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Learnt to Drive the Hard Way

Updated on October 17, 2012
My Car
My Car

Driving and its rules take me back to the year when I came to the United States (U.S.) from India. I used to drive in India, but the definition of driving in India is so much different than what it in the U.S.

Facts about Driving in India

It is a right hand drive in India and there are no rules for driving.

ALL share the road. This includes the two wheelers (scooter/bike), three wheelers (auto rickshaw) and four wheelers (cars/SUV) and also animals such as cows, and dogs.

A vehicle cannot be driven without honking. One has to pass by the other car by dodging it left and right and then accelerating it with full speed, while keeping a watchful eye on the coming traffic from the other side of the road.

There was no concept of seat belts (at least not in the 1990’s).

Maximum speed attained while driving was 30 kms (18 miles) and foot should be always on the brake. Thus, automatic cars are hardly used in India.

I had a manual car with a clutch and used to always drive in 1stand 2ndgear and hardly went to the 3rdgear.

Driving was an adventure in India.

Coming to U.S.

I come to the U.S. with an International Driving Permit (IDP) and sit behind the wheel of the car.

Got some reality checkpoints such as: The car is left hand drive and automatic.

Driving virtually to get your IDP is different than driving actually on the roads of the United States. There was a rush of adrenaline rushing in my veins especially to see the speed with which the vehicles would zoom by.

I used to honk at vehicles in India for moving ahead and here; drivers would honk at me for driving slow! I was amazed.

Infact, I even got a ticket for slow driving (45 mph) on the freeway, which had a speed limit of 65 mph. I was shocked.

Although I was quick to learn lane changing but would always forget to look at my blind spot before doing that and would get honked at.

I had this notion that if there is a STOP sign and no one is around just drive by. Alas, the cop would be hiding behind a bush and I had to pay the price.

Many a times, I got a ticket on running a red light. When confronted I would blabber all sorts of excuses to get out of it. Alas, these cops are not only good looking but also had a good reply to all my explanations! They would hand me the ticket and very sweetly say, "Have a great day!" Now, I yet fail to understand if that was sarcasm or do they really want us to have a good day?

I learnt driving the hard way such as it took me a long time to learn and understand that honking here is regarded as an offense.

Currently I am a law-abiding driver, who has her rules up in her head, but still get red alert when I spot a cop car on the roads. Don’t know where I will break a rule and get pulled over.

My conclusion is that Driving is an adventure in any continent of this planet. This adventure could be a bumpy ride of 13 mph with loads of honking or could be a smooth speedy ride of 65 mph. Either way, we got to stay alert and drive cautiously to reach our destination.


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    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks Denise. I am glad you enjoyed the above scenario :) Cheers!

      Thanks creativespirit63. Yes, it is a different experience driving in two different scenarios :) Thanks for stopping by. Pleasure to see you!

    • creativespirit63 profile image

      creativespirit63 5 years ago from Omaha, Nebraska

      I'm with Denise! I could picture the whole scene. My sister got an impedding traffic ticket, too. I am sending the link to a friend who has fond memories of traveling in India.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL Love this hub! I could just picture the whole ticket situation with the cop. Thanks for the chuckle-enjoyed! Rated up/useful and funny.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      haha...yes, If I would get behind the wheels now in India...I would also be at the intersection, Shasta.

      Thanks for your input. Pleasure to see you!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Seriously, RHW since not used to speed...I faced the

      You should come with me when I travel to India next summer and try to drive :) Although, after driving here I cannot drive there :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Driving in the US where I am familiar with the laws is enough of a shock for me. Even driving on the other side of town seems like a complete change. I can't even begin to imagine how to drive in another country with different signs and a completely different set of rules. If I were driving in India, I would probably still be at that intersection, waiting for a chance to turn! What a video! Voted up.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Hi John,

      Now when I visit India, I cannot drive after following rules and regulations in the US. I am glad you found it entertaining :) Cheers!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      That is hilarious Ruchira! You got a ticket for going too slow:) I love that - I drive the speed limit because it seems totally fast enough for me!

      I would love to try driving in India!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hi Ruchira, and what a wonderful hub this is...

