Road Safety

“Enjoy the ride, don’t commit suicide”
“Time is Precious, Life is Priceless”
“It’s a one way street, there’s no two ways about it”
“Donate blood in a blood bank, not on this road”
“Enemies of the road; drink, speed and overload”
“It’s not a rally, enjoy the valley”

Just a small selection of the many signs painted along the side of the road. And here’s why:

The majority of these were seen on the last three days of the run. Given the way they drive over here it is no surprise. What is a surprise, is how few rickshaws were involved in accidents. Survival instincts I suppose. If a bus or truck forces you off the road, you drive off the road. Simple as that. Hurling abuse at the bus driver at the next stop helps you feel better, but not much else.

In short, the roads were crazy. The biggest vehicle has right of way. Truck drivers do have a surprising amount of respect. They push you of the road, but at least the passenger tells you when they are going to do it. Bus drivers pull out with the air horn blaring, and once at least their front bumper is ahead of the rickshaw, they pull in. Many an occasion I had to brake and / or swerve off the road to avoid being hit. Getting angry is not an option. Getting used to it is. After a while I found myself dropping back and leaving space before a bus went to overtaking, thus saving myself from having to take evasive action.

Night driving was worse (yes we did it, but normally just to get to the nearest place that actually was big enough to have a hostel / hotel). It was often very difficult to distinguish oncoming traffic. Some such as ox and cart had no lights. Others often only had one headlight working, invariably the nearside. Then there were the jeeps and tractors that have headlights so close together thus disguising their distance and width. Worse still, was that oncoming vehicles run with full beam headlights regardless of oncoming traffic. This leaves you blind as the vehicle approaches and passes, often suddenly revealing a bicycle / person / cow / tractor in your lane that was invisible before due to the glare. Not pleasant.