Inside the Mind of Drivers in India !
Ever since I remember and what all my family always told me (before I could remember) is that I (Shaunak) use to love to drive (not ride, mind you !) and would force his parents to buy him toys, of only cars & buses & trucks. Then, when nobody used to be around at home, I would artificially form bumps (by inserting small utensils under the bed) and would then love to drive my toy car & bus over that bump ! Surprisingly, I also used to think what should ideally be the max possible turning angle of the toy that I drove… If it’s a car, then the turning angle would be small compared to the bus. Pretty good analysis, which eventually led me to observe and categorize the mindset of the drivers in India.
Now it has become a part of my sub-conscious brain, to atleast allow a part of it, to focus on traffic movements. And being in HR profession allows me to then pair them with their possible behaviour traits. Just sharing…
Driving Traits of the Drivers in India
My Personal Favourites
Most decent among the drivers in India who drive in their own lane, don’t honk unless an emergency, just the appropriate speed, give way to speeding vehicles from behind – Drivers must be genuinely good people at heart, not really bothered with anybody going ahead, must be straight forward with no whimsical behaviour at large 🙂
Opportunists No. 1
On seeing even a small gap between 2 vehicles one behind another, these drivers in India take that slightest of opportunities to enter or make their presence felt. I find them Opportunists, quickly making hay when the sun shines and then moving ahead, to hell with others ! So many times I have seen accidents first hand, especially on Mumbai flyovers, when this opportunist enters in between, the vehicle ahead slows down, he rams the vehicle ahead, the driver who is now following this opportunist also rams the opportunist and then the 3 stop their respective cars in the middle of the road, argue for sometime, take out their mobile phones and begin talking to “God-Knows-Who” ! The pain of all others behind not-with-standing. 🙁
Opportunists No. 2
This breed drives their vehicles in the middle of the road, such that they are miraculously able to block both lanes and the vehicles plying behind. When there is a vacant space on any of the road, they won’t take that lane till the distance between them and the vehicle in front of them is “huge enough”, that they feel they are in profit ! This breed could also have some drivers who are going in one lane and will move slight towards the adjacent lane when a vehicle is closing in soon from behind but cannot overtake the opportunist because there is also a biker in that adjacent lane and overtaking will only result in that biker falling off ! So, the vehicle behind has to apply brakes at the last moment and our opportunist wins. Such people could suffer from jealously when anybody in their vicinity progresses 🙁
These kind of drivers in India follow their lane and drive good. But when they see a gap in adjacent lane, they take forever to decide whether they should cross (cut) lanes, such that gap is no more existent and other vehicles have already occupied the space. In life, these people could be a little lazy, could let go a lot of chances that they ideally should have captured. I don’t know but I feel if you talk to such driver’s wife, there’s a great possibility she may have this big complaint that her man has wasted his life forever thinking, not taking lead, is timid (although he pretends he is courageous) & doesn’t let her do it her way quickly either… 🙂
Fattu quite simply means Timid. They are my most loved drivers in India I love to see. They think of changing lanes and when the vehicle in the adjacent lane honks, they immediately move back to their original position. Then after 3-4 minutes, they again attempt to do the same. In real life, these people could turn out to be somebody who would like to take benefit of somethings secretly or when nobody is objecting. But when someone openly opposes the idea or perceived benefit, these guys may not like to come in picture, voice their opinion (for the fear of getting into controversy) & may like to think twice on that benefit.
Now, I have never been a Biker and it’s very true that I don’t enjoy riding a bike. Read the first few sentences of this post (“Shaunak used to love to drive, not ride, mind you) ??? But from the time I developed friendship with girls (it was when I turned 22… can you imagine ?), they used to look at me awfully when I used to say I am not into bikes. So, when I asked them why are they so so very crazy about bikes, a lot of them told me that somewhere it has got to do with INDEPENDENCE. The wind blowing in your face, the opening up of their black / brown hair across that wind and they felt as if they were flying (typical of a female college teenager !! Isn’t it ?). This is not possible in Cars. In cars, it is very sophisticated and like some 30-35 year old. And I was sarcastically like “Oh Really ???” So, you find our teenage population riding very freely on roads, with a lot of zig-zags. Because they want to feel it. Mind you, the boy riding this way is only somewhere doing this for the girl who is with him. Because either the girl likes it or he wishes to impress her time & again. Let’s not blame boys every now & then. Just 2 pieces of advice to boys on this – However you ride, keep safety in mind always. And No. 2 – When there is a girl behind you, cherish all the moments she is with you. You would be an idiot if you ride fast and finish the distance. So, ride slow and feel the journey (apart from feeling the wind !) 🙂 🙂
The behavioural traits I tried to associate with above kinds of drivers in India might as well turn out to be genuine & intrinsic in their personality. And while there is nothing wrong in changing lanes after giving indicator, this is equally true that in India specifically, even when you give an indicator, 9 out of 10 drivers in adjacent lane will still see their benefit of moving ahead, will not care to allow us to enter the lane, unlike say in Thailand for example and we will be forever waiting to enter the lane. I think this experience of almost every driver in India results in the behavioural pattern shown above.
PS: The article may not be taken literally. A lot of times, we think something else while driving and there are no sure-shot patterns of behaviour attached to driving. Featured Image Courtesy: www.judybrown.co.uk/.