Home > Expat life > Rules of Indian Traffic

Rules of Indian Traffic

January 10, 2013

Pune Traffic

I’ve blogged before about Indian traffic; if you read through the link in the picture above you’ll see this is a serious matter here.

However on the lighter side, I came across these rules of Indian traffic:

Highway Code of India

Article    I:     The assumption of immortality is required of all road users.

Article  II:     Indian traffic like Indian society, is structured on a strict caste system. The following precedence must be accorded at all times.  In descending order, give way to: cows, elephants, heavy trucks, buses, official cars, camels, light trucks, buffalo, jeeps, ox-carts, private cars, motorcycles, scooters, auto-rickshaws, pigs, pedal-rickshaws, goats, bicycles (goods-carrying), handcarts, bicycles (passenger-carrying), dogs, pedestrians.

Article III:    All wheeled vehicles shall  be driven in accordance with the maxim: to slow is to falter, to brake is to fail: to stop is defeat. This is the Indian drivers’ mantra.

Article  IV:     Use of horn (also known as the sonic sender or aural amulet.)

  • Cars: Short blasts (urgent) indicate supremacy, i.e. in clearing dogs, rickshaws and pedestrians from path. Long blasts (desperate) denote supplication, i.e. to oncoming trucks “I am going too fast to stop, so unless you slow down we shall both die” In extreme cases this may be accompanied by flashing of headlights (frantic).
  • Single blast (casual) means: “I have seen someone out of India’s 870 million whom I recognize", “There is a bird in the road which at this speed could go through my windscreen", or “I have not blown my horn for several minutes.”
  • Trucks and Buses: All horn signals have the same meaning,  “I have an all-up weight of approximately 12.5 tons and have no intention of stopping, even if I could”  This signal may be emphasized by the use of headlamps.
    (Article IV remains subject to the provision of Order of Precedence in Article II above.)

Article   V:     All maneuvers, use of horn and evasive action shall if be left until the last possible moment.

Article VI:     In the absence of seat belts (which there is) car occupants shall wear garlands of marigolds. These should be kept fastened at all times.

Article VII:   Rights of way: Traffic entering a road from the left has priority. So has traffic from the right, and also traffic in the middle. 

  • Lane discipline: All Indian traffic at all times and irrespective of direction of travel shall occupy the centre of the road
  • Article VIII:  Roundabouts:  India has no roundabouts. Apparent traffic islands in the middle of crossroads have no traffic management function. Any other impression should be ignored.

Article  IX:    Overtaking is mandatory. Every moving vehicle is required to overtake every other moving vehicle, irrespective of whether it has just overtaken you. Overtaking should only be undertaken in suitable conditions, such as in the face of oncoming traffic, on blind bends at junctions and in the middle of villages/city centers. No more than two inches should be allowed between your vehicle and the one you are passing — one inch in the case of bicycles or pedestrians.

Article   X:      Nirvana may be obtained through the head-on crash.

Article  XI:     Reversing: no longer applicable, since no vehicle in India has reverse gear.

Article XII:    The 10th incarnation of God was an articulated tanker.

I feel compelled to add my own article:

Article XIII: Your driver’s diligence in adhering to these articles shall be directly proportional to the steepness of the road, narrowness of the road, frequency of blind hairpins, and/or road’s proximity to a 100 meters or more vertical drop.


The original rules come from here:


Categories: Expat life
  1. January 11, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Article XIV: The most terrifying thing you can do is to tell your Indian driver that you are in a hurry.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: