India Driving Guide 2021
India is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.
Of all your travel trips, few countries will leave a deep mark on your heart and a lasting impression. India is such a place that will get into your heart because of the richness of the land, diverse destinations, historical architectures, and delicious cuisines. As the birthplace of Buddhism and Hinduism, you’ll get a grasp of the cultural and religious importance of the places you’ll visit. Wherever you go, you’ll surely be touched by the warmth of the locals.
To smoothly go to the variety of destinations in India, you must have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to be able to rent a car. Driving in India will give you the freedom to go to places that are not readily available to public transportation. India is truly a land of astounding diversity and languages, a land where tradition speaks, culture echoes, and where the beauty is unparalleled. It is a must to see all these wonders of creation in India.
Every aspect of our lives has been affected ever since the start of the global pandemic caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It changed how we interact with each other, how we communicate, and even how we move around and travel. This unprecedented crisis disrupted air travel. The tourism industry in India has been hit hard by the pandemic. Here are the latest changes in India’s border status.
What Are India’s Current Border Status and Updates?
Since March 18, 2020, India’s borders are closed to tourists to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, but its borders are open for the residents only. All incoming passengers are suspended. It is only on June 1 that India’s domestic flights have resumed. Many countries still have limited and closed borders to slow the spread of the virus.
Check out the International Driver’s Association’s (IDA) travel restriction page, which indicated the border status of over 200 countries. This can help you make informed decisions on which country is best to travel to. The restrictions continue to change depending on the country’s situation. IDA’s travel restrictions are updated from time to time.
What Are the Entry and Exit Requirements in India?
Due to the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers going to India must take note of the thing you need to do before planning for travel, before boarding, during travel, on and on arrival. Of course, a valid passport and a valid visa are required to enter and exit India for any purpose. Ensure the right type of visa for your planned activity in the country.
Before Planning for Travel
Before you travel to India, you should submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours before your scheduled travel. There is a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Home quarantine is permitted only for compelling reasons such as pregnancy, serious illness, and death in the family. Travelers can also seek exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test upon arrival, which should be conducted 96 hours before travel.
All passengers need to download the Arogya Setu app on their mobile devices. Only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to go onboard after thermal screening at the time of boarding. Precautionary measures shall be ensured at the airports, and social distancing should also be followed.
Travelers who have not filled in the self-declaration form online shall have a duplicate copy given to Health and Immigration officials present at the airport and land port. Wearing masks and following required precautions such as respiratory hygiene, environmental hygiene, and hand hygiene should be observed by all passengers, airline staff, and crew.
All passengers should undergo a thermal screening by the health officials present at the airport. During the screening, the passengers found to be symptomatic must be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility. Passengers are needed to be taken to institutional quarantine facilities for the mandatory 14 day-quarantine. It is seven days paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by seven days of isolation at home.
What Are India’s Travel and Visa Restrictions Related to COVID-19?
International flights are still suspended until November 30. As of this writing, the following information is India’s travel and visa restrictions. As the government’s response to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 continues, travel and visa restrictions may change. Series of steps to curtail inward and outward movement of people are still taken.
Indian Nationals Who Want to Return to India:
- Travelers coming from restricted countries identified by India are not allowed
- All passengers coming from UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait after March 18, 2020, will be quarantined.
Indian Nationals Who Want to Go Abroad:
- Indians are strongly advised to avoid non-essential travel to countries that have COVID-19 cases since passengers from restricted countries are not allowed to enter India
- Those who have visited China, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Republic of Korea, and Iran on or after Feb 15, 2020, will be quarantined
Foreigners Who Want to Go to India:
- The visa categories that allowed to enter India from the non-restricted countries are those who have employment and project visas only
- The dependents of those who have the exempted visa categories are not allowed to enter India
- Maldives nationals would require a visa
- Travelers from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Afghanistan are prohibited
- Bhutan and Nepal nationals are permitted to travel to India
- Passengers traveling from the Republic of Korea and Italy must present a negative COVID-19 test result
What Are India’s Health Protocols Related to COVID-19?
There is a high risk of COVID-19 in India. The government recommends travelers to avoid non-essential travel to the country. At the individual level, people are advised to continue using masks, hand & respiratory hygiene, and social distancing. India’s Health Ministry also recommends looking for early warning signs like high-grade fever, breathlessness, unexplained chest pain, and focal weakness.
General Information About India
Before traveling to India, it is a must that you know the general information about the country so that you’ll be able to understand the history, culture, religion, food, and even the locals. Knowing these things will help you connect and understand more of the people and the places you go in India.
Where Is India Geographically Located?
India is bordered by Myanmar, Bangladesh, and China in the northeastern part. It is also bordered by Pakistan and Afghanistan on the west, Bhutan and Nepal in the North. India is the 7th largest country in the world, covering a total land area of 32,87,263 sq. km. The country is crowned for its world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayan range, located in the north. Most parts of India lie on a peninsula with a coastline of over 7,000 km.
