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Is road travel at night a safety issue in India?

Is road travel at night a safety issue in India?

Oct 28th, 2005, 11:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Is road travel at night a safety issue in India?

Our Rajasthan itinerary may require that we do one drive at least partially after dark (from Jaisalmer back to Jodhpur). Given the comments on the board about road safety, is this something that we should even consider (or is being on the road after dark a serious safety issue)?

The only way for us to avoid this would be to cut short our time in Jaisalmer a bit. We could have a full afternoon, one night and until 3:00pm the following day and then get on a train for Jodhpur instead.

Any thoughts would be great....
WinterTravel is offline  
Oct 28th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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hi friend my advice to you would be STAY OFf the roads at night its bad ebough during the day and that coming from a very experienced taxi driver ))

mikkie50 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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If you are used to driving in the states then day driving in India will be "interesting." Once you see that then you can decide for yourself. Personally I agree with the previous poster.
jacketwatch is online now  
Oct 29th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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We should clarify that we will not be doing the driving ourselves -- we will be hiring a driver (who is used to driving on Indian roads). Not sure that changes the advice, but....
WinterTravel is offline  
Oct 29th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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My adivice would be to avoid driving at night if you possibly can. I follow the same thumb-rule even in the USA, by the way, where the roads are world-class.

agtoau is offline  
Oct 29th, 2005, 10:16 AM
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If I remember correctly this is a long drive. Roads, even national highways, in India are not world class i.e. they are narrow, not too well lit, etc. I would say take the train in the afternoon. You will probably find you are on the edge of your seat thru the drive so completely washed out the next day and hence save no real time.
hobbes is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Please do not use the taxis in the night for travel . Do that on a train on any comfortable coach you like
appu1991 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2005, 11:49 PM
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Dear WinterTravel,

As far as safety is concerned, road travel in the night is not an issue. As far as comfort is concerned, you certainly would be tired by the time you reach because a lot of roads are not the best they could be. Take a train if possible, if not, you could always leave slightly earlier by road so that you have some time to sleep in a real bed once you reach your destination.

Happy Travelling!
Nov 3rd, 2005, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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The road between Jaisalmer & Jodhpur is very good. It is broad but single. the traffic you shall encounter on this road at any time is very low. Yet I shall be uncomfortable giving a night journey to even an indian tourist, let alone a foriegner!
vp_singh is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 02:56 AM
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Does anyone have precise statistics for accidents on this road? I would put money on the average number of accidents being fewer than on the M25 (the London outer ring road). And the likelihood of losing your life being FAR FAR less than just being there for a day in a major US city.

I've travelled it by overnight bus and don't remember being freaked in any way. If you have a personal driver then it's up to you to make sure he/she drives at an acceptable speed.

Sort of fed up with the number of posts that slate this and that in India (and other non-first world countries) without stopping to consider what happens at "home".

Aren't you?
fuzzylogic is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Travelling in India is frequently heart-rending, sometimes hilarious, mostly exhilarating, always unforgettable - and, when you are on the roads, extremely dangerous.
Most Indian road users observe a version of the Highway Code based on an ancient text :
The assumption of immortality is required of all road users.
The following precedence must be accorded at all times. In descending order, give way to: cows, elephants, heavy trucks, buses, official cars, camels, light trucks, buffalo, Jeeps, ox-carts, private cars, motorcycles, scooters, auto-rickshaws, pigs, pedal rickshaws, goats, bicycles (goods- carrying), handcarts, bicycles (passenger-carrying), dogs, pedestrians.
All wheeled vehicles shall be driven in accordance with the maxim: to slow is to falter, to brake is to fail, to stop is defeat. This is the Indian drivers' mantra.
Use of horn (also known as the sonic fender or aural amulet): Cars (IV,1,a-c): Short blasts (urgent) indicate supremacy, ie in clearing dogs, rickshaws and pedestrians from path. Long blasts (desperate) denote supplication, ie to oncoming truck, "I am going too fast to stop, so unless you slow down we shall both die". In extreme cases this may be accompanied by flashing of headlights (frantic). Single blast (casual) means "I have seen someone out of India's 870 million whom I recognize", "There is a bird in the road (which at this speed could go through my windscreen)" or "I have not blown my horn for several minutes." Trucks and buses (IV,2,a): All horn signals have the same meaning, viz, "I have an all-up weight of approximately 12.5 tons and have no intention of stopping, even if I could." This signal may be emphasized by the use of headlamps (insouciant). Article IV remains subject to the provision of Order of Precedence in Article II above
All manoeuvres, use of horn and evasive action shall be left until the last possible moment.
In the absence of seat belts (which there is), car occupants shall wear garlands of marigolds. These should be kept fastened at all times.
Rights of way: Traffic entering a road from the left has priority. So has traffic from the right, and also traffic in the middle. Lane discipline (VII,1): All Indian traffic at all times and irrespective of direction of travel shall occupy the centre of the road.
Roundabouts: India has no roundabouts. Apparent traffic islands in the middle of crossroads have no traffic management function. Any other impression should be ignored.
Overtaking is mandatory. Every moving vehicle is required to overtake every other moving vehicle, irrespective of whether it has just overtaken you. Overtaking should only be undertaken in suitable conditions, such as in the face of oncoming traffic, on blind bends, at junctions and in the middle of villages/city centres. No more than two inches should be allowed between your vehicle and the one you are passing - and one inch in the case of bicycles or pedestrians.
Nirvana may be obtained through the head-on crash.
Reversing: no longer applicable since no vehicle in India has reverse gear.
The 10th incarnation of God was as an articulated tanker.
Florence is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 05:03 AM
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Fuzzylogic: I think you are a bit too defensive about driving in India sir. Do I have statistics? No but having been in India visiting my in-laws many times over the past 27 yrs. I can tell you what I see and it is not in anyway like the road scene in the USA. On the road from Ajmer to Jaipur you regulary see vehicles that have been in accidents on the side of the road. many of them really. Its just not the same at all. No comparision. During our last visit this past winter the driving style left me amazed at the chances people take, esp. at night. I was scared out of my wits while at the same times my inlaws found my reactions amusing because they are so used to the conditions. And seatbelts? Forget it. Also to say the person riding in the vehicle can control how the driver operates his vehicle is, well theory that will fail. You can't tell a person who has become so used to driving in India to all of a sudden change his ways and honestly I don't think you want too either. These guys have a "racers edge" for that sort of traffic ( barely controlled recklessness I call it) and you are best to leave them alone. They won't listen anyway. I tried that. India has some great things to see but if you want to see all she has to offer get used to a "different" ride. Thats just the way it is. JM2C. PS, thanks to Florence for the comical perspective. LOL!
jacketwatch is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 08:50 AM
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Everything in Florence's "Highway Code" is true. My observation was that driving in India actually requires a high degree of skill and even more importantly, concentration. We did not travel long distances at night when we were in India and I do not recommend driving at night to anyone. Taking the train is a much better option. I have seen nothing anywhere else that comes close to the chaos that exists on Indian highways.
Craig is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Here is a 2004 report that will tell you everything you might ever want to know and more about drving injuries/fatalities in India: The Road Ahead, Traffic injuries and fatalities in India.

BostonHarbor is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:14 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 22
As an Indian, I can only summarize the following...

Most roads are safe, but driving or being driven around at night is not a pleasant experience. Avoid night trave if you can!
Dilip is offline  

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