will not go the wrong way on the road

This is much easier said than done in Hyderabad. It seems that here we have decided to adopt right hand driving. One-way signs are considered optional here, and one-way flyovers (ha!) see two-way traffic. This rule caused me the most delays. There were times when i was sorely tested on this, especially since the road markings seem to be more for educational purposes than serving any actual purpose. Sticking to this rule meant one thing though, on the one day it rained, i had a side of the road which had a slightly large puddle (read “hole which reaches to the earths core”) to myself since all the remaining traffic felt that 6 feet of space is not enough to drive a 2 wheeler through

Rule 5:  I will not overtake from the left side on an undivided road and i will not try to forge new paths of my own

In short, i will try my best not to kill any pedestrians. In Hyderabad, there are no footpaths, i mean the footpaths exist (in some places) but they are effectively considered extensions of the road by drivers. At any point of day, you will find more scooters and bikes on the footpath than people. Also, putting pedestrians in danger through wrong side overtaking (this does not apply to 4 lane roads like the ORR in Hyd) is another favorite motorist game. Avoiding these mistakes is like fighting temptation, since everyone is doing it. But somehow my brain managed to overrule common sense each time.

 

So that was my one week experimentation with results. Maybe next time, i will try it for a full month and see what happens.

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Responses

  1. The stopping at Yellow (and Red at odd hours/deserted junctions) light is the most dangerous for our own safety.. Be careful even while pulling over to the side 🙂


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