Pakistan is the 6th largest country with respect to population with a large driving population most of which are drivers straight out of the Fast and the Furious movies. Of course, their reckless driving was restricted only to illegal street races or wild chases. Pakistanis, however, seem to be “street racing” 24/7. Not so long ago, Karachi was “crowned” as the most dangerous place to drive. Driving in Pakistan requires every ounce of your “patience” and concentration.
The driving conditions in Pakistan are hilarious as well as tragic. It is said that if you can survive driving and riding in Pakistan, you can drive and ride anywhere. So here are some reasons why driving in Pakistan is so hard.
- Blinkers or indicators are useless. Seriously, if you give an indicator, the one behind you will most likely overtake from the exact same side. Pakistani drivers are too “busy” to notice any indicator and try to just move up the traffic. It does result in many accidents and even deaths but people just don’t get it. Most of the people don’t even use blinkers so there is no predicting where they might go the next second. They might be at one end of the road and be taking the turn on the other end the very next moment.
- Rickshaws and QingQis. These are the most dangerous species of vehicles and drivers that infest the roads of Pakistan. They drive like they own the roads. It is their self-claimed, fundamental and undisputed right to swerve anywhere on the road and to be allowed passage even on the busiest of roads. These predators mostly target careful drivers. If anyone makes them slow down even from 50 kmph to 49 kmph, they feel it a threat to their reign of the roads and try to overtake from every angle imaginable. In case of a biker, they don’t even try to slow down. Mostly, they hit and run or sometimes scream while passing by if they get a chance to overtake.
- Pedestrians. Yes. Pedestrians and jay-walkers are some of the worst challenges you can encounter while driving. They come out of nowhere onto the roads and expect you to stop in a split-second to ensure their safe passage. If they ever get hit, you will be blamed. Sometimes, just as the traffic light turns green, they take it as a personal challenge to run across the road to the other side.
- People at traffic lights. Green light, green light what do you say? I say, I say go right away. But guys give us a millisecond at least to move. The light hasn’t even become green that we start to hear horns from behind. But even faster are those people who try to break the red light before any vehicle from the green lane comes in their path. Especially the rickshaw drivers tend to break the red lights.
- You secretly want to run over motorbike drivers – all of them. Just kidding (not really). Motorcycle drivers are nimble. They are quick. And they squeeze into areas that you never thought could ever be squeezed by a motorcycle. Sometimes through parked cars, and through fast-moving cars too. With families of four riding behind them. No helmets. It is pure genius.
- A mod covering half the road is normal. Maybe they are witnesses. Maybe they will call the police or an ambulance. Nope. They are there to see a spectacle, block traffic, and hey, a fight may even break out. What an exciting and eventful day for everyone involved. Even sometimes the people actually concerned are talking it over and someone from the mob starts a full-scale fight.
- Extremely bright lights or none at all. Hey, douchebag! Do you not see the streetlights on? Hey douchebag number two, I already get that you want me to get out of this lane because you are tailing me with your ridiculously bright lights. The no-light drivers are truly out of this world. They won’t even turn them on if you tell them and shout back at you.
- Mobile phone users. If you see any car driving unbelievably slow and between two lanes, they are most likely smiling or scowling at their cell phones. I have even seen such professionals who can text while driving on a main road in heavy traffic.
- 70% of the roads are worn away/ pitted. And it is like driving through a crash course to get through them safely.
Pakistan is a colorful place on the road, for a lack of better word.