India is a big country that is politically divided into 28 states, a national capital territory, and six union territories. Its geography is also very diverse and the climate is mostly tropical. The landscapes range from the hills, plateaus, deserts, plains, mountain ranges, and terrains. Due to its diversities, India is considered a sub-continent since it comprises all the characteristics of a continent.
What Is India’s History?
In the early 16th century, a Mongol leader named Babur founded the Mongol Empire created a golden age of art and architecture. Indians built mosques, roads, and tombs, including the grand Taj Mahal. In 1757, Britain gained control of almost all parts of the country. Series of uprisings against British rule began afterward. The famous Mahatma Gandhi began a nonviolent protest in 1920 to push the British out until it gained independence in 1947.
What Is India’s Government and Economy?
India’s parliamentary government was inherited from the British. Direct administration by the British affected the political and economic unification of India’s subcontinent. After India’s Independence in 1947, one party, the Congress Party, and one family, the Nehru family, dominated the government for many decades. Now, many parties compete for different government positions.
India has the most diversified economies globally, but due to its enormous population, it is one of the world’s poorest countries based on its gross domestic product (GDP). The manufacturing industry is India’s substantial component in GDB; however, finance, trade, and other services make up most of its GDP. As per India’s economy, experts predict that it will be one of the world’s leading markets since it grows so fast.
What Is India’s People and Culture?
India’s society is divided into social ranks, which are called castes. The caste is determined upon birth, and there’s no way to change it. Priests, landowners, and soldiers are among the high caste. “Untouchables” have no rank, and they usually do menial jobs. Also, India is a very spiritual country. It has no official religion, but almost 80% of the population is Hindu, and about 13% is Muslim. India is also the most ethnically diverse country in the world.
What Are Languages Spoken in India?
India is one of the most populous countries in the world, so one of the things you need to know is its exceptionally diverse linguistic language. Hindi and English are India’s official language. There are also 22 official languages and hundreds of other languages spoken in the country that are all recognized by the Indian constitution. There are also numerous dialects found in different regions. So it can be a challenge for you when you travel to India.
Do not worry if the only language you can speak and understand is the English language because it has a strong presence in locals’ everyday lives. Although for cultural and linguistic reasons, standard English is somehow different from Indian English. Nevertheless, you can talk to locals using the English language. So if you’re planning on traveling and driving in India, you can probably go to the big cities and tourist areas.
What Are Facts About India’s Current Tourism?
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, India’s tourism sector is still struggling to kick-start the economy. Despite the opening of the iconic Taj Mahal and other tourist attractions in late September this year, people are not yet prepared to travel. India closed its borders and restricted the movement of goods and services. The emerging situation brought by the global pandemic has influenced not only daily life but also the travel activities in India.
The industry sector is the first to be affected by the global pandemic and might be the last one to recover. Travel agents, tour operators, travel guides, hotels, restaurants, and the list goes on are deeply affected. This industry suffered huge losses, but the government is fast-tracking a “One India - One Tourism” approach to revive the tourism sector. It is in the hope that the next growth driver for India is tourism.
Why Is India Worth Traveling to?
India’s strength lies in its geography as much as its rich and diverse culture. This unique country is easily accessible to other parts of Asia, Africa, and even Europe, making it a favorable location for commerce and international trade. India will definitely leave a deep mark in your heart as you learn and explore the country’s rich land, culture, and history. You will also love the delicious local cuisines and enjoy the warmth of the locals.
International Driver’s Permit in India
It’s a great thing to finally get your local driving license and be able to drive anywhere you want, isn’t it? It’s like freedom is already in your hands. But what should you do if you’re going to another country and you still wanted to freely explore the variety of destinations through driving? Do not worry because once you have your International Driver’s Permit (IDP), you are legally permitted to drive in all the places in India.
What Is an International Driver’s Permit?
An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is a legal document that identifies the legally-licensed drivers. An IDP is a translation of your local driver’s license and is recognized for over 150 countries around the world, including India. An IDP is a useful form of identification. It contains the essential details about the driver and includes a translation of driving terms to help drivers communicate to car rental companies and even to authorities.
Is an International Driving License Valid in India?
Foreign travelers can drive in India as long as they have an international driver’s license. You need to have both your native driver’s license and your international driver’s license to drive and see the beautiful places in India. These two are the essential documents you need to carry with you every time you are driving in India. It serves as a form of identification that you are a legal driver. If you have these, you do not need to worry about the local authorities.
Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License?
An IDP is the translated copy of the driver’s native license, and it is by no means a replacement of the original native driver’s license. An IDP is a mandatory and legal document you need to have if you want to drive a car. It is printed in many languages such as English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and others. An IDP is also valid for over 150 countries, so what are you waiting for? Get yours now, and explore the beauty of India.
Do I Need an IDP to Drive in India?
