Indian drivers – smart or just plain careless?


Author – Grace Cherian


How many of us have had a real driving test? I’ll answer that for you, none. When you enrol in a driving school, you’re given a month’s training of how to drive; you’ll be taught the basics, gears, brakes and such. After a month you’re supposed to give a test.

When I had to go for my driving test, I remember being all nerves and wondering whether I’ll pass. Imagine my surprise, when I got there and everyone told me, “Hey you don’t have to do anything, just turn the steering wheel and the rest is done by someone else accompanying you in the car”. That is precisely what I did! And I thought, what? That’s all?

In case you’re wondering, that is all you’re supposed to learn! Did you know us Indians are repeatedly ranked as some of the worst drivers in the world? One may wonder why. Take our driving tests for instance; we’re not taught anything worth learning and if you go to other countries, passing a driving test is equal to going to the moon. It’s that hard! In India, on the other hand, passing a driving test is equal to passing the fourth grade. Driving licenses can be obtained by paying bribes and driving tests can be aced if you know the instructor.

No wonder us Indians make such crappy drivers. Try driving on Indian roads once and you’ll know what I’m talking about. We get no proper formal training about how to manoeuvre roads, how to drive in a lane and how not to use the horn as a steering wheel. However, Indian drivers are clever. You mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that they don’t know squat about driving. If they sense even the tiniest bit of weakness, you’re done for. They’ll just swoosh right past you, give your car a little scrape and you’ll just be left to wonder about what just happened. A smart overtaking? That is another instance when you’ll probably be wiggling your car, questioning yourself whether to let him go or not? Tough choices, you know!

According to the reports, 118,000 people have died on our roads! God forbid you slow your car down for a while; you’ll be honked to death! Every time you take your car out on the road, it’s going to be a life or death experience. Not to mention the hordes of rickshaws, auto rickshaws, bicycles, scooters and many such automobiles that welcome you on the way. I’m not complaining about those, I guess that is what makes India so unique, you’ll find a bullock cart and a Mercedes on the same road. But there must be something we can do to combat this reckless driving issue so that the vehicles are driven in harmony, and not crashing each other down.

Instead of passing on the blame, we can concentrate more on how to improve our own driving. No single person can make a difference but if we all put in a little bit of effort together, I think there’s a chance for a lot of improvement. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy biking. Keeps me on my toes!

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