My notes to traffic opponents

My dad refers to drivers coming from the opposite direction as his opponents. I always found it funny, but nowadays that word explains perfectly how I feel not only about the drivers from the opposite direction, but just about anyone else in traffic in Nepal. Driving here is like a large-scale video game and you are trying to beat everyone else, while keeping yourself alive. Most of the time I am seconds away from rolling down my window and yelling at my opponents. I usually keep it together and instead talk to myself in the car trying to figure out what in the world they are doing out there. I’m afraid I am slowly becoming passive-agressive.

If I was brave enough to actually roll down my window, and if I spoke enough Nepali to communicate, this is what I would be saying to my traffic opponents:

1. Why? Please tell me, why?

2. Easy there, tiger. What’s the rush? I am sure you don’t actually need to be anywhere.

3. Why are you honking? Can you see a huge line of cars in front of me? Yup, that’s traffic jam, and your honking will not make it move. If you wanna go in the front, buy yourself a helicopter.

4. You do realize you just made things a million times worse by cutting in front of me on your tractor, don’t you?

5. If I stop for you at the zebra crossing, dear pedestrian opponent, I better see some hustle there. You’re not in a park, so pick up your pace. The guy in the bus behind me is about to run me over.

6. No, there is not enough room for your motorcycle to squeeze through, so just stay in line, like all normal people do.

7. That white line in the middle of the road divides two lanes. You are supposed to choose a lane, not drive in the middle. The line is not your guide, and the road is not a runway.

8. Overtaking me on your motorbike, coming right in front of me and then slowing down to turtle speed is plain dangerous. Please understand it.

9. Would you please stop pushing me off the road?

10. Oh, you’re making a turn right there? OK. If only there was a way for you to show me your intention beforehand…oh wait…

What in the world is going on here? The question I most often ask myself in traffic...

What in the world is going on here? The question I most often ask myself in traffic…

13 thoughts on “My notes to traffic opponents

    • I do yell at them, in the comfort of my own vehicle. I know that doing so out in the public would only cause confusion since they wouldn’t understand half the things I would say. That would take the fun out of it 🙂

  1. Even though I do not drive, I can understand your frustration…few weeks back my husband yelled and shouted at the micro bus driver and didn’t let him pass until he acknowledged that he did the wrong thing by trying to overtake us when a small accident had happened in the front. Before this I had never seen this aggressive side of my husband, I was stunned by what he was verbally capable of.

    And there is a friend of mine who recently told me that she learned all the abuse words in Nepali just to shout at the drivers :P. So the traffic scene here is pretty worse.

  2. You are so brave to even drive in Kathmandu. I refuse to do so but then if you live there, it is much easier to be independent. I understand each and every point and I really think no one in Kathmandu is so busy to do all the wrong things. Take care while driving.

  3. It just so happens that I a currently in your part of the world, and I can understand your frustration. I am fortunate enough to be spending some time in beautiful Bhaktapur, but I ventured to Boudhinath on the back of a motorbike yesterday, and I must say that I am not eager to be anywhere near Kathmandu during the rest of my stay, as the traffic is completely insane. You certainly are very brave to drive in all this chaos.

    • Thanks, and it’s lovely to hear you are around! To be honest, i would be so much more scared on a bike here than i am in the car. So i don’t blame you for not attempting it the second time 🙂

  4. I could never drive here, so I admire you for that! And what you would shout at them is a lot cleaner than what I want to scream from the back seat. Perhaps you cleaned it up?!! ;o)

      • Have you noticed there seems to be a rule with motorbikes that you must never – ever – go so slow that you have to put your feet down…even if it means driving on the other side of the road/pavement/anywhere? Even in parking lots. Once you turn the key you must keep going whatever.

  5. Oh man, I had to laugh reading this as I feel SO many of the same feelings while driving in Korea. I fantasize about being able to speak the language to address some of the insanity that goes on. Except, I will admit that since my husband and I ride scooters, and we do attempt those annoying squeeze through maneuvers – ONLY when traffic is at a stand still though, and I will say that Korean drivers often encourage us to go for it, so we often do. 🙂
    This inspires me to do a post on driving in Korea – it truly is one of the more strange aspects of living abroad. Driving is just a totally different beast everywhere you go.
    Awesome post ~ loved it!
    ~ Andrea ❤

    • Thanks! And, oh man, i would’ve never thought Korean traffic is as crazy! They seem so organized. Talk about prejudice, huh! I’m looking to your post about it!

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