Before you travel to the iconic and popular tourist sites and go wherever you want in India, you need to have an IDP. You are not permitted to drive in India if you do not have an IDP and the legal documents required. The last thing you wanted to be is to get in trouble with Indian authorities, right? Your IDP serves as your legal document to drive in India. It is an official translation of your local driver’s license to be understood by Indian authorities.
Who Can Apply for an IDP in India?
If you travel a lot, whether it is for work or leisure, you can apply for an IDP in India to have a comfortable and flexible travel journey. If you’re a businessman, a diplomat, a country official, and even if you are a student, you can definitely apply for an IDP for your convenience and smooth travel. You need to be over 18 years old, and you must have a valid passport and valid visa to apply for an IDP. The driving age in India is also 18 years old.
How to Get a Driving License in India?
Once you already have your airplane ticket and your itinerary, you can already get an international driving license in India. You need to know the application process for getting an IDP to avoid any delays in your travel. The procedure is simple, and it will take you 2-7 business days to get your IDP. Here is the list of documents you need to submit and the instructions you need to follow:
- Bring a copy of passport
- Bring a copy of flight tickets
- Complete your application form. You can download it online via the International Control Traffic Association
- Valid local driver’s license
- Pay the driving license fee in India - Rs. 500
- Wait for the processing until you get your IDP
Can You Get an International Driving License in India Online?
If you want a hassle-free application, you can get your IDP online. All you need to do is complete the online application and submit copies of your valid passport and your local driver’s license. Pay the driving license fee in India, and just wait for your approval. You can already get the digital copy of your IDP after a few hours. After these, you can download a printed copy of your IDP, and you’re ready to go and explore the stunning places in India.
If you want to know how to get a driving license in India online, you can visit the International Driver’s Association page here.
When Can I Apply for an IDP in India?
Once you already secure your airplane ticket, you can already apply for an IDP in India. The processing time takes around 2-7 days from the date of application. So it is advisable to submit your documents in advance before you travel. Ready all the documents needed in applying for an International Driving License and check out how much you need to pay for the driving license fee in India, then you are all set to go and drive.
Who Needs an IDP in India?
If you’re planning on renting a car to make your travel easier and comfortable, you need to have an IDP to legally drive in India. Those who want to enjoy a hassle-free trip should have an IDP in India. Just take note that the minimum age for a driving license in India is 18 years old, so you must be at the right age before you can drive in the country.
When Will I Use IDP in India?
You will use your International Driving License in India when you rent a car, and you want to drive around the places in India. Through this, you won’t need to depend on local transportation for travel. You do not have to worry about your daily commute.
How Long Is an IDP Valid in India?
In the 1949 United Nations Conventions on Road Traffic and India’s Law, an IDP is valid for one year only. The international driving license issued in India cannot be renewed. Once the international driving license expires, you need to get a new one and follow the application process once again.
What Is the Minimum Age for Applying for a Driving License in India?
The minimum age to secure a driving license in India is 18 years old. As per the Motor Vehicle Act 2019, the validity of a driving license for those who are between 30 to 50 years old is ten years. If you are under 50 to 55 years old, your driving license is valid until the holder’s 60th birthday. Just take note of the minimum age requirement for a driving license in India so that your travel will not be delayed.
Can a 16-Year-Old Get a Driving License in India?
Indian government allowed 16 year-old-teenagers to drive gearless scooters up to 100cc. If you are 16 years old, you can get a driver’s license in India for motorcycles without gears as long as you get permission from your guardian. This driver’s license is valid for six months. When you have already reached 18 years old, that’s the time you can apply for motorcycles with gears and other vehicles.
What Is the Driving License Number in India?
An Indian Driving License number is a composite key which has 13 characters. You may think, what is the format of the driving license number in India? The first two digits are the state name, and the next two digits are the branch code of the motor vehicle authority. The license’s issued year is the next four digits, and the remaining last seven digits are the driver profile ID, which is seen in the application form. Indian Driving License numbers are unique in the whole world.
Can I Transfer My Driving License Address to Another Interstate in India?
Yes, you can, but you need to follow procedures if you want to transfer your driving license address to another interstate in India. You need to write a letter to the RTO requesting a change in address for your driver’s license. Go to RTO and fill out the form required. Submit the application with the required documents. And lastly, pay the fee required.
What Are the Advantages of Having an IDP?
Having an IDP has many advantages, especially if you want to have a convenient, flexible, and comfortable travel journey in India. Your IDP can serve as your proof of identity that you are a legal driver, and the IDP is recognized in over 150 countries in the world. You do not need to undergo a driving test again to legally drive in India. You can easily rent a car if you already have an IDP, and it is faster to claim insurance if you have an IDP.
An international driving license in India is an important document, just like your passport. If you lose your international driving license, kindly report to the Indian Embassy and inform the local authorities about it. Always have your local driver’s license and international driving license with you, so you don’t have to worry about driving in India. You just need to complete your documents and apply for an international driving license in India.
