Driving in India

The driving system in India is a kind of organised chaos. It seems astounding that anyone ever gets to their destination in one piece, but, be assured, it all works. At first, the roads can seem a bit hair-raising. However, there is a method to the madness.

At Rajasthan Tours, we have our very own experienced drivers who are extremely skilled on the road. Many of these drivers have worked for us for more than 30 years. They are reliable and knowledgeable with full clean driving licenses and know the roads inside out. That said, India is vast and sign-posts (particularly in remote areas) are rare so it is not unusual for drivers to ask for directions along the way. Please do not be alarmed if your driver rolls down the window or gets out of the car to ask for directions. This is common practice in India and not a reflection of your driver. He is doing so to ensure you reach your destination as swiftly as possible.

In India, we drive on the left-hand side of the road. However, if there is an empty stretch of road on the right, your driver may use this lane. He would then return to the left lane in plenty of time should there be any oncoming traffic.

You will hear lots of honking on the roads in India. Don’t be shocked. It is not a sign of aggression or road rage. In fact, Indian drivers are very patient. It’s just alerting other cars to the fact that you are there. When overtaking, people tend to honk rather than use their mirrors (although they do, of course, use their mirrors, too). Your driver will try to minimize his honking as much as possible but please note that it is part of the driving culture in the subcontinent.

The best part about being driven in India is the scenes of daily life you will pass on your journey. At any time, you can ask your driver to stop should you want to take a picture, stretch your legs, have a wander, use the bathroom or stop for a refreshment.

All our vehicles are meticulously maintained and fitted with standard safety features.

What type of car will you be providing?

For your tailor-made tour of India, we recommend our most popular vehicle, the Toyota Innova. It’s incredibly spacious, with plenty of room for two adults, their chauffeur, and their luggage.

Our Innovas are all well-maintained and less than three years old. They come with all the safety features one would expect: ventilated brakes, ABS, airbags, and, of course, fitted seatbelts. In addition, our drivers carry a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit in the vehicle at all times.

The car is air-conditioned in both the front and back, so guests can control the blower speed and direction.

The drives through Rajasthan can be long (on average about five hours per journey). The Innova ensures you’ll be both comfortable and safe on the road. We find that driving is the smoothest and quickest way of traveling in the region. Furthermore, driving allows you to set off when you like rather than being restricted to flight or train timetables. We can also stop the car en-route to visit places of interest or take a refreshment break.

For parties of four or more adults, we recommend our spacious mini-coach – the Tempo Traveller. This vehicle is so comfortably-sized that you can just about stand up in it, so it’s great for stretching your legs on longer journeys. There’s a huge boot at the back of the coach for storing luggage. For bigger groups, we also have a 35- and a 40-seater Volvo coach which both come with equal comforts.

Do your drivers speak English?

Our drivers have an intermediate understanding of the English language. They can certainly hold a conversation with you, and understand when you want to stop for the bathroom or arrange a time to start sightseeing the next day. Our drivers might sometimes choose the wrong word or be rather too straight-talking. Please try to keep in mind that their vocabulary in English is quite limited and it is highly unlikely that they were being intentionally rude.

Is my driver also my guide?

No. The driver’s role is to transport you safely and comfortably from A to B, as well as keep the vehicle clean and tidy each day. For sightseeing, we have experienced and licenced guides to introduce and show you around each destination. Rather than organizing for one guide to accompany you throughout your trip, we use different local guides in each city to provide a much richer understanding of history and culture. It also allows you to meet a range of friendly and interesting people during your stay in India.

If you’d like to visit India, please do get in touch. We’d be delighted to plan a luxury tailor-made itinerary for you.