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Old 25th June 2007, 05:48   #1
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Default How well do we drive?

Just thinking. Team-BHP could be an excellent forum to foster top in class safe driving habits.

How aware are you of what the traffic is like behind you?

Do you do a Head check or merely a Mirror check?
Do you drive by the book and take the trouble to look over your shoulder before attempting to change lanes, or are you lazy and rely only on the mirrors instead? (I've seen some of us even nonchalantly driving with the ORVMs folded)

The mirror can only say "no". It can't say "yes"
If you see something in the mirror that would delay you changing lanes, then the mirror is telling you, "no". If it looks all clear in the mirror, you still don't have a "yes" until you actually turn your head and look. This is what we were taught in California.

When you learn to drive with strict rules in a strict country,
Where the laws of the road are carefully written, regularly reviewed and updated and sincerely enforced by the highway police,
Where every citizen learns to drive as part of his minimum basic education at the age of 15.
In one of those lands that has been motorized ever since the car was invented, a country that couldn't survive its growing millions of cars in traffic, unless it enforced the strict discipline to go with it...

Then, you come out as a safer global-quality driver.

Do you maintain the two-second-rule distance behind the vehicle in front of you? (three-second distance in rainy weather) or do you tailgate the poor chap?

Do you underestimate the other driverís potential for aggression and overestimate your potential to get away with bad road behaviour?

How can we improve the state of affairs back home here?
  • How many km did you drive last year? On what quality of road?
  • How many km did you put on the odometer of the last car you sold?
  • How many accidents did you have in the last 3 years?
  • How much do you spend on repairs and maintenance?
  • Would the world's topmost car-driving countries consider you among the best teachers of the driving-skill?
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Old 25th June 2007, 06:04   #2
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I try to follow all the traffic rules that I am aware of, and I have tried to learn the traffic rules. But alas, no one else seems to be aware of these rules. And it means that the rule following driver is often at the mercy of other drivers on the road, who have little inkling of traffic rules and civic sense.

Just yesterday, I saw a car moving unsteadily. I thought that it must be a lady learning to drive under the guidance of her husband. And what did I see, it was a six year old girl trying to learn driving sitting on the lap of her father. That is the kind of disregard for traffic rules that one can come across on Indian roads.
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Old 25th June 2007, 06:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram
This is what we were taught in California.
Food for thought. Like you said, if it wasnt for the rules that they follow on the roads, Americans would never have been able to drive like they do. Small things like having patience to not cut-off people to try and get across before the other guy, being courteous ..

Somewhere in the licencing system & process, they said that driving is not a right, but a privilige. This point is so fundamental of their [on-road] system. The driver's handbook full of practical points - from looking over one's shoulder before passing, to, which way to point the front wheels when parking on a slope.

It's been a pleasure to drive in the US. Wonder if we can get even a bit of that on our roads.
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Old 25th June 2007, 06:23   #4
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Originally Posted by squarecut View Post
I try to follow all the traffic rules that I am aware of, and I have tried to learn the traffic rules. But alas, no one else seems to be aware of these rules. And it means that the rule following driver is often at the mercy of other drivers on the road, who have little inkling of traffic rules and civic sense.

Just yesterday, I saw a car moving unsteadily. I thought that it must be a lady learning to drive under the guidance of her husband. And what did I see, it was a six year old girl trying to learn driving sitting on the lap of her father. That is the kind of disregard for traffic rules that one can come across on Indian roads.
Thanks, squarecut.

Should we let uncultured, belligerent and lawless drivers set the tone for how lawful drivers should drive?

Should they determine the rules of the road for our country?

Or can we come up with a more correct alternative?

I'm optimistic, a time will come when Team-BHP would have more members and clout than any automobile association in the country and could influence public driving, public opinion and the lawmaking process.

