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10 Rules That Must Be Followed While Driving on Indian Roads

By Vikas Chandra Das
04 August 2022, 10:37 AM

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is important legislation that regulates all aspects of road transport vehicles and outlines the traffic regulations to be followed, the rules governing vehicle insurance, the procedure for registration of motor vehicles, means of issuing controlling permits, and levy of penalties. The following rules have their origin in the Motor Vehicles Act and are simplified just for your understanding!

What are the 10 Rules that Must be Followed While Driving on Indian Roads?

Heavily congested roads and unruly drivers are a deadly combination, making Indian roads one of the most perilous places to be on earth. So, what are the rules that one must follow without fail to ensure their safety on these roads?

Here is a list of the 10 most important rules that one must keep in mind – the first five deal with the kind of documents that one must carry at all times and the remaining five deal with the traffic rules that one must meticulously follow.

1. Valid driving license

A valid driving license is a must for one to drive legally on the roads of India. The driving license can be obtained from an RTO after the successful completion of a driving test.

2. Vehicle registration with a fitness test

As per the rules of The Motor Vehicles Act,1988, registration of the vehicle is considered valid only if the motor vehicle has a proper and effective vehicle fitness certificate. A fitness test is needed to check the condition or status of the car and to monitor the pollution released from the vehicle.

3. Valid third party car insurance policy

Insurance papers are a must-have for it shows compliance with the mandate of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It is important that the policy must be valid at that time and even a photocopy of the same will suffice. The third-party insurance entitles the owner to drive legally on the roads of India. Else, you have to pay a heavy fine of INR 2,000 for the first offense or might have to face imprisonment of 3 months. Just like what happened with Aditya when he got caught with an expired car insurance policy hence had to face legal complications for the same. His slight negligence led him to many troubles which could be avoided if he had timely renewed his car insurance policy.  

4. PUC certificate is a must

An emission certificate is essential to prove that the vehicle is environmentally friendly and is compliant with all the environmental norms. If you do not have a valid PUC certificate, it can be easily obtained at any computerized facility that is authorized to issue the certificate, such as your nearest petrol bunk or workshop, before you head out with your car.

5. Personal Accident Cover for Owner-driver

A personal accident cover is designed to protect the insured and the vehicle from damages and losses caused due to unforeseen, unfortunate circumstances. Having a PA Cover is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, as it allows the insured to seek compensation for accidental death, bodily injuries, or permanent/temporary disability hence covers medical expenses and other allied expenses. The primary claimant in this policy is the first-party.

6. Wear your seatbelts

This is a mandate under law, yet it is openly and brazenly violated. Do not break this rule as it protects the seat belt wearer from getting injured in a car accident or at least reduces the impact of the accident. The same applies to helmets in the case of two-wheelers.

7. No Honking in silence zone

Under the existing Noise Pollution and Motor Vehicle Rules, certain areas are demarcated as Silence Zone or No Honking Zones. These are usually notified by the State Government and honking in these areas will result in a penalty being imposed on the offender. Avoid violating these rules.

8. Follow traffic rules

Traffic rules are in place for a reason – they are well-thought, carefully compiled safeguards that will protect an individual from the perils of driving on the road. Follow them meticulously and do your part in ensuring that others follow them too. Any negligence, ignorance, or arrogance is not a sufficient excuse for you to disregard the traffic rules.

Simple rules like stopping when there is a red signal, following the one-way rule on specific roads, following lane discipline, not overtaking from the wrong side, respecting the zebra crossing, etc. can go a long way in ensuring that the road becomes safer place to drive on.

These rules are not meant to be followed only at times you are aware that there is a traffic cop at the end of the road or that a camera is capturing your action – follow these at all times, irrespective of the presence of an overseer as it is meant for your own safety.

There is no point in lamenting over a mistake after some untoward incident occurs - it is better to be safe than sorry!

9. Keep a safe distance between vehicles

It might be extremely frustrating to have a slow car in front of you refusing to go faster despite your honking and polite requests. Do not under any circumstance, tailgate them and go very close to the vehicle. It is unsafe as it gives you no time to respond in case there is a sudden turn of events.

Always follow the 3-second rule in determining the distance that needs to be maintained between the cars. Look out for a reference point such as a signboard and check the time you take to get there after the vehicle in front of you goes past it. It is advisable to keep this time at a minimum of 3 seconds and increase that time to around 5 seconds at night time.

10. At night, keep the beam of light at eye level and not too high

Driving at night is a challenge unto itself due to poor lighting on the roads, but the glare from the headlights of another vehicle might exacerbate the difficulties that a driver faces. A bright light coming from the opposite direction will hit the driver’s eyes directly, causing him or her to lose depth perception. The peripheral vision and pupils also dilate leading to blurriness often leading to fatal accidents. Therefore, do not keep the beam of light too high.

Bonus: Maintain Your Vehicle and Get Good Car Insurance

Several accidents have been caused due to broken windshields, failed breaks, and bald tyres. Ensure that the condition of the vehicle is good. Maintain it and secure its upkeep by getting it serviced regularly and ensure that all parts are in working order. If the driver has been negligent about the condition of the car, he or she can be held liable in the court of law by a third-party who has suffered injuries!

Also, purchase good car insurance that offers 360-degree protection to your car. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that during times of crisis, you will have something to fall back upon.


Road safety is something that all people – drivers, pedestrians, and passengers - should be aware of. The necessity of obeying traffic rules cannot be emphasized more and one must not under any circumstance ignore it!

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