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Indian drivers
are remarkably tolerant: I have not seen a single incident of road rage here.

Sunday, February 15th, 2004

Kolkata, India

Indian Drivers

Easygoing and tolerant

Traffic on the roads in India is so chaotic! Whether in Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), or Delhi (New Delhi), none of the vehicles or conveyances on the road — cars, buses, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, bicycles, taxis, auto-rickshaws, rickshaws, animal-drawn carts! — ever seem to keep within their traffic lanes.

And nobody, least of all the so-called "traffic cops," seems to mind.

In the United States and Europe, at least you have "orderly" traffic jams: all vehicles (for the most part) stay within their traffic lanes. Not so in India. Here, all areas of the road (and parts of the sidewalk!) are used.

This devil-may-care driving behavior results in some horrendous traffic jams. At traffic lights or other compulsory stops, everybody tries to get to the head of the traffic, with the tinier auto-rickshaws, rickshaws, motorcycles and bicycles sidling up to the front, filling all the gaps and spaces between the larger buses, trucks, and cars.

Surprisingly, such behavior — either because Indian drivers are remarkably tolerant or because such behavior is the norm — is met with stoic indifference. I have not seen a single incident of road rage here in India.

Sneaking in front of another vehicle in the United States would result in angry gesticulations and cussing, and in Los Angeles, maybe even guns being drawn! Here, all you will get is a dirty look.

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