Honking the Horn

Mumbai and Hyderabad are dense cities, the traffic is intense, and the road circulation is different from anything I had ever experienced before.

I got stuck in traffic in Rome, in New York, in Paris, but it was nothing compared to what I’m experiencing here in India.

Indian drivers are generally chilled, regardless the total chaos they have to navigate through. The sound of the horns fills the crazy jungle of cars, motopeds, bikes, carriages, and cattle.

They play the horn all the time and for the first few days it was annoying. You are not just stuck in the jam, you also have this constant noise in your head.

When I observed more carefully the dynamics of driving I suddenly had an epiphany: the chaos requires more information to be safely navigated. This requires an extra sense that we usually don’t use in western cities, where road regulations, traffic conditions, and driving practices are less chaotic.

They use the horns as a signal of presence, not to blame other drivers for their misconducts. They keep acknowledging themselves and others through sound.

I find this fascinating. Still annoying, but fascinating.

One thought on “Honking the Horn

  1. Something similar happens in Nepal. Kathmandu traffic is very… formative: even if not every road is jammed, there are places where you can look at all those traffic slowly flowing, surprisingly with almost no accident. And you can actually observe and feel the order coming out of the chaos.

    If I remember well, our guide explained to us that they use the horns a lot also because not everyone has insurance: one more reason to make others aware of your presence.

    Like

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