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Home Nepal - Travel Tips

Some Tips about Traffic

 

Some Tips about Traffic

Remember : Traffic in South Asia – between amiable, chaotic and deadly recommended.

In South Asian countries you drive on the left side, like in England. In general you will need strong nerves and a lot patience for motorbike riding in South Asia, also a lot of circumspection and the ability to forget completely what you ever learned about traffic and its rules. Nevertheless this does not mean that there are no rules. Of course there are rules, but a bit different to those we use. You may have a first impression like there is a funny kind of anarchy on the streets. Sorry, but his is definitely wrong. It goes like this:
Rule One Priority is given first to the biggest or even fastest vehicle around. So watch out for trucks and buses, which will have always priority, especially while overtaking or in bends. It doesn’t matter where you are, whether you are already overtaking or not, you have to move or leave the road. If you’re lucky and the ditch is not too deep, you can land in a wet rice paddy. If you’re not so lucky, their will be a more or less bigger rock. If you have completely run out of luck, you may have a free, nice (bunjee-) jump into a river, but without rope.

Who is only one millimeter ahead of somebody else, automatically will have priority.

Rule Two Don’t fall into the illusion that a mirror has any other function apart from correcting the fit of sunglasses or the jacket, if everything looks cool enough. Sometimes, they are also used as handles for the kids sitting on the petrol tank.
Rule Three Those at the back have to watch those in front, and anytime you have to be prepared for the guy in front suddenly deciding to stop in the middle of the street (e.g. to make a telephone call), to turn or whatever. If you have any contact between vehicles – as long nobody gets hurt, just smile, shrug your shoulders and fine.
Rule Four “Horn Please”: this you can read on almost every truck. If you want to overtake or make any movement while riding straight, push horn, so maybe the others will be a bit more aware that you are close. Many foreigners complain about the incessant use of the horn, but here somebody only wants to tell you: I’m here!

So please use the horn whenever you make any change in your distinction. Pushing the horn is fun! By the way: why do pedestrians still have none?

Rule Five

If somebody comes towards you, e.g. one your side of the road, don’t try to get eye-to-eye contact. The other will interpret your look, that you are aware and ready to accept his action, meaning that you will move aside.

Avoid slamming on the brakes and hectically dodging, what is almost impossible in the city, because always somebody is already there! Even so, some others will do the same, anyway.

One of the real advantages of this kind of traffic is the resulting slow motion between 20 and 40km/h. So all are driving slowly and everybody knows – at least by the horn sounds – who is around. By the way: only 20 or 40km/h are surprisingly fast in this swarm of motorbikes, bicycles, microbuses, rickshaws, cows, goats and buffalos, three-wheelers, stinky truck’s and buses and crowds of people.

Besides the pollution problems of almost all trucks and buses, which blow incredible amounts of soot into the air, a major problem is the condition of vehicles. Even applying very low standards, most of them should not take part in traffic any longer. Before getting on a local bus, at least have a close look at the tyres.

Motorbikes, as well as other vehicles, are almost always full. Three or four on a motorbike will cause no headache to any policeman, as long as the driver wears a helmet. But keep in mind, even if nobody insist on the helmet law, always wear a helmet. If you really sure, that a helmet is not necessary, have a look in a South Asian hospital. Best to bring our/your own helmet from home, the quality on the South Asian domestic market are in general very poor.