Traffic congestion - now a common sight worldwide

In countries like the United Kingdom, we are accustomed to having traffic laws and road rules, road signs, good road surfaces and roadworthy vehicles.

  • In some countries roads are shared by pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikes, rickshaws (or similar vehicles), cars, lorries, buses and trams and often animals such as cattle.

  • Traffic rules such as passing on the outside of other vehicles are frequently ignored.

  • Driving can involve unavoidable continuous risk-taking.

  • Vehicle horns are blown far more frequently to signal changes of direction rather than to highlight dangerous driving or alert other drivers.


Accidents

Roads throughout the world are becoming increasingly congested. This is most obvious in cities but is more dangerous on narrow rural roads when traffic speeds are greater.

  • Serious injuries in cities tend to involve pedestrians, cyclists and other unprotected road users.

  • Road accidents are one of the main causes of serious injury and death in young people, both locals and travellers.


Heavy flooding during a monsoon

Flooding

This risk may be forgotten but can lead to accidents, disruption to traffic movements and be dangerous if drivers take precautions.

  • Road travel during monsoons can halt all traffic and water enter properties with transport, domestic and economic consequences.

  • Sometimes heavy rains and flooding on runways stop aircraft getting airborne or landing


Taxis and rickshaws

Care is necessary when hiring taxies or rickshaws

Bargaining is often a big part of the process of hiring a taxi or rickshaw
  • Bargaining over the taxi fare, especially when tired at the end of a long flight, can be stressful. Meters, if available, may be rigged. Taxis can sometimes be arranged and paid for at an office in the airport at a fixed price arranged with regular trusted taxi drivers.

  • Larger hotels will often arrange a taxi for you in advance and some airlines also offer this service to take you to and from your hotel.

Safety

  • Lack of enforced maintenance regulations means that taxis and rickshaws in some countries may be unsafe.

  • Mugging occasionally occurs especially of single travellers and the driver has control over where he takes you.

  • Some drivers act as pimps for sex workers.

  • When in doubt, it is often wise to be met by friends or relatives who might alternatively arrange a taxi through a reliable firm known to them.


Unprotected tourists travelling fast on a motorcycle

Hired cars, scooters and motorbikes

In many countries hiring self-drive cars, scooters and motorbikes may be risky due to mechanical defects and poor servicing.

  • Hiring from well-known companies is usually safer albeit they may be more expensive.

  • Then there can be problems manoeuvering around in crowded streets and on non-tarmacked roads.

  • Motorbikes and scooters are notorious for serious accidents especially when the rider(s) are unfamiliar with the roads and local driving habits

  • Driving too fast for the conditions and not wearing safety equipment such as helmets risks potentially fatal accidents with the added complication that good emergency and hospital care cannot always be guaranteed.


Bus and tram travel

A crowded bus

Buses

Buses are another, usually cheap, form of transport for getting around in cities but also for long distance, including overnight, travel.

Long distance buses,

Unless seats are booked in advance, buses can be very overcrowded.

  • Travellers usually carry their own food and drinks unless they are prepared to take the risk of eating and drinking at roadside cafes and food stalls.

  • Wayside toilets may be very poorly maintained. Women may wish to practise discreetly going to the toilet under long dresses in case toileting is necessary at the roadside.

Trams are popular but care embarking and disembarking may be needed
  • Travellers should try to avoid falling asleep on bus journeys as they may miss their stop or become a victim of mugging.

Trams

These are returning to cities in many parts of the world a because they are quiet and non-polluting.

  • There are obvious risks of accidents when getting on board (practice may be needed!) or when they pass along the middle of busy streets.

Bicycles

Bicycles are popular for short distance travel and increasingly so in congested cities

Pedal travel is popular with some travellers especially the young and is a cheap means of travelling shorter distances. Both cycle hire and rickshaws are available at many destinations for the use of travellers, especially where cars are beyond the means of most of the local population.

  • Great care is needed when cycling when competing with all the other forms of road transport and in wet or windy conditions.

  • It is important to check over hired pedal and motorised bicycles carefully, especially since brakes and helmets are frequently not available or may be damaged.