Renting a Car in India
India, known for its rich land, iconic historical and religious buildings, colorful cities, and crazy traffic, can be an intimidating place to drive. But you can take the fun and adventure if you drive around the cities and meet the locals. If you wanted to take the challenge and freely explore India’s cities, you could rent a car. Here are a few reminders and tips to keep in mind before renting a car.
What Are the Tips for Renting a Car in India?
To avoid travel delays, you must book your rental car before going to India. Renting a car ahead of time will give you a cheaper rate, and you have a better chance of getting a good deal. Also, you should pay the rental car in rupees to avoid Dynamic Currency Convention fees. Even though it may seem easier to pay the rental in dollars, this option will cost you more. Another tip is that you should double-check your car insurance coverage.
Where to Rent a Car in India?
Car rental companies offer different pick-up and drop-off locations in the airport and other places within the city. The popular car rental locations include New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kochi. If you can’t go directly to the given locations, you can book online. You just need to complete the form and choose from a wide variety of car rental classes starting from the economy, compact, midsize, van, luxury, and even SUV rentals.
There are many car rental options, and most are located in tourist areas and busy cities of India. Here are some of the car rental companies:
- S.s. Travels
- Rana Cabs Pvt. Ltd
- Madras Self Drive Cars
- ECO Rent A Car / Europcar
What Documents Are Needed to Rent a Car?
If you are thinking of exploring many stunning places in India, you should rent a car. The document required to rent a vehicle may differ from one car company to another, especially if you want to self-drive or to have a chauffeur. If you’re going to drive the car on your own, you need to submit an international driving license in India, your native driving license, a passport valid for at least a year, and a credit card with a sufficient limit.
If you want to rent a car with a driver already, you don’t need these legal and official documents. All you need to do is to present your valid passport as proof of identification. Also, if you’re going to pay the car rental online, you need to provide the details for your debit or credit card, whichever you are using to pay. It is required before you sign an agreement and have your rental car. On average, a rental car in India costs $36 per day.
What Vehicle Types Can You Rent in India?
If you are on a solo trip or you are with your family, there’s always the right car fit for you. You may choose from a car at an affordable price, a car best for group travel, or the best car for long-distance driving in India. Here are some of the best choices:
- Economy Car - If you are looking for a great fuel economy car at an affordable price, then consider renting this one. It is a fit for you if you want to have a car for four passengers and one driver. Two luggage spaces are also available. This one is the most chosen type of car by foreign travelers since it is available at a good deal.
- SUV - If you are game for an outdoor adventure, then this car for you. The smooth drivability, style, and even the spacious legroom is the match for your adventure to the hills and mountains. This is also the best car for long-distance driving in India. An SUV can accommodate seven passengers and two spaces for luggage.
- Van - If the available space for an SUV is not enough for your group travel, a van is perfect for you. You can rent a van to accommodate 9-12 passengers so that you are not too packed for your trip and adventure.
- Luxury Car - If you have all the money to rent any of the MBW Series, Mercedes, Jaguar, or even an Audi in India, then you must grab this chance to show the people what you’ve got.
Can I Rent a Car With a Driver?
If you are confident that you can drive safely in India, you can rent a car without a driver. But if you think you’re still new to the notorious traffic, the way local drivers drive, and driving rules in India, then you can rent a car with a driver. You must know that rates vary depending on the car rental company, sized type of vehicle, insurance, state taxes, tolls, and whether your driver speaks English. You also need to pay for the driver’s accommodation.
What Is the Driving Age in India?
The minimum age to get a driving license in India is 18 years old, but some car rental companies have a higher minimum driving age of 21 or 23 years old. You must need an International Driver’s Permit and a passport valid for at least one year to rent a car and drive in India.
How to learn car driving in India?
Driving may seem like a daunting task, especially if it is your first time driving, but things will be easier if you familiarize yourself with the basic rules in driving. Before driving, you need to have functional knowledge on how to start the car, change the gears, and many more. The best way to learn car driving in India is to go to a good driving school. You can take a driving lesson for five days, which will help you build confidence in driving.
But if you don’t have the budget for going into a driving school, you can learn car driving in India by asking a friend or a relative who is an expert on driving. It will be a good idea to have an experienced driver in the co-drivers seat to guide you and tell you the basic rules. You can also ask how to drive depending on the type of car, such as an automatic or manual car. You can start driving near your place or in familiar territory first.
How Much Is the Car Insurance Fee?
Many things can affect car insurance costs, such as age and gender, personal accident cover, type of car, model, variant, fuel type, no claim bonus, and an anti-theft discount. You can use an online tool such as a car insurance calculator to compare premium quotes that could help you save money. A car insurance calculator will let you see how changing the variables can affect your car insurance coverage and cost.
Be sure to get the premium quotes from different car rental companies to compare the rates and choose the best insurance plan that is fit for you.