Ram
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Old 25th June 2007, 09:07   #5
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Have never driven in the states. But have been driven in a car in NYC. I must say they have a very good sense of driving. They change lanes only if it is a must. Maintaing proper distances from cars in front, proper usage of horns, et al. True some reckless drivers are there, but then all countries have such miscreants. Other day while driving in Mumbai, a Maruti 800 hit my santro from behind. Immediately I checked first whether the driver in the car was all right. But on the contrary he started shouting at me !
Whatever rules one tries to implement, some people would never change. When the enforcers are not rigid, one can just abide by the rule book and pray to god that no mishap occurs today.
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Old 25th June 2007, 11:30   #6
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Ram,

I'm glad that someone is advocating the head check - I always take a quick peek over my shoulder before changing lanes, especially useful with the amount of two wheeler traffic in Pune that tries to get into any gap that's available

Amit.
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Old 25th June 2007, 11:54   #7
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Originally Posted by mainak View Post
When the enforcers are not rigid, one can just abide by the rule book and pray to god that no mishap occurs today.
Who says they are not rigid? They are very rigid about their collections. Word on the street is that one particular police station in a totally commercial area in Bangalore bags a bounty of 6 lacs a day from lorry and tempo drivers - each of them pays 600 p.m for the privilege of parking wherever they feel like and for however long they feel like, for driving on the wrong side of the road and scaring the living daylights off the innocent drivers, for going down the wrong way on one-way streets, for loading their trucks/tempos with cargo double the permitted weight (thus ruining all roads in and around the country) and various other privileges. Multiply this many times for the many police stations that dot the city (or country) and where commercial activity is flourishing and you can imagine why enforcers need to be rigid. The sheer economics can be baffling. Even if the no. is not 6 lacs per day but a lower figure, it will still be considered good enough economics to be rigid.

For their part, the police are very rigid about looking the other way when they see these wrong-doers not following traffic rules, about victimizing citizens and making them withdraw their complaints, about making the victims feel like they are the ones at fault if their vehicles get hit from behind by an auto/taxi driver who has no control over their vehicle and for filing complaints. They are very rigid. They rigidly provide employment opportunities and requisite authority to the scores of teenagers, paanwallas and other small rediwalas who act as their collection agents at street corners and signals - all over the country. Have you witnessed young boys (not beggars) walking up to trucks at signals and taking 2 or 5 rs. notes from truck drivers? This is not for the glasses full of tea that the young boys are not supplying. it is vasooli, plain and simple, for the traffic policeman who is standing at the street corner - or he may even be busy directing traffic. That is the toll for letting the truck/tempo drivers enter Hosur Road or ORR or any other city road during the peak hours when they are not supposed to.

On the plus side is that now they are quite polite while being rigid. Lets give credit where it is due......
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Old 25th June 2007, 12:05   #8
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These videos are good. Hope driving schools are using these to train their students. But what do we do of the majority of the commercial vehicle drivers who may not benefit from driving schools since they mostly get trained by other truck/auto/taxi/tempo/tractor drivers.
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Old 25th June 2007, 12:33   #9
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You know what is the root cause? It is the tendency to take the easy/quick way, disregarding others. That is what cause all these!! Why do we needs rules? Because one should be considerate of others.

Drivers take the easy way by taking whatever gap there is, going the wrong way, and doing whatever else. Policement take the easy way by taking bribe, and looking for vipers and smog certificate, and not rule violation. The authorities take the easy way by not updating the rules and providing training to the enforcers.

Show me ONE policeman who knows the detailed rules about lane discipline, blind spots etc? I bet you you can't.

I have one solution. Round up all traffic policemen at a place and show them a few of the biggest problems, and ask them to overzealoously enforce them. Let them take bribe or charge the case. As long as the drivers pay, it will do the trick.

My list of biggest violations from the experience in good ole Cochin:

1. Making an extra lane on the road, like a third one on a two lane section. Anything with more than two wheels can have only one to a lane.
2. Red light violation, and blocking intersections.
3. Turning right from the left lane/left from the right lane, in front of traffic going straight.
4. Overtaking where prohibited by continous white/yellow line.

If you JUST eliminate these by very strict enforcement, 90% of the traffic problems will disappear.

