Driving In Mumbai
As I have mentioned before I have a very long and fulfilling relationship with the city of Mumbai. But just like in all relationships, the ride isn’t smooth – literally.
I learnt driving around 2 years ago. Thinking it would be a cake-walk I gave myself around a week to accomplish the task. It didn’t suffice, ideally usually it should have. Because apart from the basic principles of driving, one has to master a whole bunch of navigation tricks in order to survive on Mumbai roads.
So let me give you some pointers.
- First learn to play dodge-ball. These tactics may come in handy in order to navigate, because you don’t really want to run over people thronging the roads on either side leaving the foot-path empty for God knows who. It may also come in handy if a stray cow or an occasional pothole (or should I say crater 😛 ?) looms suddenly in front of you.
- There is no need to flash your headlights, it is quite amusing to some. “It isn’t a sexual innuendo people!!!” But who’s listening to me? Honking is more effective to get people to notice you.
- Autorickshaws have their own set of rules, like not following lanes, while taking a left turn stay in the right lane, etc. Memorize these – it is a key to survival ;).
- Try not to get sandwiched between two BEST buses. It is fatal. For you, not them. They are protected by their union, and therefore untouchable. You have to follow the rules, even if they don’t.
- Sometimes buses and trucks have malfunctioning left and right signals, so pay no heed to them. Rather learn their hand equivalent.
- Learn how to mollycoddle a traffic cop. Also be smart, because half of them are taking you for a ride – not literally. And if you are in a mood for fun restrict yourself between 9Pm and 10AM, when the hawaaldar goes home. You don’t expect them to be on duty 24×7 do you? How insensitive :P.
- Follow your instincts, not traffic rules.
I guess that’s about it. Enjoy!