There’s definitely an art to crossing a busy road in India. Someone just sent me this funny video, which inspired me to write about it.

Although I generally wait for a bit more of a gap in the traffic flow, I often do what the Indian guy in the video does, which is to hold out his hand in a really authoritative manner with the demeanor of a somewhat arrogant traffic cop. However, instead of looking away, I look drivers right in the eye. This is not the time to look timid or apologetic.

Don’t just take it for granted that everyone will automatically stop. Some vehicles will simply swerve to go around you.

If there are some locals crossing at the same place, get downstream from them and cross with them.

Once you have started across, don’t stop or change direction mid-crossing. And don’t get complacent until you’ve reached the other side.

On divided roads, find a place to cross where you can wait safely at the divider, if necessary.

Don’t count on drivers to stop at crosswalks (zebra crossings, as Indians call them) to let you cross. This isn’t California.

If you are crossing at a light or where there is a traffic cop, crossing is usually easier, but don’t let your guard down.

If you have to cross a busy street at night, wave a flashlight so that you can be seen easily—but not in such a way that it will blind oncoming drivers, of course.

Pay attention to everything that is coming your way from every side. Never forget that on one way roads there will often be someone coming the wrong way because they don’t want to go around a longer way. Look both ways. Always.




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