The first one ALONE can make a 50% improvement.
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Old 25th June 2007, 12:45   #10
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@wheeliej
sure would agree to your point of view. They are rigid but for the non sensical reasons. As far they have their pockets heavy nothing matters to them.
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Old 25th June 2007, 13:01   #11
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Very good point raised. here goes my record
  • How many km did you drive last year? On what quality of road ?
15K . NCR area and one Long trip to Allahabad from Delhi.
  • How many km did you put on the odometer of the last car you sold?
83K.
  • How many accidents did you have in the last 3 years?
None.

  • How much do you spend on repairs and maintenance?
None:

  • Would the world's topmost car-driving countries consider you among the best teachers of the driving-skill?
Yes.
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Old 25th June 2007, 13:05   #12
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Its allright to enforce rules upon yourself. Its allright to try and follow traffic discipline. But it just wont work out unless the vast majority of the traffic also follow those rules. That can be enforced only by strict laws and cops who dont succumb to bribes.

After I returned from Germany, I was so impressed with the driving sense there that I tried my best to adhere to lane discipline and not to honk, but then the moment some idiot pedestrian cuts across you, you have to honk to make him realise that he is on the road in front of some traffic. Or when some car/bike suddenly cuts across in front of you, you dont have a choice but to horn or suddenly switch lanes. What when some guy goes sight seeing for some shop while on the right lane going at the rate of less than 10kmph. You dont have a choice but to overtake from the left or risk someone from behind you getting irritated and scraping your sides in anger. Its only when he passes you that he realises, you didnt have a choice. But then its too late.

What it calls for is strict policing and cameras in every nook and corner. Of course its going to be darn expensive but then thats the only way things will take a turn for the better. In case of any offense recorded by the camera, a challan has to be sent to the address registered by that vehicle and if its not paid up within 2 weeks then the next time any camera spots that vehicle, then a siren sounds and the vehicle is impounded by the cops.

Start this practise on the highways and main roads and slowly spread this to the arterial roads. Also important is the right of way. Pedestrians have to be given the right of way and pedestrians should also learn to cross only at intersections. We have a long long long way to go before even an iota of driving sense enters our heads.
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Old 25th June 2007, 14:01   #13
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Good thread, but it would probably be more appropriate to ask "How well are we allowed to drive?"

We often compare driving condition in India with that of developed countries. But unfortunately India still needs at least 50 years to attain those standards (if at all possible).

Driving in India like foreign countries will not only be fruitless but also can be dangerous. My own driving changed dramatically after driving in UK but when I tried to implement the same in India (in Kolkata) I was embarrassed and auto/taxi drivers looked upon me as if I came from a different planet.

Some examples,

* I hesitated to honk but people abused me saying "aare horn kyon nahi deta..."
* I used to allow pedestrians to cross road before I move out.... but I realized that I would probably stand in the same place rest of the day if I do so...
* I tried to keep to a lane, only to discover that I need to follow a 5 km/h bullock cart if I do so.
* I tried to look at both RVMs before pulling out, only to find out autowalahs scrapped my mirror (since then I reverted back to drive with RVMs folded)

The best suggestion I can give to all team-bhpians that when you're in India drive as Indians do [I know I'll be flamed for that ] and if you want to reach your destination quickly and safely, make your own rule in the road.

Rules are good when 99% people follow them, but dangerous otherwise. In India, if you follow all rules, you'll be that remaining 1% people and will suffer a lot.

And for those IT guys who often shuttle between India and abroad, I'd advise that as soon as you land in India, re-set your mind as before otherwise you'll suffer from depression.
Just my 50 paise
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Old 25th June 2007, 14:45   #14
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is turning and looking over your shoulder a good idea ? i hear that in singapore they fail you if you look over shoulder instead of mirrors
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Old 25th June 2007, 15:43   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bottle View Post
is turning and looking over your shoulder a good idea ? i hear that in singapore they fail you if you look over shoulder instead of mirrors
In the USA, they will fail you if you don't look over your shoulder, when pulling out into traffic, changing lanes or backing up.
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