top of page
  • Writer's pictureKirk

Driving in India - Watch out for the Cows

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Driving in the remote areas of India is a real adventure (when I say remote, I mean not many foreigners, this country has over a billion people so there are abundant locals everywhere). I enjoyed the experience but I will admit it made me very nervous at times. There were several reasons it was adventurous which I'll cover here.


Driving a jeep in India


In India the driving is done British style. Driving is done on the left side of the road and you're seated in the right side of the car, everything is standard transmission so shifting is done with the left hand.


The first adventurous thing I'll mention regarding driving in remote areas of India is there are really not any hard rules. Sure you drive on the left and all, but there is no real etiquette to driving. There are lots of bikes and they're criss crossing every which way. I've seen a biker go down because of the person driving it, but am surprised I never witnessed a bike colliding with another vehicle.


I did actually see a driver hit another car. Neither was hurt. But after some back and forth yelling they each went their own ways with their damaged vehicles. No police involved and certainly no accident reports. Why would there be? I doubt anyone has insurance (or money for repairs!).


Bikes will pass you on either side and cut you off without notice. It can get quite crazy. I just drive slowly and avoid the crazy.


In the market part of the villages there can be a lot of people in the main part of the town. You have to be vigilant for pedestrians. I'm not sure what would happen if you hit one but I never wanted to know the answer either.


The next reason it is so adventurous is the roads themselves. They are in terrible condition. Huge potholes that go unrepaired. Big enough they would damage a car if hit right (or wrong). I was constantly maneuvering around them.


But I do have a pothole story. I was driving on a road where it was difficult to pass. The guy behind me was tailgating me closely. I came up to a huge pothole and knew the guy behind could not see it as he was tailgating too closely to me. So, I kept my course straight at the huge pothole and veered off at the last second. The guy behind couldn't react in time and bottomed out in that huge hole I watched in my rear view as he exited his car to survey the damage. Was that mean of me?


Lastly, but most importantly, it's the danger of the cows:




They're free roaming and they're sacred. You better not hit one. I was told by a guy there if I did accidentally hit one while driving, never stop. Just keep going. I may be chased but the consequences are no worse than if you stop. Try to just get away. You're going to get a beating if you stop, and I'm not sure if it would stop at that.


I don't know if that's true or not but I never wanted to challenge it. I never witnessed a cow being hit or harassed in any way. But I can tell you don't ask for a steak if you go into a restaurant,



The adventures of driving in India. What better place to learn to drive?

9 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Gaming the System?

On a recent check-in at a Hyatt hotel, the clerk noticed I was staying on points. Well, I always stay on points at chain hotels so that's nothing new. But his comment struck me when he said, "Thank yo

bottom of page