How to tackle Hyderabad Traffic? – Part I

Now that I have 4 + years of driving experience in Hyderabad (this part sounds like I’m writing my resume in driving skills), I figured I should share my golden knowledge base with everyone. Driving in Hyderabad can be a horrendous experience if you are new to the city and not aware of how traffic works here. Every city I feel has what I call a “Traffic Pattern” which tells us how the people in that city drive, which rules they break, which rules they don’t, how nice/rude they are to you, what you need to watch out for when driving, even walking for that matter. Many people who just arrive in Hyderabad would obviously not be aware of this and this pattern scares the hell out of them ( I have a couple of friends and colleagues who always ask me, How do I manage to drive a 4-wheeler for 50 + KMs everyday). My answer to them is always “I know the traffic pattern” 🙂 . Anyways no more chitter chatter from me and let me start with the real content now. Hope all the people visiting Hyderabad find this information useful and if not, at least amusing:). Not sure if people in other cities have similar “driving skills”, anyways here goes.

Hyderabad, INDIA Traffic
Hyderabad, INDIA Traffic


Opinion Alert! This is strictly a 4-wheeler driver’s perspective, so if you are not one or if you never drove in your life, you might feel offended by some content below.

  1. Right side slow drivers – These people are the strict traffic rules followers, always on the right side, so much so that they don’t even give you a side even after continuous honking. To add to their strict adhering of rules, they follow a snail pace, with two wheelers driving at 10-20 KMs per hour, and 4 wheelers 10-30 KMs per hour even with the roads wide clear. Any amount of honking from you, you will end up having sarcastic or acidic gaze like “who the hell are you to honk at me”.
    How can we avoid this?
    Guys guys, I know it’s your birth right to drive on right side but please please give some place so we can pass when you hear a honking behind you. It’s not just your birth right but its your responsibility too. Well for exceptions, one who drives on the right side so he/she can take the next right turn, you hear a honk, please flash your right signal so we know you are about to take a turn.
  2. Left side over takers – These people are the result of the above one. You will see these guys everywhere be it a small lane or a freeway. And how did this pattern evolve? These are guys who in the past, tried honking at the guy in front of them so they can drive forward, and weren’t allowed to pass, that’s how they end up over taking you from left. You might have encounters where you have heard no honking and see a car/bike zoom past you from the left side. These poor guys have tried several times in their past, honking, waiting for their turn so much so that now they don’t have any patience to honk at you. They are prejudiced that you will NEVER EVER give them place to move ahead. But of course there will always be rule breakers, so always always expect someone to overtake you from left so you don’t end up feeling annoyed or losing your patience.
  3. High beamers – whoa! I would say the No. 1 problem we face while driving in the night. These people use high beam head lights ALL THE TIME. For guys who don’t know what the problem with this is, if you have high beam on, the vehicles coming in opposite direction will have tough time driving as their vision is blurred. This could lead to accidents and crashes. I myself have got near hits with other four wheelers and two wheelers as well.
    How can we avoid this?
    This is very simple to avoid. All one has to do is use low beam headlights. Mainly when you are going through narrow lanes where you have no road dividers. The majority of night casualties can be avoided by doing so.
  4. The Chuha (mouse) – aha! The chuha, I got this from one of my colleagues at work, who described the 3 wheeler autos as the chuha’s. You will know what I mean when you see one. They manage to quickly and briskly move like a chuha through the smallest space available, narrowest corner available and at the maximum speed possible. Autos in Hyderabad would remind you of Jerry from Tom & Jerry with only one difference. There is no Tom to eat them and yet they hurry forward like their life is in danger. Unfortunately while doing so they really put other people’s life in danger. They will scare the hell out of you, whether you are inside them or outside next to them in your own vehicle or when you are crossing the street. They will scare the HELL out of you. To add to that they are one of the main culprits for air pollution and noise pollution in Hyderabad as well.
    How can we avoid this?
    I don’t have an answer. Tell them to drive slowly and carefully maybe. Wonder if they will listen. I would rather say let’s be more vigilant and take care of ourselves from them rather than relying on them to follow rules.
  5. Road Jammers – These guys just jam the roads from all directions. They reach a junction, and without logic, whether there is space to get out of that junction or not, they just move ahead to the junction center from all directions causing an apparent deadlock where it will take hours to get out of. If they could let other people move ahead just for few seconds, they can end up saving hours of their and other’s time. What is more irritating is that the most educated lot end up doing this as well. The huge junction traffic near the software hub of Hyderabad, Hi-tech city is the best example. This makes you wonder what happened to all the knowledge and manners that one has gained over the years.The other irritating part is when people block the left lane. I remember seeing initiatives like “free the left lane” being taken up in many places of Hyderabad and yet the habit and attitude of most people remain the same. And ya most of the times, the 4-wheeler’s are guilty of this 🙂
    How can we avoid this?
    Simple, next time you reach a junction where there is lot of traffic, make sure you have enough place to reach the other side of the road. And if you don’t, no matter how many honks you hear from behind, please don’t move forward. You might think that if you go ahead and block the road, others might let you pass, no sir, they won’t. So let some people in other directions go ahead, and you will be happy to see that, the others will follow suit and will let you pass. And I am suggesting this from my own personal experience. This is from the age old saying – be nice to people and they will be nice to you :). And next time you reach a junction, make sure you are not blocking the left side so people can freely take the left turn.
  6. Pedestrians – You would have thought pedestrians would be scared of vehicles but no not in Hyderabad. They will walk on the road, cross the road so casually as if you did not exist. Your numerous honks will reach deaf ears as they continue toddling along the roads like it was their own house and they were taking a morning walk. Be extremely careful of the pedestrians who cross the road when you have a green signal.
    How can we avoid this?
    Recollect the simple steps that we learnt when we were kids. While crossing the road, make sure you look left, then right, and then left and then cross the road. While walking, make sure you are not blocking the roads; I understand we have no footpaths in Hyderabad in most places, but that doesn’t give us right to walk on the road and block traffic.
  7. Traffic light breakers – These guys need no introduction, they break the rules and drive forward even when they have a red signal. All you can do is be cautious and look from all sides while driving. Also be very watchful during early hours before 9 AM, and late hours after 9 or 10 PM, majority of the people will not follow the traffic lights during this time.
    How can we avoid this?
    Well for starters, don’t break rules. I know it’s easier said than done but we can always try. And be very careful even when you have a green signal, because someone else might be breaking the signal and you will end up in collision.

Here are the couple of videos which shows the traffic conditions in Hyderabad, INDIA:

Click here for more videos on Hyderabad Traffic

Whew! That was a lot of knowledge to share and yet this is just half of what I have in mind. I will soon write the next part of this blog, and until then please try to follow what I have said, and it pays a lot to be extremely careful, vigilant, attentive, cautious and observant in all directions when you are driving in Hyderabad. Believe me this is the best way to drive in Hyderabad. Please do share your driving experiences meanwhile, be it a different perspective of what I have mentioned above, or if you want to vent your anger. So until the next time, take care and drive safe.