Skip to content
4 March 2015 / leggypeggy

Drivers, start your engines and block your windscreen

Overloaded truck, India

Just a few passengers and their belongings. Photo by Gary Foster

Can you believe it?

These pictures are of real trucks/vans, moving at high speed, and carrying real people and real stuff—lots and lots of people and lots and lots of stuff—in Gujarat, India.

Indian states charge border taxes—sometimes huge ones—for commercial vehicles that cross state lines. For example, the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, has a minimum one-month fee that runs about A$300.

Overloaded in India

I wish I could run a count-the-number-of-passengers competition, but even I don’t know how many there are. Photo by Gary Foster

We guessed that the pictured trucks were being driven to the border between states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in the middle of the country.

We assume the trucks then do not cross the border, but offload their passengers into some equally overloaded vehicle on the other side. And there are even more passengers riding inside.

We saw one today that had a rear tractor tire (or bigger) sitting on the bonnet (hood). We weren’t quick enough to get a photo.

What a way to travel! I’m glad it’s not us.

Gary was on the best side of our van to be able to take most of these pictures. I took the one below.

Driving in India

Most vehicles have three or four hanging off the back too


Leave a Comment
  1. Lydia / Mar 4 2015 4:57 am

    SO NERVOUS for the guys on the top! But they seem so at ease. I love it.


  2. David / Mar 4 2015 5:00 am

    Thank goodness they are a former British colony and drive on the right side of the road otherwise these pictures would be even more disturbing!


  3. Mike / Mar 4 2015 5:39 am

    Holy crap! I can only imagine the carnage when there is a head-on collision. I’m happy your group has an experienced driver. Wearing our seat belts are we? Great pics as always!


    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2015 11:11 am

      Holy crap is exactly what I thought! And we do’t have seat belts in the back—only the front. If we did, you can bet I’d be wearing them.


  4. Derrick / Mar 4 2015 5:42 am

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people they can fit onto anything with wheels and an engine (and it dont have to be just four wheels)
    I saw buses with people hanging onto the sides, on the roof and some even had their live stock with them as well
    Biggest thing I saw was a camel on the roof of a bus (God only knows how they got it on there)

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2015 11:11 am

      I’ve seem some weird ones, but never a camel on the roof. Amazing.


  5. Galavanting Gran / Mar 4 2015 7:35 am

    I watched with fascinated horror at some of the travel arrangements in Kashgar,. One was the plastic baby carry seat on the back of a motor bike, toddlers standing in front of the driver on motor scooters. I guess they have no choice but the roads now have large trucks and lots of cars and buses. I am usually on wrong side of van or too amazed to get a decent photo.
    Your photos tell it all.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2015 11:28 am

      Oh babies in precarious positions always terrify the wits out of me. I once saw a baby in a bucket hanging off the handlebars of a motorbike.


  6. susan@marsha'sbungalow / Mar 4 2015 8:11 am

    This is so normal in so many places. I wonder if a blogger from India is right now posting a piece on the huge American truck blasting down our freeway with just the driver aboard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2015 11:15 am

      You are right! It’s normal to see the world over. Horrifyingly normal!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. suchled / Mar 4 2015 10:17 pm

    Reading your blog really is an edu-bloody-cation. Please keep doing it even if I don’t comment all the time.


  8. Midwestern Plant Girl / Mar 4 2015 10:28 pm

    Wow. Wow is all I can think of! I did hear some clown music playing in my head, but that happens often .. 😨
    Amazing photos!


  9. pagedogs / Mar 5 2015 1:23 am

    Is this precarious travel limited to men? I don’t see any women.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 7 2015 1:07 am

      The women are in the trucks—holding the babies. Sadly, in the case of an accident I bet they all die or are horribly mangled.


  10. Sy S. / Mar 5 2015 2:50 am

    Whoozzierrr, crazy to see each jeep “topped off” with people on top, hanging over the sides and on the hoods as well. Did I say it’s CRAZY? Ok, it’s CRAZY! Nice photos, however, with the people appearing to be well dressed in colorful shirts and the first photo shows a Sheikh with his colorful bicycle (just like Indian’s colorful small motorized gypsy type transportation or rickshaws). And the most scary part, is that I am sure they speed down the highway and pass other vehicles as well!! How do the people on the hood of the jeeps stay put? And finally, I am sure some passengers are carrying along some live stock (like chickens as well).


    • leggypeggy / Mar 7 2015 1:11 am

      I have no idea how everyone hangs on. Your guess is as good as mine. But I bet there are some chickens in there somewhere.


  11. Jane / Mar 5 2015 2:39 pm

    Crazy and amazing! And to think we get fined for not wearing our seat belts here. The world is so diverse in culture.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 7 2015 1:12 am

      I think people in the front seats are obliged to wear seat belts, but I doubt that the hood/bonnet counts as seats. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Curious to the Max / Mar 5 2015 2:56 pm

    Do you know approximately how fast are these vehicles traveling?
    Incredible pictures.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 7 2015 1:14 am

      We were doing 80–90kph, so I’m guessing they were doing about 55–60kph or 34–37mph. Too fast for my liking.


  13. Swetank / Mar 6 2015 2:00 am

    That’s my country men.. I had once enjoyed that ride! It was an amazing experience!

    Be Bettr, Stay Bettr! D


    • leggypeggy / Mar 8 2015 1:25 am

      Wow, you ‘enjoyed’ the ride and survived! I am super impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swetank / Mar 8 2015 4:07 pm

        Yes its like a roller coaster ride and much fun!


      • leggypeggy / Mar 8 2015 6:51 pm

        And scary too, I should think. 🙂


  14. Ray / Mar 6 2016 6:20 pm

    Absolutely amazing and so very typical of India in some ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 6 2016 7:35 pm

      Typical of India and quite a few other places we’ve visited. Seems like any tactics will do to get a ride.


  15. Aufgewacht  / May 29 2022 4:05 am

    I also saw this when I was in Paraguay 👍…. You don’t know anything like that in Germany

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: