Basic Rules Of The Road


  • Rules of the road are the general practices and procedures that road users are required to follow. These rules usually apply to all road users, though they are of special importance to motorists and cyclists.
  • These rules govern interactions between vehicles and with pedestrians.Traffic rules describes the principles and general ways in which vehicular traffic behaves.With new vehicles coming out each day and lot of new drivers behind the wheel, it is imperative that we get back to the basics and make sure we are following the rules and making sure everyone else we know is following the rules.

Common markings across the road

Parallel white lines Traffic approaching the lines to give way to oncoming traffic on major road.
Single white line Traffic required to stop close to and before this line.
Parallel white lines with pedestrian signals Designated crossing.
Parallel yellow lines Pedestrian crossing. Turning traffic to give way to pedestrians at crossing.

  • Keep Left:  Drive as close to the left side of the road and allow all traffic going in the opposite direction to pass on the right hand side.
  • Turning Left: When needing to turn onto a road on the left, stay close to the left side of the road and after making the turn continue on the left side of the road. (Do not cut across lanes from the right side of the road and then turn left).
  • Turning Right: When turning onto a road on the right side, first approach the center of the road as safely as possible and then turn to the right and stay on the left side of the road.
  • Passing: If there is a need to pass traffic proceeding in the same direction, always pass/overtake them on their right side. The only exception to this would be the case where a vehicle that is trying to turn to the right (and has indicated their intention to turn right) is occupying the center lane and therefore requires passing them on the left side.
  • Passing Prohibited: Overtaking/passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction is prohibited in the following scenarios:
  1. The passing/overtaking would cause inconvenience or danger to any vehicle proceeding in any direction.
  2. On bends/curves in the road or on hills or there are other obstructions present that prevents a clear view of the road ahead.
  3. If the driver behind the current vehicle has already started to overtake the vehicle
  4. The driver of the vehicle in front has not yet signaled that he may be overtaken.
    Please Note: The solid lines painted on the middle of the road indicate passing is prohibited for as long as the line is a solid line- you will notice them on bridges, curves and where visibility of the road ahead is not present. Overtaking when safe to do so is allowed when the line changes to a dashed line.)
  • When being Passed/Overtaken by another vehicle: The driver should not speed up or do anything to prevent the other vehicle from passing.
  • Intersections:  Drivers should slow down when approaching road corners, intersections, junctions or pedestrian crossings and not enter until sure that such an entry will not endanger the safety of pedestrians or people in other vehicles there.
  • Right of Way: When entering an intersection that is not regulated by a traffic signal or by a traffic policeman and which is an entry onto a main road, the driver of the vehicle is to give right of way to the vehicles already proceeding on that road. In all other cases the driver is to give way to traffic approaching from his right hand side and only then proceed.
  • Emergency Vehicles:  Fire Service Vehicles and Ambulances are to be allowed free passage and drivers of all other vehicles should move their vehicles to the side of the road to do so.
  • Pedestrians: Pedestrians have the right of way at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings.
  • “U” Turns:  “U” turns may be done only whenNot explicitly prohibited by a sign
  1. Only after indicating the turn is being planned either through a hand signal or through the vehicle indicators
  2. After checking the mirrors  to make sure there is no traffic from behind
  3. Checking the road to make sure that there is no other traffic and it is safe to do so.

Common markings along the road

Broken white line Centre line of a two-way road.
Parallel continuous white lines in centre of a two-way road No crossing of lines and no parking at all times on both sides of the road.
Continuous white line in centre of a two-way road No parking at all times on both sides of the road.
Continuous yellow line by the side of the road No parking between 7 am and 7 pm on that side of the road.
Parallel continuous yellow lines by the side of the road No parking at all times on that side of the road.
Broken white lines Lane markings.
Chevron markings For channelling traffic. Do not drive over these areas.
Zig-zag lines by the side of the road Zebra crossing ahead. Motorists should not overtake, wait or park in the vicinity. Pedestrians cannot cross on the zig-zag areas.
Triangular marking Motorists travelling on this road must give way to traffic on major road ahead.
Right turn pockets Motorists waiting to turn right should stay within the pocket until it is clear to complete the turn