What Are the Documents Required to Get Car Insurance?
To be financially protected against any accident or car damage, car insurance is needed before driving in India. The required documents to get car insurance are as follows:
- Local driver’s license
- International Driver’s Permit
- Vehicle Information
- Bank details
- Complete application form
- Tax receipt
- All paperwork by the insurance provider
- Other requested documents needed by the insurance provider
What Are the Advantages of Having Car Insurance?
Car insurance offers financial protection against damage and loss, accidents, theft, and other unforeseen events. What will you do if your car needs a repair, but you do not have enough money to pay for the expenses? Car insurance is the key. The insurance provider will check the damage’s extent and pay for the repair without any questions. Car insurance offers peace of mind to you, and it is also a practical investment.
Do you know that even the Indian government stressed the importance of having car insurance? The Indian government made a third-party insurance policy a mandatory requirement for all vehicles. It would be up to you if you wanted to go for a comprehensive car insurance policy. Car insurance will definitely protect you from any damage and any unforeseen circumstance while driving in India.
The Road Rules in India
Driving in India can be challenging, but with the right information about the driving rules and regulations, you can drive safely and confidently. You need to know the key road rules, speed limits, and prohibited things when driving in India.
What Are the General Road and Driving Rules in India?
As a general road rule, it is mandatory for drivers in India to have a driving license, proof of a valid certificate of insurance, proof of car registration, and a pollution under control certificate when driving. The alcohol limit for driving in India is 0.03% per 100 ml of blood. Drivers and passengers need to wear seatbelts. Driving is on the left side of the road. All speed and distance are in kilometers.
If you want to drive in places in India, you should know the important driving rules to drive safely. One of the essential rules is that drunk-driving is prohibited. Speeding and racing are also not allowed, and those who violated may be subjected to imprisonment of up to 1 month or a fine up to Rs. 500. The use of a mobile phone is not allowed when driving. Driving an uninsured vehicle is also punishable under India’s law.
What Is the Alcohol Limit for Driving in India?
When driving in India, the maximum permitted alcohol level allowed in the bloodstream is 0.03% per 100 ml blood. Breath tests are rare, and suspected drunk drivers will be taken to the hospital for a blood test and a medical report. You must not go over the alcohol limit for driving in India or else you’ll get your first offense of imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine up to Rs. 10,000. An on-the-spot fine is not applicable to drunk driving.
What Is the Speed Limit in India?
In India, speed limits may vary from province to province, but as a general rule, the speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas and 80 km/h (50 mph) on national expressways and highways. The national speed limit for cars in India is 140 km/h.
What Are the Seatbelt Laws?
According to the World Health Organization, the use of a seatbelt is one of the most important actions to prevent injuries caused by accidents. In India, there is a significant increase in death due to not wearing a seatbelt. As per law, the driver and the person seated in the front seat must always wear a seat belt. Under the amended Motor Vehicles Act, those who will be caught violating the law need to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000.
What Are the Traffic Road Signs?
Drivers should have proper knowledge of the traffic signs. Traffic signs are essential, and these will guide the drivers in navigating the road. In India, Traffic signs are divided into three categories, namely, the mandatory traffic signs, cautionary traffic signs, and the traffic signs that provide information.
- Mandatory traffic signs - As the name suggests, these are the mandatory traffic signs you need to follow to ensure a smooth and safe drive. As indicated in India’s Roadways and the Transport department, violation of any traffic signs may be punishable by law. Some examples of these signs are “Give Way,” “ No Entry,” and “Stop.”
- Cautionary traffic signs - the primary function of these signs is to warn the driver of the potential danger on the road ahead. Drivers must take necessary precautions while driving. The Roadways and Transport added 40 cautionary traffic signs such as “Right Hand Curve,” “Narrow Road Ahead,” and “Slippery Road.”
- Traffic Signs that give information - These traffic signs provide relevant information to the driver to help them understand more about the place. Some of the examples are “Public Telephone,” “Hospital,” and “Eating Place.”
It is essential to know these traffic signs to prevent accidents and dangers and any undesirable risks posed on every road. Traffic signs will also help the drivers to have easier navigation in routes.
What Are the Hand Signals While Driving in India?
Although vehicles have built-in indicators to signal road users, drivers can also use hand signals to tell hand signals while driving in India. These are some of the hand signals you can use:
- Hand signal for right turn - extend your left arm out the driver's window with your elbow bent and your hand pointing to the sky
- Hand signal for left turn - Extend your left arm straight out the window with your palm facing forward
- Hand signal to stop - Extend your left arm out the driver's window with your palm facing rear war
What Is the Right of Way in India?
In steep roads and mountain roads, the right of way is on the vehicle going uphill, especially when the width of the road is not sufficient for vehicles to pass each other together. The car going downhill should stop on one side of the road to let the vehicle going uphill to go and pass the road. In some cities, a cow also rules the road since its protected status gives them the right of way.
