Posts Tagged ‘ city driving ’

India And The Art of Honking

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What is it about us in India and honking? This is something we have perfected as a skill over the years. The Art of Honking. My quiet neighbourhood has transformed into a busy lane with cars honking at all hours of the day & night with scant regard for it’s residential status. What’s worse is that the horns have gotten louder & shriller & are guaranteed to cause a pounding headache should you so desire to leave your windows open. In most countries, it is considered rude to honk and is only done in the case of emergencies. But here it’s non-stop. I have now learned to distinguish these from the countless cars that disturb the peace every second.

The Vuvuzela Rival Honking

Even before the World Cup happened, we had Vuvuzela equivalents – lean on the horn all the way down the road you are driving on, trying to get a hapless auto or other slow driver to give you space, where there is none. The belief is that honking non-stop will make the driver in front of you abandon his vehicle out of fear of debilitating damage to his eardrums. Invariably these honkers also have the loudest & most shrill horns and leave you with a repugnant feeling that’s equivalent to nails scratching a blackboard. This is why the Vuvuzela is so popular in India. There are already practitioners here.

Horn OK Please Inspired Honking

We have all grown up seeing this great sign painted on the back of every truck. Many of us seem to have taken this to heart as ‘it’s OK to honk’. in fact, says Wikipedia, “The popular ‘Horn OK Please’ seen on almost all trucks in India bears its roots in the second world war where the trucks were run on kerosene engines. Kerosene, being highly unstable in nature, would cause the trucks to explode at the slightest accident. Hence a warning would be painted on the back saying ‘Horn Please,On Kerosene’.Gradually this became a norm and is still seen on most trucks even today.” There are other explanations on the same wiki. But I am going this one.

I suppose, somewhere along the way, the part about kerosene got lost, and it became only about honking. So it’s OK to honk, and because it’s OK, it must be done at the slightest opportunity. Traffic slowing down? HONK. Traffic jammed & nothing moving for miles? HONK. Person crossing the street? HONK. Cyclist in your path? HONK. Building gate closed? HONK. Don’t like that you have to yield to “right of way”? HONK. Want to double park your car on a busy street? HONK. It’s all OK, please.

I Am Behind You Honking

There’s another set who honk for no apparent reason even if the traffic is moving smoothly and no pedestrian is jumping onto the road. The motivation for this appears to be purely as a warning for the car in front. In case, for some freakish reason that car is not equipped with a rear-view mirror, or it’s there but the driver forgets to look into it, this constant beep-beep is to remind them that there is a car behind them. After all, it’s so unexpected in our traffic, isn’t it?

Just In Case Honking

There’s another breed that believes that one should honk just in case… after all, life is unpredictable, you never what will happen next. So keep honking just in case someone or something materializes out of nowhere. I believe that this nifty trick is taught in our driving schools (as narrated by a friend who’s mum learnt driving) – just keep honking, to be on the safe side. Nevermind if no one else can understand what’s got your goat.

Watch The Signal Honking

This honking occurs the maximum within the 5 seconds before & after a signal turns green & is meant to test the reflex actions of drivers in front. Heaven forbid the driver has managed to relax for 20 seconds at a red traffic light, this incessant honking is a public service to alert him/ her that the signal is about to turn green & to prod them into moving their car at the very instant the light changes. Even a miniscule forward movement (that achieves nothing because no cars are moving yet) is enough to assure these drivers that you do in fact intend to move your car & are not just waiting at the signal for the joy of it.

Do you know more such honking traits? Feel free to comment!

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Laws of Driving in Mumbai

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Enough has been written about the driving skills (or lack thereof) of people in Mumbai (those in delhi are in a different league altogether, beyond description). This is my form of ranting about the same thing – better than road rage, right? usually I ignore most of the random behaviour but every once in a while, it can get to you. Hence this post.

Laws of Light

1. Headlights are to be used full beam on well lighted roads to blind oncoming traffic.
Corollary: if you own a black and yellow taxi, you will never use the headlights at anytime, as you fear getting a whopping bill from Reliance Energy.
2. Indicators are only to be used when parked in no-parking zones, as distress lights. You don’t need to use them to indicate which way you are turning.
3. Traffic will magically move faster if you keep flashing the car headlights at the vehicle which is 6 inches ahead of you.

Laws of Speed

1. The faster you change lanes, the faster you will reach your destination.
2. Bursting out of a small lane onto a main road at full speed will ensure all other cars are magically scattered away from you.
3. If you scrape past cars at full speed cutting from one lane to the next, you will become Superman.
4. If you have an SUV behind you, you will lose speed instantly. Because it will run you off the road.

Laws of Sound

1. Unless you start honking at the very instant a traffic light turns green, you will never reach your destination.
2. The longer you lean on the horn, the faster the car ahead of you will move, even in bumper to bumper traffic.


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