Why do most auto rickshaw drivers sit on the edge of their seat?

This is a very interesting fact which I came across when I was surfing the internet and I felt that I must share this with you "why most auto rickshaw drivers sit on the edge of their seat?"


To answer this question, I have compiled some replies by beautiful minds at the quora.com.

Shivin Saxena, interviews two rickshaw drivers and gets the following replies.
  1. When they learn to drive a rickshaw, someone is usually seated next to them in the driver's seat, like in Ramayan Bharat (Brother of Ram) kept the throne empty while Lord Rama was in Vanvaas, the rickshaw driver keeps that space empty in remembrance and as Dakshina for his guru.
  2. The intense heat from the engine is another reason why they frequently change their positions. (Note: There are two types of autorickshaws in India. In older versions, the engines were situated below the driver's seat, while in newer versions engines are located in the rear. So, the engine heat is relevant only to the drivers driving the older rickshaws. Ref: Auto rickshaw)
  3. One of them said that as he carries passengers across the city, he almost always sees a friend across the road, in need of a ride and since, he is already comfortable with driving while sitting at the edge, he is more than willing to offer anyone a ride, while not having to continuously change his driving position.
  4. Since you are sitting closer to the edge than in the middle, it's much faster to 
    • Hop out unceremoniously
    • Reach the blow horn that's usually mounted on the right side of the rickshaw's frame. 
    • Stretch outward and yell swear words or friendly calls at passers-by.
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Swapnil Kale, Gives the scientific rationale why the rickshaw drivers sit on the edge of their seat?

This happens due to imbalance force on the rear side. If the force ( weight) on the left rear wheel is more it tends to pull handle on the left side. So the driver has to apply more force on the left side or vice versa. So they sit on the corner as hand get more space for movement. It is difficult to apply more force while seating at the center of the seat. From corner, you can add your body weight to force, which gave them quite a relief.

Some other answers which I got are:

  • It gives rickshaw driver better view who is overtaking from the right side.( right mirror view)
  • The gap between the seat and the handle is less So, when you sit at the center you can't turn the handle completely in either direction easily.
  • Four-wheeler in India has the driver seat on the right side because of the lane pattern in India. Therefore, it makes the auto driver psychologically comfortable to sit on the right side of the seat and drive.
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  • It helps to take U-turns easy.
  • It accommodates one extra passenger too.
  • Break leaver is located on the right foot, therefore, it gives better braking performance.
  • There is no seat position adjustment like we have in cars. So, the pedal position is almost never at the position you want it to be. This makes you sit appropriately in order to access the pedal in the way the most comfortable way to you.

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Sital is a passionate blogger and engineering graduate who loves fact finding and writes about motivation, SEO, web development, technology, mobile and the Internet.

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