Friday, July 30, 2010


You feel crazy about driving…? Thinking of driving to Kerala for a vacation…? Great… but before you get on to the road, you need to know a few facts:

1. Kerala has the maximum number of F1 racing champs - due to paucity of vacancies, they are now employed as Private bus drivers. There are over 20000 private buses on the road in the state. Although not as competent as private bus drivers, we have over 7000 KSRTC buses handled by a similarly trained set of drivers.

2. Kerala is one state that takes overtakes through the left very seriously you can witness cops penalising drivers for overtaking through the right on the highway - so overtake at your own risk.

3. This is one state, perhaps, that allows bikers to drive the way they want. You can overtake through the left, right or over your vehicle if you are on a bike.

4. We perhaps have maximum by-passes running through cities and towns, having more traffic than the core areas of the city itself.

5. Has the narrowest roads in the country. Even the National Highway narrows down here… (NH- 17 virtually goes between two walls with a width even lower that 3 mtr at places). While other states make a hue and cry over narrow roads, God's own country goes to a standstill when the government talks of road widening.

6. Only state where Electricity and Telephone poles are placed smack on the road and not the shoulder! So don’t be surprised to find them suddenly in the middle of the road.

So, are you all set to drive you vehicle now? (If you intend to drive a bike - please "quit". There is no point reading more since the rules apply only to vehicles having more than three wheels, not counting the spare wheel).

7. While driving on Kerala's road, keep a look out for Cyclists. They own the road, and have all rights to cross the road at any point of time, without any signals whatsoever. Drive more vigilantly if it is night - Cyclists find reflectors a non-essential "accessory" to their vehicle.

8. Auto Rickshaws are another category similar to cyclist, but superior. They have the right to turn their vehicle 360 degree even at the busiest roads/town/ cities/…etc(virtually anywhere and everywhere). Don’t get upset if they turn in any direction without warning / indicators/ hand signals… look for their feel near the base platform, they would have already given you the “leg signal” (apparently, the motor transport dept is thinking of introducing these signal). They are also are the only drives who possess pilot license (for zooming).

9. Stay away from bikers - you might end up damaging your vehicle for no mistake of yours. They would zig-zag at will, and you would be at fault if you hit their “superbikes”.

10. Try to keep your window glasses without any shades, as police man who stops you decides whether your shade is permissible or not. He can also make decisions on various other parts like, number plates (of course this one you can’t miss ), letter size on number plate, looking at the tail pipe they decide whether your car emissions are above the permissible limits…etc…etc.

11. Drive at the centre of the road - fortunately Kerala's roads are often too narrow to have lanes earmarked on them. Don't give way if a vehicle behind honks – after all, you are driving at the nation's highway speed limit of 40kmph.

12. If a vehicle tries overtaking you, step on the accelerator, instead of the brake. How dare he overtake you - when you are driving at the legal speed limit? Also remember to crawl "rightwards" to ensure the other guy is required to either brake or go off the road.

13. If you want to overtake a vehicle - Simple! Move to the right lane(just forget about the indicators – what a waste of money by the car company), take you vehicle to a speed equivalent to one kmph over the speed of your victim. Keep crawling till your vehicle finally manages to head across. Reduce speed immediately to one kmph below the speed of your victim. Confusing, eh! Simple - if you want to overtake a vehicle running at 40kmph, take your vehicle to 41 kmph and keep going. Finally at one point, your vehicle would run the length of the other vehicle and reach in front of the other guy. Now slowdown to 39kmph and stick to the centre of the road.

14. Never mess with KSRTC drivers - they are the worst lot if you irritate them. Give and take (optional, means mostly its only ‘Give’) respect.

15. Overtake buses only when they stop at bus stops - it isn't possible to overtake them otherwise. Even if you manage… the risk is yours.

16. All toll booths in Kerala give "return" ticket - ensure you get one if you plan to return the same day.

17. Oops! I almost forgot this very important point - never bother looking at your rear view mirrors if you want to cut right or left - those are unnecessary parts in your car, just to increase the cost of repairs. Ensure you keep them shut, so that they would not get broken.

18. Enjoy your drive - never mind if you are going slow. Just ensure you never give way to others.

19. While driving if u see a man doing ‘bharatnatyam’ in the center of the road, it would be a disgusted common man, and u will surely find the traffic police in the nearby shed/shop wondering about the why he is there?.

20. Never bother searching for "Parking lots" – there are ‘No Parking’ boards kept to inform you that you may park at that place :)

Most importantly, never try to follow the rules… if something goes wrong, they would prove it was you who did everything wrong.