If you go back to India after a few years of living abroad, the first thing that gets your attention is the noise from constant honking – the horn on the road. Now-a-days, they have even introduced some musical horns with so many different tunes, if that makes you feel any better. But, the annoyance of horn noise is something that bugs anyone who visits India after a while, or for the first time.
At first, one might think that honking of the horn is an indication of impatient driving or being overly aggressive on the road. After all, most of the vehicles have the rear-view mirrors and they should be able to tell that someone is approaching them from behind to pass by, instead of being reminded with a loud horn. But after a few days of stay I realized that most of the drivers use horn for alerting the other drivers as they take-over or pass by in the narrow lanes.
In America and many other countries, as you know, honking of a horn is rare and used only when someone needs to be reminded of his/her mistakes. In India however, the use of Horn is a part of driving etiquettes.
I also noticed that Indian drivers like to use their ‘driving space’ (most of the time, there are no marked lanes) totally for themselves. For example, a motorcycle rider prefer to drive in the middle of the road, taking the whole space, until or unless a horn from behind reminds him/her to move to the side. Instead of driving on the far left edge of the road or lane, the divers like to ‘own the whole road’ until a loud blast of horn.
Larger vehicles in particular, like trucks, prefer to be honked as someone passes by. You can always see big letter on the back of such vehicles reading , “Horn Please” and “Use Dipper at Night”.
On top of the driving habits, the sheer volume of traffic makes it impossible to use lane space properly. In many cases, you have to fight for your space; otherwise you will never get anywhere. The bigger the machine – car or truck, higher chances you have of claiming your right on the limited road space. The road is no less than a battlefield. You need to come out with all your might and a working horn! 🙂
The narrow lanes also add to the whole reason behind honking. Drivers often wander outside their lanes, as vehicles are crossing and passing-by from all over the places. If you have not driven in India for a while, and especially if you come from a country where driving is on the other side of the road – keeping to the right instead of left side, it takes a while to get used to the new madness.
If any countries be thankful for the invention of horn, India should be on the top of that list. The amount of traffic, the narrow lanes and the habitual nature of the drivers make it necessary to use the horns all the time.
Therefore, popular writing of ‘Horn Please’ on the vehicles is not in poor taste of driving, or bad manners by any means. It is the necessity of Indian driving; it is part of the road-side manners.
So ‘honk on’ my dear friend! Be brave, be creative! Buy a horn with a new cool sound if you can; after all you are stuck with it as long as you are on the Indian roads.
- Why do NRIs return to India?
- Slow down genius, it’s just a journey!
- NRI Tips: NRI Bank Account and FAQ
- NRIs’ misplaced nostalgia of good old days
- NRIs’ random ‘things-to-do’ for the day!
- Me and the Yogi inside – My experiments with Hot Yoga