      I've been to other countries and I don't think I could drive there. I'm use to US laws and I know I'm a neard for saying this but I do obey laws.

      Take care and voted up on your wonderful hub


    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks suzettenaples. I agree, every country has their own rules for driving, which makes it interesting to drive around :)

      thanks for sharing your experiences.

      Thanks Rajan. I am glad you agree with the above :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I had a lot of laughs reading this hub. Funny, but true, driving in India is without driving rules as such.

      The video is hilarious.

      All the votes to this hub, Ruchira.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      I had go chuckle as I read this. I can understand how frustrating it is to learn all our driving rules coming from India. I grew up here and learned how to drive and then moved to Europe. I had to learn the rules and courtesies of driving on the German autobahn, the circles in Rome and Paris - those were a challenge, much like you describe in this hub. And, I couldn't even begin to drive a manual shift car - I think I had the only automatic Jetta in the entire continent of Europe when I lived there. I loved the video!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks prasetio. I am glad you got enticed by it...cheers!

      Thanks teaches12345. I had to put humor in it 'cause I must admit that while I was was a tough journey esp going to those boring traffic schools.

      Thanks Susan. Now, that I recollect it...It was a fun and bumpy ride :)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks Marlene. Yes, driving in India is different and fun for some ;)

      Thanks IntegrityYes.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This was fun to read :) I can imagine what a huge difference it would have been for you when you first moved to the states.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I enjoyed the read on this hub. Your sense of humor in it made it so enjoyable to read through. I have never heard of someone getting a ticket for slow driving. I hope you frame it for the memory!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Though I live in Indonesia with the right side style in driving car, but this hub still informative for me. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up! Cheers, Prasetio

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 5 years ago

      WHOA! I definitely voted up, Ruchira.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Oh, you weren't kidding when you said everyone used the road. That video was scary. I was amazed that there were no accidents at that intersection. All those cars, buses, and motorcycles rolling around and pedestrians walking and crossing, yet not a single accident. It's amazing. I think I would not ever have the confidence it takes to drive in India. I have a hard enough time driving here in the U.S.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      hi afriqnet,

      yes, speed is needed while driving in the U.S. which was missing out in India 'cause too many cars on the road and no rules to drive.

      Thus, the above :) thanks for stopping by!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      yes, very true jpcmc.

      thanks for your precious feedback! Good to see you!

    • afriqnet profile image

      Joe Njenga 5 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Your Hub is funny and I enjoyed reading it . I am particularly amused by this part ' There was a rush of adrenaline rushing in my veins especially to see the speed with which the vehicles would zoom by.....'

      You must have truly learnt the hard way. Thank you for sharing

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I understand what you mean. I leanred to drive at the busiest road in Manila. It was a baptism of fire for me. Here we motorists have to contend with public transport drivers especially buses, jeepneys and tricyles. I sometimes feel that road signs and stop lights are just suggestions for drivers.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks Ruby.

      Driving in India sure is a challenge and sure Driving here is much easier as compared to that country. But, here speed is a killer!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      OMG, I watched the video, i know for sure that i would be killed in two seconds in India and Fla. is not much better. HaHa..Thank's for a good laugh..

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks Bill.

      It sure was a learning curve for me to erase my old habits and learn some new ones!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I would be lost driving in another country. I would be in an accident within five minutes. Loved your description of driving in the States. Thanks for the great laugh!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks susiebrown48. Yes, driving in other cities is far more worse than Florida or NY :)

      Thanks naeemebrahimjee. yes, driving slow can be an offense 'cause you are disrupting the ongoing traffic esp on the freeway!

    • naeemebrahimjee profile image

      naeemebrahimjee 5 years ago from London

      I am so shocked at how different driving is in India!

      Getting a ticket for driving to slowly is weird enough for me! I totally agree with Susie Brown's comment above. The video tells 1000 words!

    • susiebrown48 profile image

      susiebrown48 5 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      I will never, ever, ever complain about Florida or New York drivers again; ever! Loved the video - a picture is worth a thousand words! Thank you for broadening my horizons!