Driving in America
I’ve been doing a lot of driving in the America these past few days. It has been quite instructive to notice the differences in driving habits with how things work in India.
In one word, lame. No sense of adventure whatsoever.
Sample this – they actually stop their cars for pedestrians. They’ll stop a mile away, and wave you on to move past eve’n if you dont want to. This one time i was standing at the sidewalk just waiting casually, hanging around, when a driver rolls up. He then proceeded to vigorously ask me to cross the street. I politely tried to wave him on, but he wont budge. Finally when he was about to get off the car to help me on, i crossed the road just to get him off my back. I didn’t want to cross the road though.
THAT scared of harming pedestrians, are these people. In India, the pedestrian is the vermin of the road in contrast. Such fun it is to toy with the idiots who dare venture out on foot. I mean, who do they think they are? Mahatma Gandhi out to break the salt law?
Even with fellow car drivers, these people are so nice and courteous. They’ll let people move into their lanes if they need to turn. They will patiently wait for you to move once the red light turns green.
That’s not how we Indians operate. My first time, i waited for a horn after a green light. Didnt happen. Kept waiting. Light turned red. I showed person behind me a finger in my rear view.
My fingers itch to press the horn, but i cant, because no-one else does. A week later, i don’t even know what the horn of my rental car sounds like. Can you believe that?
And imagine my shock when i go out and find that they still dont know the art of changing lanes. There i was, zipping across lanes and driving like, well, a desi, and they would all be peacefully driving in their lane. The few occasions when they change lanes, they use indicators. INDICATORS?!
You’d think a developed country would waste a little less time being all nice on the road. If i were Obama, i would ban indicators.
Nobody stopping their car on the highway for a quick susu break. Nobody backing down from halfway up a flyover. Nobody opening up their door all of a sudden to deposit a liter of saliva on the road. Nobody shooting another person over a petty scratch on the bumper.
How do they fill their papers if there are no sensational road rage related stories to report? News of the economy, and world affairs? Yuck.
God! It is moments like these that make you miss dear mother India more than ever.
I think i’ll cry.
[Image courtesy: skyscrapercity.com]
[Disclaimer: This applies to most of America. Not to New York, which is a different beast altogether. More on that later]