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Rules of the Indian Road

PART I

     Rules Of The Road, Indian Style

      Traveling on Indian Roads is an almost hallucinatory potion of sound,
      spectacle and experience. It is frequently heart-rending, sometimes
      hilarious, mostly exhilarating, always unforgettable-and, when you
     are  on the roads, extremely dangerous.

      Most Indian road users observe a version of the Highway Code based on a
      Sanskrit text. These 12 rules of the Indian road are published for the
      first time in English:

      ARTICLE I:
      The assumption of immortality is required of all road users.

      ARTICLE II:
      Indian traffic, like Indian society, is structured on a strict caste
      system. The following precedence must be accorded at all times.  In
      descending order, give way to:
      Cows,
      elephants,
      heavy trucks,
      buses,
      official cars,
      camels,
      light
      trucks,
      buffalo,
      jeeps,
      ox-carts,
      private cars,
      motorcycles,
      scooters,
      auto-rickshaws,
      pigs,
      pedal rickshaws,
      goats,
      bicycles (goods-carrying),
      handcarts,
      bicycles (passenger-carrying),
      dogs,
      pedestrians.

      ARTICLE III:
      All wheeled vehicles shall be driven in accordance with the maxim: to
     slow
      is to falter, to brake is to fail, to stop is defeat.  This is the
     Indian
      drivers' mantra.

      ARTICLE IV:
      Use of horn (also known as the sonic fender or aural amulet):

      Cars (IV,1,a-c):
      1.Short blasts (urgent) indicate supremacy, IE in clearing dogs,
     rickshaws
      and pedestrians from path.

      2.Long blasts (desperate) denote supplication, IE to oncoming truck: "I
     am
      going too fast to stop, so unless you slow down we shall both die".  In
      extreme cases this may be accompanied by flashing of headlights
     frantic).

      3.Single blast (casual) means: "I have seen someone out of India's 870
      million whom I recognise", "There is a bird in the road (which at this
      speed could go through my windscreen)" or "I have not blown my horn for
      several minutes."

      Trucks and buses (IV,2,a):
      All horn signals have the same meaning, viz: "I have an all-up weight
     of
      approximately 12.5 tons and have no intention of stopping, even if I
      could." This signal may be emphasised by the use of headlamps.

      Article IV remains subject to the provision of Order of Precedence in
      Article II above.

PART II

     ARTICLE V:
      All manoeuvres, use of horn and evasive action shall be left until the
      last possible moment.

      ARTICLE VI:
      In the absence of seat belts (which there is), car occupants shall wear
      garlands of marigolds. These should be kept fastened at all times.

      ARTICLE VII:
      1.Rights of way: Traffic entering a road from the left has priority. So
      has traffic from the right, and also traffic in the middle.
      2.Lane discipline (VII,1): All Indian traffic at all times and
      irrespective of direction of travel shall occupy the centre of the
     road.

      ARTICLE VIII:
      Roundabouts: India has no roundabouts. Apparent traffic islands in the
      middle of crossroads have no traffic management function. Any other
      impression should be ignored.

      ARTICLE IX:
      Overtaking is mandatory. Every moving vehicle is required to overtake
      every other moving vehicle, irrespective of whether it has just
     overtaken
      you.

      Overtaking should only be undertaken in suitable conditions, such as in
      the face of oncoming traffic, on blind bends, at junctions and in the
      middle of villages/city centres. No more than two inches should be
     allowed
      between your vehicle and the one you are passing- and one inch in the
     case
      of bicycles or pedestrians.

      ARTICLE X:
      Nirvana may be obtained through the head-on crash.

      ARTICLE XI:
      Reversing: no longer applicable since no driver in India knows that
     his  vehicle has reverse gear.