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If you've ever been to India, you know that traffic is interesting. You could observe it for hours and still not figure out what the rules are! "We are always in a hurry, but are always late", is a statement often heard in India. A lot of drivers consider traffic rules as just broad recommendations that are optional and can be followed occasionally. Others consider road rules a deterrent to driving. I am never surprised when I find cops who don't know the rules too. Road signs and markings are, at times, just decorations in public spaces. Junctions traffic lights are just social gathering spots for multiple vehicles.
I've been driving in India for over fifteen years and have been in the passenger seat/pillion for most of my life. There are hundreds of times I have seen my whole life flash in front of my eyes along with a roaring truck barreling towards me. My car has scratches and dings from minor incidents that we just brush away saying "Such things happen to everyone".
I bought a dashcam to capture the beauty of long drives when I vacation, but it has caught more oopsie-daisies moments than beautiful moments. I have survived and hope to survive in the future too. these are five moments where my heart almost stopped while driving. Some are near-misses and some are annoyances. But these could have turned much worse.
I would like to assure my sponsors that I am still alive and surviving!!
So what is wrong with a truck on the fast lane of a highway? For starters, this guy decided to drive in the fast lane..... in the opposite direction. Thankfully all of us managed to avoid a head-on collision. He flashed his headlight as he callously barreled down at us - apparently, that gives him the right of way. Truck drivers in India don't really care as in an accident they usually don't get injured. Some are bullies and the trucks themselves are in bad shape - lights not working, brakes not maintained well, no overhang protection.
Another day (or rather, another night), another truck trying to cause havoc. There was a line of trucks on the side of the highway. One of them decided to start and enter the highway. So he does that without any mirror checks. He probably assumes=d that the highway was totally empty with no vehicles. All of us managed to avoid piling onto him as we were not going very fast and the lead vehicle stopped in time. This situation is scary because, even if you stop in time, there is a huge chance that the vehicle behind you is tailgating you and can't stop in time. Thankfully, none of this happened and we all went merrily on our way.
Buses in India have a starting point, a destination and bus stops. Between these, the driver uses only one part of the bus - the accelerator pedal. Their aim is to reach the destination ASAP and beat yesterday's timing. If there is a vehicle in front, it has to be overtaken. The driver of this colorful bus proved all these with a rash overtaking maneuver that put everyone's life at risk on both sides of the road. The road itself was in average shape with bumps, patches, and no sidewalk. We all survived, as usual. The bus passengers seemed to enjoy the extra windy and bumpy drive.
Since Indian highways pass through many villages and towns, there is a constant flow of pedestrians in unexpected places on the highway. There are usually no designated, safe places for pedestrians to cross. A lot of pedestrians, unfortunately, do not pay attention and don't realize that a vehicle at 80-100KMPH has very little time to evade them. This pedestrian literally 'stumbled' onto the fast lane on the highway right onto my path. Thankfully, I could evade him and there were no vehicles in the adjacent lane. In my rearview mirror, I could see him happily continue jaywalking on the highway. I wonder if he reached his destination safely.
I love this highway stretch as it is very scenic and beautiful. I've driven on it many times. Unfortunately, it has just two lanes - one for each side of traffic. Since the roads are good, vehicles drive at speeds that exceed 100 KMPH. And they try to overtake any vehicle that is slower than them. This van driver chose to overtake on a curve without looking for oncoming traffic and came head-on to me. I had minimal time and space to avoid a collision but managed to quickly move to the left onto the shoulder of the highway and then got back onto the road. The driver didn't care and probably thought he was an expert at overtaking!
I'll stop before you freak out! Maybe I'll do articles like this once in a while. After the lockdown and pandemic, my driving has reduced and dashcam footage is now very little.
But before you stop reading and leave with a bad taste in your mouth, here is a peaceful drive on the highway to make you (and me) feel better. This is timelapsed and at 8x speed, as I was driving towards the sunset on the highway.