Seeing is not believing. Road tour in India
I have been in India (Assam) for a week and cannot believe that the road situation is real. Am I having a bad dream?Road signs and other markings on all sealed roads, finished or unfinished, are minimal. The lack of signage on unfinished dual lane separated highways leads to traffic moving in both directions in the fast lanes on both sides of the highway.Instead of extended working from a finished point, segments are built simultaneously in different places and gradually connected, leaving drivers to use their powers of premonition about when and where to move into a finished segment, or out of one, and whether to use their own forward lane, or borrow the fast oncoming lane of the other side.Meanwhile, rear lights on vehicles at night seem to be optional, reflectors to mark road boundaries are non-existent outside the city, walking along the highways, cycling, herders with cows, and cows without herders... all seem accepted practice, since provision for local off-highway movement is minimal. This might be a predominantly agricultural economy, with real needs for local agricultural transport, but that is no concern of the highway builders.No signs exist to suggest that it might be wise to slow down for towns, regardless of whether or not there is visible foot traffic in the town.Full blockage in sight? No problem, shoot for it.Change lanes without indicating, not even at the last second. Indicators for vehicles behind are not a consideration. It's all about getting advantage ahead by honking at the car in front. The driver behind is assumed not to be too close if there has been no honk from there.Trust the madman behind in order to push aside the madman in front.Pedestrians seem happy to assume that traffic behind them will not prevent the oncoming vehicle to swerve to avoid them at the last second.Drivers seem happy to assume that chatting pedestrians and cyclists with their backs turned will move in the right direction if startled by a car that hurtles in close behind them out of the gathering darkness.The dead do not talk, so no lessons need to be learned from them. But at least there are some sane doctors still living.See http://www.ioaindia.org/ROADTRAFFICACCIDENTS.pdf It's recommended reading for anyone thinking of a road tour in India. I'll switch to trains for long distances, as much as possible.