Friday, May 05, 2006

In a jam

5:00PM IST

India has some of the worst traffic I have ever experienced anywhere in the world. What took 15 minutes late last night afternoon, took an hour and ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and 25 today.

Imagine every mode of transportation known to man all vying for space on the streets. Imagine, that, with no rules, either. Upon experiencing the traffic in India for the first time, it looks like mayhem. However, after a while you start to understand that there is some order to the chaos. I like to call it controlled chaos. There are two main differences with respect to traffic in India vs. the US.

1) In India, there are no lanes. Actually, there are painted lines on the street, but no on pays any attention to them. In fact, I've seen cars, for no apparent reason just drift from one side of the road to the other with regard for anything else on the road.

2) The horn is used, but more amazingly, is actually heeded. I think that since no one pays attention to the lanes, that having and using and listening to the horn is of great assistance. Whether a pedestrian, bicycle, or whatever, when the car I'm in honks the horn, the slower traffic moves over when possible.

That being said, there is a hierarchy on the streets that is absolutely essential, and must be adhered to. The hierarchy is as follows (from lowest to highest):

1) Dogs (there are a lot of dogs running around the streets in India). Most are limping due to the fact that they are lowest on the hierarchy.
2) Pedestrians (clearly higher than dogs, but not by much)
3) Bicycles
4) Tricycles (used mainly for moving items - produce, etc., and sleeping)
5) Motorcycles
6) Autorickshaws (little three wheel covered taxis powered by what look to be lawnmower engines). They are the taxis of India for the common people. They look very dangerous, and you won't find me in one.
7) Cars
8) Trucks
9) Buses
10) Cows

The last one is not a joke. Cows walk freely in the streets everywhere in India. They are revered and considered both sacred and luck producing. I had a huge cow, and her calf, walking toward our car on the way to the office today (yes, it was moving AGAINST traffic). Everyone just moves over.



Anonymous said...

As Scott's only sister and older at that, after reading the traffic in India blog, I am reminded of my baby brother and his driving skills here in New York. Now I have never been to India but I am happy to know that he isnt driving himself when he travels. We thought the LIE, BQE or the Belt was bad enuf for Scott to drive Wear your seatbelt bro xox

Paul Lessard said...

was that my MOM? since when did she start saying bro like that? weird. hey, check this out:

it' pretty simple because that's all it needed to be, just scroll down to the bottom.