Chaos the Indian Road Traffic

by : Tilak

It is hugely chaotic, functioning and surprising.

A German friend of mine traveling with me in India had one remark specially looking at the state of the traffic in the country "I think India is a huge chaos by Western standards but a functional one, which is hugely surprising." Now that was about ten years back when we did not have the kind of automobile revolution we have grown used to since.

My friend told me that he had been a keen watcher of road life the first time he came in contact with Kolkata traffic, which at that point of time was moving towards improvements thanks to the metro railway. But that is history so to say.

Driving in India, and I am talking about metros of the country which has some semblances of gradual improvements, is a nightmare. For instance if you happen to be in one of the 'C' grade cities like Jabalpur it is not surprising to find the left-side traffic overflowing and plying against the right side, and often the tricycles criss-crossing like a free way, left, right and in all directions. Now that may take your goats if you are not used to this. This is one scenario the equally worse versions of which you may find just anywhere and if I may guess in over 70% of Indian roads. Road regulations, traffic safety, road safety, traffic rules in India, they all look a joke or at least not part of a layman road etiquettes.

Driving in India is much to do with the traditional convenience that a common road user could grow out of, thus making for the notorious driving conditions the country has. Now if in such a melee of motorists that one normally comes across in the non-metro India, something goes amiss which amounts to an accident, it does not raise eyebrows. Given the chaos India is probably the safest to drive for the skill a motorist cannot help developing over the years.

The issues like road rage are typically metro, wide-roads issues and India does not as many so far till it has its countywide network of expressways.