No road adventure comes without its safety concerns, but driving in India is especially dangerous. Because of the millions of people using the roads every day, from motorbikes and bicycles to trucks and taxis, there is little room to manoeuvre, so if you’re travelling fast with little time to react, even the smallest bump can prove to be fatal.
Even if you’re not driving a car, you must always be aware what motor vehicles are around you. Motorbikes frequently ride on the sidewalks if there is no space on the roads, and you’ll be lucky to find a taxi with a seat belt. Here are a few tips by cheapflights.com.au on how to keep safe on India’s roads this summer.
When it comes to Indian roads, the rules are very simple – there are no rules! Unlike European road regulations, India fails to implement safety laws regarding driving, or any driving laws that people actually follow, so the roads are a very dangerous place to be.
Cars frequently drive on the wrong side of the road, skip red lights, fail to indicate and even take to the pavement if it means getting to a destination quicker. Divers aren’t even required by law to wear seat belts, and most of the taxis in India don’t have seat belts anyway!
If you do decide to rent a car in India, always beware of getting into an accident on the roads. Even if the accident isn’t your fault, the non-local will usually get the blame, even by the police, and you’ll most likely get nowhere if you try to plead your case. There have even been cases where tourists have been beaten up by mobs that form after a crash, looking for someone to blame, so always try to keep calm and concentrated when driving.
Using Public Transportation
Although the public transport network in India is efficient, it is extremely crowded at nearly all times of the day.
The seats on the buses and trains – if you do manage to get one – are very uncomfortable too, so you’ll most likely find yourself standing on the majority of your journeys. The trains are efficient because they literally use up every single piece of space, even the roofs sometimes!
A good piece of advice would be to always keep one hand on your bag, as thieves and beggars are always on the lookout for an easy snatch. A lot of women travellers tend to get groped on the trains and busses too, so if your surroundings don’t look safe, change carriages or get on the next train.
Don’t Go Out Late At Night
It’s advised that you don’t leave your hotel after dark when travelling India, unless you’re with a tour guide or a big group. The roads are littered with beggars and tourists are targeted because of the amount of money they usually carry around with them. If you do need to go a restaurant or out for any reason, be sure to use a private taxi company arranged by your hotel.