Sri Lankan Driving Style

To say the Sri Lankan driving style is unique… is an understatement!

We went to Galle to see the famous stilt fisherman with a local taxi driver / guide and at some points I wondered if we would make it back or not!

As shown in the picture above, huge lorries and buses were taking corners on the wrong side of the road!

At times, there were 4 vehicles side by side on a 2 lane road! It’s almost as if the bigger you are, the more right of way you have!?

You could be going down the road at say 35mph when people on motorbikes and tuk tuks will just pull out from side roads WITHOUT looking and just merge into the traffic as a matter of course.

Parked cars would edge out a bit, see you coming, then decide to do a u-turn in front of you forcing you to brake!… Hard!

I do not exaggerate here, our seat belt limiters were tested no less than a dozen times over a two hour period, and how we don’t have whip lash from the CONSTANT accelerate!… Brake hard! Yo yo-ing I don’t know, this happened every 100 yards or so, with or without anything in front of you!?

The process seems to be, go 35-40mph until something gets in your way, then if it’s tuk tuk, press your horn, indicate, overtake by stomping the gas, then when you’re level with them ease off to match their speed (even if there are large trucks and or buses coming at you on the wrong side of the road!) If there are oncoming vehicles on your side of the road, simply move to the left until the tuk tuk moves out of your way!

If it’s something bigger than a tuk tuk, get say 3 feet from its bumper, honk your horn every 50 yards until he moves over a foot, then stomp the gas again!, Go on the wrong side of the road again and continue.

If you need to understand how to drive over here, here’s a quick summary:-

  • No matter what your doing or where you are, you need to honk your horn every 100 yards or every 60 seconds, whichever comes first.
  • If you need to overtake and there’s a huge gap simply drive on the wrong side of the road.
  • If you need to overtake and there’s a small gap, honk your horn, then keep pushing in until the other vehicle moves out of your way.
  • If you need to overtake and there is absolutely no gap, honk horn, cross central road line, pull in again and repeat until they move.
  • If you feel the passengers are nodding off, slam on the brakes every so often to keep them on their toes, heck, why should they get to sleep when you can’t.
  • If there are already 2 cars in front overtaking each other, join them, the more the merrier!

Wide load signs or high vis vest dangling off the end of the truck carrying logs?….neeeer! Who needs that?… It’ll only blow off in the wind anyway.

Safe stopping distance needed between vehicles?… Don’t be silly, that space is mine! And what do you think bumpers are for anyway?

If you want to see how fast you’re going, simply look at the speedo of the tuk tuk 3 inches to your left and if you don’t believe it, simply reach over and tap it a couple of times as the needle might be a little stiff or stuck… But don’t forget to say thank you to the tuk tuk driver.

Agree whole heartedly!

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