  • Required Signals:These are really hand signals are mentioned in point 13 of the rules of the road. Very few people actually know the hand signs and use them.  It is good to learn them and be prepared to use them if you have any issue with your indicator lights or with your brake lights. The hand signs for the following should be followed if the vehicle brake/indicator lights do not work:
  1. When the vehicle is about to slow down
  2. When the vehicle is about to stop
  3. When the vehicle is about to turn to the right side or pass a vehicle on the right
  4. When the vehicle is about to turn to the left
  5. When indicating that it is safe for the vehicle behind to pass
  • Indicators: The signals indicated in regulation #13 can be simplified by the use of mechanical or electrical devices (indicators).
  • Parking: When parking the vehicle make sure that it does not cause any danger, obstruction or inconvenience for other road users.
  • Registration: Loads or goods should not be kept on the vehicle in a manner that obstructs visibility, the headlamps/tail lamps or the registration number of the vehicle. If any obstruction of the registration is done a duplicate is to be kept in a visible spot.
  • One Way Roads: On designated “One Way” roads drive only in the direction indicated on the road signs. Do not drive the vehicle in reverse into a “One way” street.
  • Stop Lines: At road intersections, pedestrian crossings and stop signs make sure that the vehicle is fully behind the stop lines painted on the road. The driver has to drive taking into account this requirement of stopping before the stop line when required by a stop light or sign or by a police officer.
  • Traffic Lights & Signs:  Obey the traffic signal lights , the instructions given by the traffic policemen or by designated/authorized people in charge of regulating traffic
  • Following Distance: Keep sufficient distance behind the vehicle in front to allow distance to stop if the vehicle in front has to stop suddenly.
  • Right of Way on mountain roads/ steep roads: Where the width of the road is not sufficient for vehicles to pass each other safely, the vehicle going downhill has to stop to the side of the road and allow the vehicles going uphill to pass.
  • Obstruction of Control: The driver of the vehicle should not allow a person to sit, stand or place anything that obstructs his control of the vehicle.
  • Passing Pedestrians:  When passing a procession, meeting, troops or police on the march or road repair workmen do not drive faster than 25 kilometers per hour.
  • Tractor & Goods Carriages: Drivers of tractors are not permitted to carry passengers on the tractor. Drivers of good carriages should not allow more persons than listed on the vehicle registration to travel in the cabin or take passengers for hire or reward.
  • Loading: Vehicles should not be loaded in such a way that causes danger to other road users. Load carrying vehicles should not have anything extending outside the vehicle towards the front, rear, sides and should also follow allowed maximum height restrictions.
  • Dangerous Materials: Other than the fuel and lubricant necessary for vehicle operation, no explosive, inflammable or other dangerous substance should be carried on any public transport vehicle.
  • Driving in reverse: The driver should not drive the vehicle in reverse without first making sure that doing so would not cause any danger or inconvenience to any person on the road.
  • Ride smartly – Use your headlight, avoid other drivers’ “blind spots,” don’t make rapid lane changes and be prepared to use your horn so you can be certain other drivers see you. 
  • Ride defensively – Three-fourths of all two-wheeler accidents involve collisions with automobiles. They happen because the driver of the car did not see the two-wheeler. That is why it pays to be aware of what the other vehicle operators are doing – or might do – when you ride. Be extra aware of drivers waiting to turn left across your path at intersections since this is the most frequent problem. 
  • Keep your distance – Don’t ever stop directly behind another vehicle. If you leave enough space, you’ll be able to maneuver around the vehicle in front of you in case an approaching vehicle doesn’t see you and can’t stop in time. 
  • Don’t drink and ride – About half of fatal two-wheeler accidents involve alcohol. That is because alcohol and other drugs impair your ability to make sound judgments. So when you’re drinking, let someone else do the driving. 
  • Helmet – A helmet protects your head, and is the only thing that keeps you from a fatal head injury. It is supposed to break on impact. Only a good quality helmet should be bought. The jaw covered is the safest. 
  • Brakes – Remember to check your brakes everytime you take your bike for a drive. Also remember to do this when you collect it from the garage. In the rainy season water goes into the shoes and brakes may not work – Drive slow. This may also happen at steep slopes -don’t speed up at the slopes. 
  • Air pressure – always remember to check the pressure in the tyres. It is especially important to keep the correct tyre pressure when going on a long drive. This helps you to travel safely on rough terrain. There is also less wear ‘n’ tear for both the tyres and the bike, and it gives more fuel efficiency.

One thought on “Basic Rules Of The Road

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