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Hello Indians, take driving in United States

Anusha Ramesh
The immediate dream of Indians settling down in the United States is buying a house and owning a car. But a challenging part in buying car is learning to drive the vehicle as engaging chauffer is not affordable in USA. Writes Anusha Ramesh.

Indians are living in all 50 states in USA and more are on their way as students, for jobs or as members joining families that are already in the US.

A significant number of Indians are already driving and about to drive on the US roads.

Once arrived, one of the first and foremost requirements is obtaining a valid driving License, which is the most acceptable form of Identity and validity of one’s presence in USA.

The general notion is that if one can drive in India, he or she can drive anywhere in the world.  But sitting in the driver’s seat in a car and starting to drive, newly arrived Indians will realize it is a totally different experience altogether.  Before one drives a car, one should ensure that the car has current registration, is insured and that the driver is insured to drive that car.  Both driver and passengers must wear seat belt.

USA Road

A major difference for Indians is that the US transport system adopts left-hand driving against the right-hand driving practiced in India.  One needs to get accustomed to sitting on the left side of the car and driving on the right side of the road. Taking driving lessons from a registered driving school will greatly help.  The instructors teach and give valuable tips for driving.

Talking to Automotive India News, Ramesh Hariskrishnan, who is from Bangalore and settled down in New Jersey 17 years ago, said, “It was an amazing experience for me when I started driving in the US after arriving from India.  I owned a Fiat car in India and accustomed for right-hand driving. It took some time for me to adjust with left-hand driving.

Ramesh Harikrishnan
Ramesh Harikrishnan is from Bangalore and settled in New Jersey

As an advice to Indians learning driving in the US, Ramesh said they should psychologically fine tune themselves as to follow left-hand driving that may take some time in the beginning.

Ramesh says : Even after learning left-hand driving along with all traffic rules through a driving school and obtaining a valid license, one should practice for atleast 2-3 months in traffic-less roads

Unlike in India one needs to cut down driving aggressively drastically, and be sure to obey all traffic laws. Familiarize yourself with signs, symbols and road markings. Learning and getting used to important aspects like using your side and rear-view mirrors while driving, using daytime headlights at all times, using indicators well before making your turn or switching lanes, checking the traffic next to you and behind you, then turning / switching lanes, driving in your lane and overtaking only from the left, following speed limits strictly, avoiding cell phone distractions, always coming to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs and not speeding through yellow lights and not changing lanes while in an intersection, not drinking and driving will all go a long way in making you a safe and confident driver.

Over 3.5 million South Asians live in the United States
  • Indians comprise the largest segment of the South Asian community, making up over 80% of the total population.
  • Indians comprise of the third largest Asian American ethnic group.
  • The five states with the largest Indian population are California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Illinois.
  • Metropolitan areas with the largest Indian population are New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco-Oakland.

    Source : salt.org

And one should lay off the horn or you could be subject to road rage.  Flashing your headlights substitutes for horn honking in many situations. It’s a driver’s responsibility to watch out for pedestrians, but that’s balanced by the lack of numerous smaller vehicles – cars, two-wheelers, bicycles and oxcarts on the roads.  Unlike in India, pedestrians have the absolute right of way.  Respect should be given to them and their decision to cross or walk across.

Children must be strapped in to child seats which are strapped into the car.  s.  There is a legal limit to the number of passengers any car can carry. All luggage loads must be properly attached and/or contained in carriers and those loads are limited.

Your car must be inspected and declared road safe every two years.  Lights have to work and exhausts are checked and thoroughly inspected for the right condition and these are time bound and mandatory to get done at the Motor Vehicle Commission in every county.

Not adhering to the above will lead to committing traffic violations which will result in getting tickets from cops, having to pay fines and incurring points on one’s license leading to increase in insurance rates.

So just be sure to practice defensive driving, obeying speed limits traffic rules – signs and signals and using common sense.  These are essential for safe driving for yourself and other drivers.Happy Driving!!

About Anusha Ramesh

Anusha Ramesh
Indian origin Anusha Ramesh is living in New Jersey. She loves to write on automobile and its impact related to socio-economic condition. She also loves driving on the US roads.

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