How to drive right !

In India ‘left’ is right, although 95% of the drivers on road fail to realize that. I have written about traffic earlier on how lucky I am to reach office well dressed and alive !

I was reading through some old threads on when I saw this “If the left indicator blinks, it means you can’t overtake and there’s oncoming traffic while thr ‘right’ indicator means, go ahead”

well well well. Now I know why the 95% of vehicles on the road drive this crazy.

Now lets get to the bottom of this, when you give a left indicator you are not indicating or directing anyone to overtake, roll over, brake or anything. You are signalling the rest of the drivers that YOU are turning to the left ! Well that would be the simple meaning of an indicator.

So when you signal left, the car behind you can overtake you since you are moving to the left lane(if there is one) or to the side of the road. So it can be treated as a signal to overtake, although it isn’t !!!

When you indicate to the right, it means that YOU are going to move to the right lane or turn right at the next junction depending on the lane you are in ! It does not indicate that the vehicle behind you cannot overtake ! Its common sense and traffic ethics for the car behind you NOT to overtake when you are going to turn right !

The rules/ethics were answered/explained in the thread itself, but I am surprised to see many confused on this simple signalling thing. Its very simple, an indicator would convey on where YOU are going ,  you don’t tell anyone else on what THEY can /supposed (to) do. Although its a judgement that the vehicle behind you, who should take the decision to overtake.

Indicators are not fancy yellow lights which are used in old Malayalam/Hindi movies during dance sequences to get the disco light effects. Its an indicator to save lives!

Now for some quick poll (8 questions) on some basic traffic rules/ethics. Please don’t choose the answer that you think is right, but choose the one which you actually follow. 🙂


  1. Too many quiz questions! Started reminding me of good ol school days so did only the first one 🙂

    Nevertheless I completely disagree with your blinkers rant. Granted that blinkers are used primarily to indicate your state of direction, it is also used to communicate certain things to the driver of the vehicle behind you. For example when you put your hazard lights on it indicates a)You’re in trouble b) There is trouble up ahead so everyone behind me slow down.

    Similarly left and right blinker DO indicate if you can overtake or stay behind and is prevalently used in many countries. Therefore this rant is not entirely justified

  2. @Bentley,
    yes, the vehicle behind you can take the judgement depending on the blinkers(indicators). I have mentioned that in the post. I was surprised to read the thread in which people suggested the opposite !

  3. You confused me with many choices.. I couldn’t find the answer I was looking for a few times. You should’ve also included the choice “Do what I think that moment” also.. 😀

    1. 🙂 yeah, I should have given that option as well. There is no standard answers for these.

  4. Now now… i didnt vote for a couple of them up there as i didnt have my choice but did for the rest.

    And you are not alone when you say that you get confused about the right indicator on. When i had just started driving car and was my first time on highway, a truck gave right signal and i thought the driver wanted to turn right but this went on for quite sometime and i realised that there was no right turn ahead for miles… i eventually cursed the driver and went right ahead and overtook him. Later i realised that he was in fact giving me way!! 🙄 Batao!!

    1. 😀 The thread talked about that too, the truck drivers in India are coming from the west I believe, they always stick to the right lane, blocking traffic and force people to overtake through the right.

  5. Xylene, I think a lot of people don’t know how to drive because they have never learnt the rules. It is very easy to get a driving licence here. In developed countries there is a proper test. In any case, you already know that!

    1. Yeah, the police here only checks if you have a license and not if you are on a road rage. They just turn a blind eye to light jumpers and bad drivers, but they would stop you(if you driving slow following all rules) to ask for your license.

  6. scriblingpad · · Reply

    I think using the hand signal (Although not always practical) would be the best option to communicate to the other driver. Again, people do not know how to use the hand signal.

    Waving hands was the most common signal that I saw on Indian roads and it can mean just about any thing. 🙂

    I agree with Nitha, its like people know how to operate their vehicle, but seldom know how to drive.
    Department of Highways provides some rules of how to drive in the following link.

    1. Thanks for the link. Waving of hand has it own meaning. For the city bus, there would be the conductor and the driver waving hands confusing you where they are going.

  7. Ya ya, an assole put the left and turned right and I was over taking him and bang an accident…*sigh! So haven’t touched the car for a month now…idiots..

    1. OH!
      That’s the case with the city buses always. They would have an indicator ON all the time.

    1. The righ most lane in highways are considered to be the ‘fast’ lane. Speeds from 60-80km/hr for LMVs 🙂

  8. Rage against the road ragers?

    People here are a frustrated lot as housing is being pushed further away from offices and quality of life is abysmal and mind u once a person breaks rules everyone follows
    not just in india but worldwide
    U Have u taken a driving test i hope…
    rates are 1000 bucks for a license with a namesake test
    2500 for a licence without ur presence…
    bribe to avoid fines 50 to 100

    1. But that wont be a justification, everyone stays away from their work. So unless people learn to follow some ethics on the road, it will be this messy always.
      I guess if the traffic violations are monitored by some private agency it should get better. Like the private agency who picks up all the motorcycles and tow away cars at No parking areas.
      They do their job efficiently as they get commission.
      I have take a driving test, and got the license without any bribe. Been driving since 18 after I got my license.

  9. Now, I’m not supporting abovesaid unwritten rules..

    there is indeed a line of distinction here —

    case1- you’re in city traffic or any traffice with road junctions
    behaviour- normal.
    left indicator means that the driver intends to turn left, etc

    case2- you’re on highway (one lane on each side is the common cases)
    behaviour- let me tell you what to do.
    right indicator means that there are no vehicles from opposing direction and you can overtake.

    case3- you’re on multi-lane road (rather rare!)
    behaviour- nobody cares what the car in front of you is doing. you race like shohaib akhtar’s wide bowl and zap past the car.

    Basically, the “opposite” behaviour is supposed to be a highway specific behaviour. Although, I don’t know why has it have evolved to be opposite.

    1. I am still not able to figure out how the right indicator is different at highways. It shouldn’t be right? The truck drivers treat it as a signal to overtake. Not sure how that evolved.

  10. nice quiz 🙂

  11. Started writing a response and then saw the comment by VivekM. So ditto to that comment. Maybe it evolved when truck drivers figured how to use the indicator. They were signaling by hand and perhaps suddenly figured the indicator was a better way of doing this, especially at night.

    And in case you want to overtake a truck from the left, or want to figure out if the truck is going to turn left, watch out for the cleaner or the mundo boy in the truck. He is the left indicator in a truck!!!

  12. @Lifeofhues,

  13. You drive yourself? Try getting a driver. Takes your mind off things.

    1. Can’t afford a chauffer now. 🙂

  14. The indicator stuff appears to me as ‘common sense’. Going by what you said, i guess people don’t know that to overtake from the left is a strict no-no. If one wants, one can overtake from the right.

    1. Yes, that should be the case.

  15. You’ve got it wrong, dude… 🙂
    In India, to ‘drive’ means to ‘kill’… 😀

    1. Are you talking about Salman?

  16. One of the reasons I left the country!!

  17. Bob,
    that’s the only reason? 🙂

  18. Interesting options….but too many questions. I gave up half way – there’s a cricket match to watch 😉

  19. mandayamr · · Reply

    @VivekM and @lifeofhues are right. I remember a journey back from Coorg to Mysore in the mid 90’s, and observing these rules being followed not only by the trucks but also by our Ambassador driver. The road was a 2 lane road with no divider. You may remember that some of the trucks used to have a body that was wider, that is jutted out beyond the driver cabin, on either side. This made it practically impossible to “see” the driver’s hand signal at night. An example of Juggad? Yes!

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