Indian truck drivers driving in wrong lanes drive me insane!There are several hundreds of traffic rules in India listed under the Motor Vehicles Act. While some are somewhat stringently followed (for example not driving in the opposite lane or not jumping the red light), some of them are often violated (such as not wearing helmets while riding two-wheelers). There are some rules that hardly anyone follows - for example, a two-wheeler rider must signal a left-turn with his/her right hand but we all end up using our left hand (the rule is there because you should never let go your hand off the clutch, or rear brake in gearless two-wheelers).
For all such offenses, we see various degrees of penal measures from the concerned authorities. However, there is one violation of traffic rule for which several accidents occur, but seldom any penal measure is taken against the violators. And that is driving in the wrong lane on national highways.
Since in our country, vehicles are usually right-hand-drive and we drive on the left side of the road, the leftmost lane is the slowest and the rightmost lane is the fastest on the national highways. Only then you can overtake from the right side which is the rule. However, if you travel on national highways in India, more often than not you will see slower vehicles driving on the rightmost lane. And most of them are truck drivers (or drivers of similar heavy goods vehicles). I do not want to say that all goods carriage drivers violate this rule - but I have seen most of them do. It is very irritating when you find a heavy truck going in 40-60 km on the highway on the rightmost lane. Even you keep honking behind it or keep flashing your headlight for an eternity, it is not going to shift to its left and let you overtake from the right. How long will you drive your four-wheeler at 40 km per hour behind a truck? So, in such situations, you have no other option and need to overtake from the left side, which is extremely risky. This is because when you approach the left-rear corner of a big right-hand-drive vehicle, you move into the blind spot of the driver.
Several accidents occur in India as small cars need to weave in and out large goods vehicles continuously driving on the rightmost lane at a slow speed. We actually end up driving in a way that is exactly opposite to the traffic rule - the heavy and slower vehicles take the rightmost lane while smaller and faster vehicles take the left one.
I do not want to believe that so many truck drivers willingly violate the rule. This, I believe, happens because of not knowing the rules and having a herd mentality at the same time (that is if the truck in front of me is driving in the rightmost lane I also keep driving in a similar fashion). However, while I have seen several awareness drives by the authorities regarding several safety measures such as fastening seat belts and wearing helmets, I hardly remember seeing any placard or any other instruction to spread awareness regarding this matter.
If all the truck drivers followed the rule and drove on the leftmost lane, and shifting to the middle/right lane only when overtaking an even slower vehicle, two-wheelers and four-wheelers would not require to drive in a zigzag manner. I fervently hope the concerned authority takes up adequate measures including driver education programs and levies fine to slow-moving vehicles for driving on the rightmost lane.
N.B. this is an entry to the Topic of the month TOW contest - Drive.