What Is the Legal Driving Age in India?
The minimum driving age in India is 16 years old for motorcycles and must have a parent or guardian’s consent. On the other side, 18 years old is the minimum driving age in India for other vehicles. If you are 18, you already meet the required age to get a driving license in India. You are not allowed to drive if you do not meet the minimum driving age in India. You also need to be aware of the traffic, road rules, and driving rules to be qualified.
Is There a Law About Overtaking in India?
Overtaking from the left is the most common traffic violation in India. You must take note that all vehicles shall be overtaken only from the right side of the road. No vehicle shall overtake if it will impede the incoming traffic and is prohibited by a mandatory sign. If you are in a narrow ditch or on a road where there are “School Zone” and “Hospital Zone” signs, you can’t overtake, too.
What Side of the Road Do You Need to Drive in India?
India is a former British colony, and just like Britain, drivers need to drive on the left side of the road. When you need to turn onto a road on the left side, you need to stay close to the left side of the road. Do not cut across lanes such as from the left side going to the right side of the road.
Are Night Vision Glasses Advisable for Car Driving in India?
If you want to get a pair of glasses you can use while driving in India at night, you must find the appropriate eyewear product to protect you from the glare of oncoming vehicles and also the dust particles. You must take note that night vision glasses are not car driving glasses you can use in India. Night vision glasses use thermal imaging technology, which is meant for combat soldiers. What you need is a pair of yellow-tinted glasses from an optical store.
You must follow these driving rules in India to maintain peace and order on the roads. Neglecting these driving rules may result in damage, loss, accidents, or any unforeseen events. You must not ignore the importance of the traffic signs and the driving rules, and it should be given paramount importance to other things to secure a safe drive. Always be a responsible driver. It is vital to secure your life and the life of others.
Driving Etiquette in India
There is freedom in getting to your chosen destinations in your own time. But along the way, you may encounter some difficulties and travel delays because of unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes, the situation is out of your control, and there are also times that you just need to follow road rules and protocols in India.
What if a Car Breaks Down?
Your first car breakdown in an unfamiliar place may be scary. But it is essential to stay calm and remember the safety tips when this happens. If your car breaks down out of nowhere, turn on your hazard light so that other drivers will know that there is something wrong. Engage the emergency brake and put your car on the side of the road to avoid causing traffic. Call for help and road assistance. Stay on with your vehicle until the help arrives.
Everyone’s experience differs from one another. It can depend on where you are, the time of the day, what type of car you are driving, and the problem you encounter at the moment of the car breakdown. Cars are still machines that are prone to malfunction at a given point. But car breakdown can be prevented if right before you rent a car, you already checked the quality of the vehicle. It can be a harrowing experience if this happens but stay calm and be safe.
What if a Traffic Policeman Stops You?
It might be confusing for you if a traffic police officer stops you even if you haven’t done anything wrong. If that’s the case, stay calm, polite, and respectful when the traffic policeman talks to you. The first thing you need to do is present your legal documents for identification. The only thing you are required to present is your driving permit. You have nothing to worry about if you did not violate anything as they are just doing their job.
On the other hand, if the traffic policeman found that you have violated any driving and road rules, know that you have rights when this happens. You have the right to ask the reason for stopping you and the right to ask for the identification of the traffic officer. You have the right to ask for a receipt if the traffic policeman gets your driving license. The officer cannot force you out of the vehicle, too, and the traffic police can’t tow the car if you are still inside.
What if You Ask for Driving Directions?
Do you still remember the thrill and excitement of rolling down the window of your car and asking the locals for driving directions? With technological advancement, there have been real-time maps like google maps and Waze that you can resort to if you are lost. These advancements can give you traffic situations, alerts, and the estimated time for arrival. India can be tricky because there’s no map culture, and there are no structures addresses in place.
If you ask for driving directions in India, you’ll notice that the locals lead you to landmarks instead of road names because not all roads have names. India is a landmark-based society since it has a complex urban ecosystem. There is also a lack of signboards that will let you know where you are located. If you are asking for directions in the English language, take note of the landmarks given by the locals so that you can go right to the place.
What if There Are Checkpoints in India?
In India, the provincial police operate the checkpoints for security purposes. There are checkpoints in Punjab and other neighboring states such as Rajasthan, Delhi, and Haryana. Drivers are not required to stop at these checkpoints unless they are flagged down by the policemen conducting the checkpoint. If you are required to stop, you can present your legal documents for identification, and you can pass after it.
Driving Situations and Conditions in India
The driving conditions and situation in India can vary depending on the cities that are subject to immense traffic congestion. Road conditions are in slightly poor condition, and you need to watch out for hazards, bumps and potholes, and even animals on the road. Driving in India is not as easy as in other countries due to the bad roads, drivers who don’t follow road rules, and lack of road sense.
What Are the World Statistics on Driving Conditions in India?
