Expat Driving in India

Updated: Feb 13

I’ve been asked numerous times about my driving experience in India & how they just could not believe that I had the balls to get behind the wheel.

Well the only way I can explain what its like is that its like being part of a Fast & Furious movie & a player in the GTA video game all rolled into one and the only way to survive is to become one of them.


By them I mean an ‘Indian Driver’ and throw all rules, regulations, courtesy out the window. You also do not need to use all your car's features, because a simple hand out the window is the ‘right’ way to indicate on these roads.

Traffic lights? What are those for? While many have fully functioning sets of lights, they are often turned off or ignored. Drivers, Motorists & pedestrians much rather congregate in the middle of the intersection blocking each other from getting anywhere because why should any of them give way to the other? That would mean they would need to accept defeat in the game of who can wait the longest.


Oh, and don’t you dare leave any buffer space between you and the car in front of you when stopped, a swarm of two wheelers will squeeze themselves in just to be first when the traffic starts moving. They also take no notice as to which way you are turning and will swerve in front of you to turn left when you need to turn right. And say you just happen to hit them in this situation ‘Mob Justice’ will still deem you to be in the wrong.

Last but certainly not least, the people, the animals & the potholes. They stroll across a busy intersection like they have not a care in the world or will be walking in the middle of a small lane way happily yapping away on the phone, and when you beep the look you get can frighten just about anyone. After all how could you interrupt their peaceful stroll just because you needed to get through?


This is just a glimpse of ‘My Experience’ on the roads of Chennai, India. I am sure that driving anywhere as an International driver is not an easy feat but I can confidently say that if you can conquer the road in India you can drive anywhere.


Have you driven on foreign roads?


What has your experience been like?


I would love to hear accounts from expat drivers from all around the world, so please do email me with your story to connect@xpats.in


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