I was recently walking around town with a friend and made a comment about some drivers who were driving way too fast. My friend looked at me and pointed out that the cars I was complaining about were moving at less than 25 miles per hour! Oh. It’s all relative for sure. In the US, that would be considered almost the lower end of normal in town and unbelievably slow outside of it, but in much of India, especially in the towns and along country roads, that’s much too fast considering how many people, animals, obstacles and vehicles of every possible description there are on the roads. Most Indian drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are extremely undisciplined when it comes to traffic laws, so chaos often reigns supreme. Throw in all the cows, donkeys, goats, water buffaloes, horses, monkeys, camels, elephants, dogs, and other critters, not to mention bullock and camel carts, and it really gets interesting.

In any case, the average Indian is, I’m sad to say, a really bad driver. Indian women tend to be conservative drivers and you rarely see them speeding. However—and I’m not being sexist here—many men, no matter how patient they may be under other circumstances, seem to turn into type-A personalities as soon as they get behind the wheel. Jekyll and Hyde personified. There’s been a big increase in road rage incidents in big cities over the past decade., which is very much related to the incredible increase in the number of vehicles on the road, something that has happened much faster than in other countries.

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