In 2018, India was the top rank in the number of road accident deaths among the 199 countries included in World Road Statistics. In the WHO Report on Road Safety, India accounts for almost 11% of the road accident deaths in the world. The leading cause of road accidents is human errors such as violating traffic rules, non-use of safety devices, and road environment.
What Are the Local Statistics on Driving Conditions in India?
In the 2019 report of India’s National Records Bureau (NCRB), there were a total of 437,396 road accidents recorded across the country last year, resulting in the death of 154,732 people and injuries to another 439,262 people. Over-speeding is the top cause of road accidents. Other causes that contributed to road accidents are road crashes, negligent human conduct, careless driving, overtaking, and forces of nature.
Also, throughout 2019, there is 71% average road congestion. What should have been a 30-minute trip during the evening rush hour becomes an hour and five-minute trip. In the 2019 TomTom’s Traffic Index, Mumbai and Bengaluru in India are among the top 5 cities in countries with the worst traffic.
How Frequent Are Vehicle Accidents in India?
India has the busiest roads in the world. Last year, there were almost three million new car registrations in the country. Due to the lockdown brought by the global pandemic, there were 20,300 fewer road accidents this 2020 on Indian roads. Before the lockdown, the number of road accidents significantly fell too. Road safety experts say that this is due to the amended Motor Vehicle Act with a high penalty and the lockdown.
In the past years, India had the highest number of road deaths in the world, according to the 2016 report of the International Road Federation. Still, the government is committed to reducing road fatalities and accidents by 50% in 2020. Back in 2015, the World Health Organization's Global Safety Report ranked India low for road safety. Almost half of the road accident deaths come from two-wheeler cars, cycles, or pedestrians.
What Are the Common Vehicles Used in India?
In a country with the third-largest road network in the world, India was the fourth-largest car manufacturer in the world in 2019. Two-wheel vehicles form the majority of cars on Indian roads. Four-wheel vehicles such as cars and SUVs are also common vehicles used in the country. In cities, the common public transport is bus services. Three-wheel vehicles, also are known as auto-rickshaws in India, are also used for commercial purposes.
What Is the Road Situation in India?
You should exercise extreme caution when driving in India. It is also hazardous to travel and drive at night. Within and outside the busiest and major cities, roads are frequently congested, especially during rush hours. So expect heavy traffic in the tourist and urban areas. Roads and highways are poorly maintained and sometimes so narrow. If you get involved in a road accident, remember the important numbers to call to ask for help.
The emergency numbers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata are as follows:
- Police - 100
- Fire Brigade - 101
- Ambulance - 102
Are Indian Safe Drivers?
Driving conditions in India are chaotic, and most locals do not have any regard for road and driving rules. It is also common for drivers to drive on the wrong side of the road. The locals drive fast and recklessly, without having consideration for the driving rules. So when you drive around the places in India, be sure to maintain a safe speed and follow the road rules to enjoy going back and forth to the destinations you wish to go to.
Driving in India is extremely challenging. It is not for the faint-hearted since the cities and towns have disorderly traffic and have bumpy and chaotic roads. If you are driving in India, be sure that you follow all the driving and road rules, and you drive safely and cautiously to avoid accidents. You must also remember that you need your local driving license and your International Driver’s License to drive around the places in India.
Things to Do in India
India is a crossroads of the past and present history and culture. Once you travel to India, it will leave a deep mark in your heart and mind to the point that you may really wish to go back again or even stay here for good. Check out what are the things you can do in a country full of beauty and wonders.
How Can I Apply for Residency in India?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if India left a deep mark in your heart that you wanted to stay for good. If you wish to apply for a permanent residency in India, you have two options: Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) or Persons of Indian origin (PIO). The OCI is for those who have given up their Indian citizenship but still want to retain links from the country, while PIO is for all those of Indian origin who are holders of a passport of another country.
You can also acquire citizenship by naturalization if you have lived in India for 11 of the last 14 years before your application or if you have lived for 12 months before the date of your application. You must also take note that India does not permit dual citizenship.
Can I Drive as a Tourist in India?
You can drive in India as long as you have your legal documents with you, such as your International Driving License Permit and local driving license if you are staying for less than a year. On the other hand, you need to get an Indian Driving License if you are planning to stay for more than one year in India.
Can I Apply as a Driver in India?
If you are not an Indian citizen and you don’t know how to get a driving license in India, there is a procedure to get one. You can apply for an International Driving License if you want to reside for less than one year in India. But if you want to stay in India for a more extended period, you need to apply for an Indian Driving License.
Here is the set of procedures you need to follow if you’ll be staying for more than a year:
- Visit the nearest RTO office in your area of residence.
- Complete the registration form.
- Submit all the documents required such as Vehicles Registration Certificate book, Tax Certificate, Insurance paper, and Pollution test certificate.
- Know what type of vehicles you are applying for, such as Licence for a two-wheeler, Licence for Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) like passenger cars, or Licence for Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMV) like a truck or bus.
