Driving in America

September 20, 2011

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]

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12 Responses to “ Driving in America ”

  1. lifesorchestra on September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Last time I went to India, this ones time I drove my aunt xyz to her house. As soon as I returned back, my mom got angry with me. She said aunt xyz called to say that your son doesn’t drive well. I asked what did I do wrong ? My mom said, the aunt was complaining that your son did not use the horn even once in the half hour drive !! :|

    • amreekandesi on September 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      haha…i hear you!

  2. Pattu on September 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    On a vist to Us, I enjoyed those car rides. Everywhere except LA and Francisco. Felt very much at home with traffic confusion, and litter on the sidewalks.( Hey, this is like Hyderabad!)

    • amreekandesi on September 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      yup…the bigger cities start resembling India. New York, SFO, LA, Atlanta…all have shades of our metros.

    • ACanadian on September 21, 2011 at 1:01 am

      Litter on the streets of SFO…Maybe it ones of us well-mannered NRIs..just trying to keep our car,house pockets clean by throwing stuff out on the streets…!!!

  3. vadakkus on September 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Are you serious??!! Damn, no wonder the Amreekans have such bad economy you know. They have no driving sense!! Hehe.

    Doing a series on Driving in India :)

    • amreekandesi on September 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      Ah, good! I’ve done a few on Indian driving as well.

  4. liju philip on September 21, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hyderabad sure has the worst traffic sense in India. Still believe Bombay and Delhi are far better. Roads of hyd are hell.

    • amreekandesi on September 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Too many contenders, we have. Delhi has great roads, but pathetic drivers.

  5. R K on September 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    during my travel on the highways around NY , i have observed that traffic some times does get get stuck-up due to road -repairs/towing of the vehicle but the message about the impending road problems is flashed on the screens much earlier on the way . GPS and various exit routes provide alternate solutions to reach destination without hassles.

  6. amlistening on September 22, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I agree AD..no adventure or fun. There was so many signs on the road to read and follow that there’s no time to see what fellow women in other cars are wearing or whats playing on the radio.

  7. subroto on September 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    We need to get rid of all the zebra crossings that we have in Delhi. The dilliwallahs are smart enough to not use them. But I am surprised we haven’t had a high casualty rate of innocent western tourists who actually think they work the same way as in their own country.

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