Thursday, June 16, 2005

My car driving experience

I learnt to drive a car for the first time in 2001, just before I left for the US. Unfortunately, for the three years that I stayed there, I never drove. Still, I was usually the navigator whenever my 'gang' went on trips, so that gave me a good idea of how people drive on US roads.

Now, back in Bangalore, I am taking driving classes again, and man!, the things my instructor is teaching me are simply crazy. US or not, if this is the way people learn to drive, they will definitely cause accidents...here are a few gems:

- I am driving somewhere in the centre of the road and want to turn left. So, I quickly looked back and checked my 'blind-spot'. This brihaspathi tells me - "Yaak saar hindhe noodthaa iddira? Mundhe noodi!" [Why are you looking backwards!? Look ahead!]

- I am driving on the left lane on Bellary Road when a truck is parked right in front of me. I am in fourth gear and driving at around 45-50 (tell me if that itself is right), so I slow down, switch to third gear, turn on the right indicator to say that I am switching to the right lane. What does this guy say? "Yaak saar indicator haaktheera, right thirig baeka? Sumne kai thoorsi." [Why do you turn on the indicator? Do you want to take a right turn!? Simply show your hand!]

- I take a turn into a road that has a hospital on it. My road is blocked by an auto, with the driver sitting in it. So, I politely honk once. He (the auto driver) looks back and acknowledges, but is unable to start his vehicle. So, our pal takes over the steering and starts honking like he is in a noise-competition! To h*ll with the hospital and the patients!

I'll post more as I find time.

7 comments:

kattricker said...

Good luck with your driving Gops. Driving a car in Bangalore is the most tension filled activity. Its no more a means to commute to work, it is the work! One of the things I have noticed is the itch the people have to get past you, no matter whether they are in a hurry or not. The time difference between the traffic light turning green and the honk from the guy behind you is getting down to nanoseconds. And honk has become a compusive control - like clutch->gear->accelerator->honk (repeat)! The more your average speed, the more your hand should be in the honk is the mantra.

H said...

Great Post and great comment, yes, I too had similar experiences :)

But then way back in 2000, traffic was slightly lesser and more importantly, I had not driven anywhere else, so I just followed whatever the instructor was telling me :).

Vikram said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vikram said...

Gops! Welcome to the world of driving in Bangalore. I had to delete my earlier comment to fix a few typos...

I beg to disagree with most of your comments.

While I understand your consternation at the instructor's 'tips', there is some truth in it. Let me try to explain:

- Looking backwards is not the brightest of ideas when driving in Bangalore. You run the risk of bumping into the car in front of you, who may apply his break (and probably will - remember my earlier article?) in the nanosecond that you lose in turning back to look in front again. You also have to remember that changing lanes is not a 'big deal' on Bangalore roads - the guy behind you anticipates this instinctively and you should start doing that too. So you are safe as long as you turn on your indicator and don't make any quick movements.

- What is wrong with 'kai thorsi'? Its one of the RTO recognised signals. You shouldn't blame the driver, who probably has never driven an A/C car. Believe me, hand signals work better than indicator signals. Learn the basics man! This is India, not US...

- Honking is one of the most irritating things about driving in Bangalore. He deserves a piece of your mind. Its also very sad that many 'educated' and 'responsible' people let their 'honk side' take over once they get behind the wheels. I have a theory that Anakin Skywalker's transition to the dark side was influenced by this to an extent, except that it was permanent...

Gops said...

Thanks Karthi, H, for your comments...

Vikram, some replies to your comments:
1) I wasn't trying to look back while changing lanes - I was trying to turn 'into a left road' from the centre lane, on Bellary road. Now, I can't clearly see 1/2 of my left side, so, what do I do? Simply turn and let the guy behind handle the situation?

2) No problem with kai thoorsi. Just the problem with the fact that he assumes right indicator means you want to 'turn' right as opposed to 'move' right too! And as far as the 'basics' are concerned, I do turn on the indicator, and show my right hand when I take a turn.

3) Totally agree on the honking part. BTW, need to see the movie...is it good?

Vikram said...

My approach to driving is a bit different and has become more instinctive over past 6 years. 6 years back this was how I learnt driving, and times were different then. I had to change my driving style to adapt to changing traffic conditions. Its no surprise that you find my views a bit outdated.

Star Wars - Episode III is a good movie. If you have watched the others, you should watch this one too. I felt it was better than earlier ones.

Carmen Hayes said...

Leo started teaching Rally school in 2000 and has been an ARDS and BARS grade A instructor for many years. Having worked for top manufactures around the worlds with some of today’s staff at Forster Racing School. Leo, and his team of instructors have a wealth of race and tuition experience. Teaching in almost every rally or race car going from luxury cars on Ice to BMW M3′s, Ferraris, and Lamborghini’s on racing circuits. Driving and teaching at top corporate venues in bespoke JP LM-1 or Porches even rallying in Escort cosworth or Subaru’s. You name it we’ve probably driven, raced or taught in it.