Top 10 Hazards Of The Indian Roads
Drive thousands of miles across India in a glorified garden strimmer on the Rickshaw Run and you’re guaranteed to get into trouble. Which is, of course, the point; if you don’t find yourself in the odd pickle it would be boring and not a proper adventure.
There are varying degrees of trouble, though. There is the trouble you can seek out yourself. Then, there’s the trouble that just rolls up and sits on your lap, right there on the chaotic excuse for a road that awaits your three-wheeled adventure machine.
We whittled down all the weird shit that happens on the road and compiled the Top Ten Hazards of the Indian Highway as recorded by three-wheeled Adventurists.
1. Trucks. Big fucking trucks. Ones that don’t give a shit about you
The millions of lorries barreling across India (with their drivers known to harbour some anger and a penchant for stimulants) are enough of a threat, but when it gets dark and you’ve got one puny 10 lumen headlight, then they get really spicy. Especially when half of them are adorned with most of Blackpool illuminations up-front and the other half have fewer lights than you do.
2. Holy cows: At the top of the food chain
There is only one thing higher than buses on the carefully established hierarchy of the Indian highway and that is the ubiquitous holy cow. They graze on gravel in the middle of the road, shit wherever they like, and sunbathe exactly where you need to steer your trusty steed – secure in the knowledge that any potential collision is strictly your problem. Black cows love nothing more than sleeping on black roads at night. Super useful.
3. Rivers: Forever getting in the way
Sometimes, the road just gives up on you and turns into a river. Often this is by design, sometimes by accident. If you play your cards right you can always persuade a local fisherman to stick your rick on his boat.
4. Crowds: Otherwise known as human roadblocks
Locals are often just as curious about you as you are of them. You can’t blame them though, given that a rickshaw full of idiots with a tiger strapped on top is certainly something they don’t see every day – and neither do we, now that we think about it. But good luck parting the sea when you want to get back on the road.
5. Buses: Beware the Red Killers
Probably the biggest danger there is. In Kerala, local buses are known as Red Killers; we presume because of the colour they’re often painted and not from the devastation they leave in their diesel-fumed wake. Still, they’ll happily run you off the road only to screech to a halt as soon as they’ve overtaken you. At least the rickshaws’ brakes are renowned for their reliability. One Rickshaw Runner described them thusl… “There’s a special place in hell for Indian bus drivers”.
The world’s biggest land mammal will seriously ruin your day if you get on the wrong side of it. Coming in at about five tons they will annihilate your rickshaw like a fat kid at a biscuit tin. They’re quite cool to look at, so that is one thing they’ve got going for them.
7. Every other road user
A country where a driving test takes approximately 4.2 seconds is going to present some challenges you don’t get on the A35 to Bridport. And when half of these drivers are driving vehicles that would probably be illegal back home, carrying loads that wouldn’t be allowed back home along roads from some sort of nightmarish dystopia, you can see why India is a bit ‘crashy’.
8. The weather: It is not what you expect
Come to India with visions of sweltering tropical heat and you’re in for a rude awakening. North India in the winter gets cold, especially at night, as the open sides of the rickshaw do a splendid job of not keeping out the winter chill. And the monsoon of the summer months means the south is wetter than an otter’s penis.
9. Spontaneous dance parties: You might get carried away
There you are, going about your business, trying to get from A to B, whilst avoiding C,D,E,F & G and you bump into a festival. Or a protest. Or an inexplicable street party. Despite even a shred of any obvious skill, Indians love to dance and will, literally, dance at the drop of a hat. It would be rude not to join in though, wouldn’t it?
10. Your teammates’ (and your) own driving
Probably the biggest risk is that feeling that you’re invincible, or that you’re actually playing Mario Kart (spoilers; you’re not and, you’re not). Most of the injuries on the rickshaw run are caused by pilot error, not the 99 other problems you might encounter. So that should be of comfort, eh?