01/13/2014 – 193 days/18275 miles

Of the many unorganized traffic situations I’ve found myself in in India, I think the railroad crossings confuse me the most. When the barriers are down, I’m used to all the vehicles staying in their lane and forming a nice orderly line. In India, cars and motorcycles (and occasionally, buses) quickly fill the empty lane, meant for oncoming traffic. Shortly after both lanes are packed up against the barrier to the tracks, vehicles spill over onto the shoulders of the road, and if the landscape allows, sometimes they’ll spread out past the shoulders. Once the train has passed and everyone is free to continue on their way, you have an instant and unnecessary traffic jam on your hands. Motorcycles end up making their way through the oncoming clump of traffic first, usually by bypassing far off the road to the left side. As far as the cars, buses and trucks, I’m gone before they work things out, and I’m glad I don’t have to be present to experience the frustration.
Here’s a particularly mild example of the situation.

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