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Driving in New Delhi

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in New Delhi.
|-Driving in New Delhi

1. Chaotic Traffic

Driving in New Delhi can be quite chaotic and stressful, especially for newcomers. The traffic is often heavy and the driving style of locals can be aggressive and unpredictable. It’s not uncommon to see vehicles ignoring traffic rules, such as driving in the wrong direction or not stopping at red lights. Therefore, it’s important to be extremely cautious and alert when driving.

2. Car Recommendation

Considering the heavy traffic and narrow lanes in some parts of the city, a small, compact car is recommended for driving in New Delhi. It’s easier to maneuver and park. Automatic cars are also a good choice as they can make driving in stop-and-go traffic less tiring.

3. Parking Difficulty and Cost

Finding parking in New Delhi can be challenging, especially in crowded areas. While there are paid parking lots, they can be quite expensive. It’s advisable to check the parking situation of your destination before you leave. Some residential areas require a parking permit, so make sure to check the local regulations.

4. International Driving Permit

Foreigners can drive in India with an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with their home country’s driving license. The IDP is valid for one year. After that, you will need to get an Indian driving license.

5. Getting an Indian Driving License

To get an Indian driving license, you need to apply through the local Regional Transport Office (RTO). The process involves a written test on traffic rules and signs, and a practical driving test. You will need to provide various documents, including proof of residence, passport, visa, and your home country’s driving license. It’s advisable to check the specific requirements with the local RTO as they can vary.

6. Hiring a Driver

Given the challenging driving conditions, many expats choose to hire a local driver rather than driving themselves. This can be a more stress-free option and local drivers are familiar with the city’s traffic rules and road conditions.

7. Use of GPS and Maps

Using a GPS or map app can be very helpful when driving in New Delhi. It can help you navigate the city’s complex road network and avoid traffic jams. However, be aware that not all roads shown on the map are in good condition or suitable for all types of vehicles.

8. Patience is Key

Patience is key when driving in New Delhi. Traffic jams are common and it can take a long time to reach your destination. It’s important to stay calm and patient, and allow plenty of time for your journey.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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