- Pass the driving test.
Can I Work as a Travel Guide in India?
Suppose you have traveled to many places in India, and you already acquired in-depth knowledge about its history, culture, religion, and arts. In that case, you can apply to become a travel guide in India. It can be exciting, but you must undergo the process and preparation. You should get a certificate and diploma courses and pass the exam. Training sessions are conducted under the guidance of professors from the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management.
What Is the Eligibility to Apply for a Tourist Guide Course?
The minimum age for the course is at least 20 years old. Graduate in any discipline is accepted. You must also be fluent in English. A written test comprises of:
- Knowledge of tourist destinations, sites, and monuments
- General Knowledge
Take note that it is illegal to practice as a travel guide without a license. And that travel guide licenses are given out to people according to the state for regions. So, you can only practice your profession in your chosen region of expertise. Roaming around different places is truly thrilling as you can interact with other groups, with diverse people, and you’ll know more about the culture and tradition in India.
The Top Road Trip Destinations in India
A road trip in India is the best way to enjoy the views and landscape and appreciate the culture and history of every place. Whether you are planning on a solo trip or traveling together with your family, road trips will help you relax and be free. You must use your best car for long-distance driving in India to enjoy the long drives. Enjoy your ride!
The capital of Rajasthan is the Pink City of Jaipur. You can find here the majestic and complex Amber Fort, set on a hillside overlooking a lake. The grandiose citadel, built in 1592, is located just outside the city. It is a former palace but is now a tourist attraction with its stunning gardens and courtyards. Jaipur forms one corner of the Golden Triangle, which is a gateway to other places in Rajasthan.
This place is known for its famous, iconic, and impressive Taj Mahal. Located on the south bank of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal draws over a million tourists a year. Emperor Shah Jahan built it as an extravagant memorial to his wife. The mausoleum’s porcelain white marble signifies romance and adventure. A visit to this beautiful architectural wonder should be on every traveler’s list. You can peer over the wall of the ancient Mughal-era Agra Fort and see a glimpse of the beautiful and majestic Taj Mahal.
Set in the northern part of India is the capital city of Delhi. It is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. You must not forget to visit the top site in Delhi, the Red Fort made from sandstone and built back in the 17th century. There are many religious places and museums around the city that you should not miss out on.
Udaipur, known as the city of lakes, is situated on the edge of Rajasthan’s desert. You can find the Lake Palace. The city is protected by lush hills. Explore old temples. Walk in the winding streets in this corner of India. Go back into some ancient past and reminisce when you are in its ancient bazaars.
Located in northernmost India is this mountainous destination. This region has a vast land area, but the population is low, so if you want to take comfort in not a crowded place, this is for you. The pristine scenery is a major attraction here. You can go to the town of Leh, which is the home to the 17th-century palace of King Ladakh, and it is on a high elevation. You may wish to explore many Buddhist temples and monasteries located in the town.
On the western coast of India, you may find Goa, a former colony of Portugal. It blends colonial influences with the Indian culture. Goa is famous because of its stunning beaches. One of the beautiful beaches in Anjuna Beach is also a fantastic place to walk to Chapora Fort. You will definitely admire the sandy beach and the warmth of the locals.
Ellora and Ajanta Caves
In Maharashtra state, you can find the Ellora and Ajanta Caves. At Ellora, you can explore the intricate shrines carved from rocky landscapes. These 34 cave shrines come from three distinct religions, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. These cave shrines are dated up to 1,500 years old. Two hours away is Ajanta cave, which is home to 29 cave shrines. The murals and paintings reflect Buddhism.
Varanasi is a place of great religious importance. It may seem a little strange to foreign travelers, but this holy city sits on the diving Ganges River, a sacred place for pilgrimage. Pilgrims wash with water coming from the Ganges River. Indeed, a visit to Varanasi is contemplative, reflective, and can make you understand India’s religious, cultural, and spiritual practices.
The southwestern state of India, known as Kerala, is the place to see the tropical beauty and amazing sights. It is known for its famous backwaters, temple festivals, and elegant houseboats. Do not miss out on the pristine and lush green scenery of the Thekkady Tiger preserve. At the heart of Kerala is the city of Kochi, where you can see the local fishing industry.
Punjabi City of Amritsar
Amritsar lies on the border of Pakistan, which is home to the holiest Sikh sites. At the heart of the city, you’ll find the Golden temple, a place for reflection and inspiration. You can go to the Golden temple regardless of your religion, but you need to show your respect by covering your head and removing your shoes. The surrounding area is jam-packed with people and stores. Be sure to get traditional goods, hand-embroidered fabrics, and ornate shoes.
As a country bordered by seven different countries and with more than 20 official languages, India is truly one of the world’s diverse countries. You surely have a lot of places to go to witness the beauty India has to offer. Be sure to have your International Driver’s Permit so that you can rent a car and explore the wonders of India.