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Old 8th January 2013, 13:40   #61
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Very debatable, Nilanjan. I am personally inclined to word it the other way round: Use low beam unless high beam is required. With improving condition of highways in general, and with better quality of headlamp beams, even low beam is often adequate in a majority of situations. I dream of the day when the use of low beams is a habit with most drivers in this country, especially after this behaviour has been an eye-opener for me while driving in Thailand. The strain on the other driver's eyes is so much less when everybody drives around on low beam on the highways, as they do in that country.

I have been trying to achieve that in the last few trips by setting my headlights to Position #1 (highest level) and driving on low beam regularly, maintaining speeds of 80-90 km/h. . It really isn't a difficult thing to do, unless one wants to go really fast (but then, night drives and very high speeds are best not mixed).
Yes, I knew that was a controversial statement. But I had specific road and traffic conditions in mind - if you notice, there was a disclaimer attached that stated when there is no oncoming traffic or when one is not following another vehicle.

I don't agree about reliable road conditions beyond the typical/popular highways - experienced that first hand this time, when doing a lot of night driving. Fallen trees, horrible potholes, oil slicks, gravel on the road, steep bumps, people/animals jumping onto the road, road ending or turning suddenly etc. Thailand roads are at a completely different level (at least the ones I traveled on), so can't compare. Indian roads have too many variables.

Also depends on your light I guess - I find that using low beams I can't cross 50kmph unless I am driving behind another vehicle - leaves too many things too chance. People wearing dark clothes, vehicles without lights, damaging obstacles (rocks/bumps), humans or animals jumping on the road. Since I drive a SUV, the brakes and handling are not appropriate for last second maneuvers. Disclaimer: my bias is flavoured by the fact that I do a lot of driving on lonely roads where traffic is less but roads are bad/unpredictable.

Edit: regarding the sweeper vehicle: great strategy, but a good idea to maintain a certain distance behind such a vehicle, especially on bad roads. Sometimes the sweeper vehicle will be able to avoid a horrible pothole easily, but you ,might not have enough time to react, especially if at the same time you are blinded by oncoming traffic. True for highways such as NH7 traveling North beyond Nagpur.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 8th January 2013 at 13:53.
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Old 8th January 2013, 13:48   #62
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Excellent thread GTO

Few points from my side, I dont know if it has been mentioned before:

a) Maintain a 2 second distance from the vehicle in front of you. This means you should touch the point which the front vehicle had touched 2 seconds before. This helps in sudden breaking and reactions.

b) Start looking for pumps as soon as you are on 40% mark. By the time you reach a good pump, you will have crossed a lot of distance. Happened with me when I was looking for a pump after reaching 30%. We found it when around 5 to 10% was remaining.

c) In very dense fog, strictly avoid overtaking. Use the front vehicle (if there is one) as escort and follow him keeping safe distance. If alone, travel at very low speeds. Do not forget to turn on your headlights.

d) Every highway might have its helpline (eg: Mumbai Pune expressway helpline - 98224 98224). Keep a note of it and if you find anyone stuck on the highway without a help (and you are afraid to help for multiple reasons), just call up the number and tell them the situation.

Last edited by _raVan_ : 8th January 2013 at 14:07.
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Old 8th January 2013, 13:51   #63
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
9. High beam vs. low beam: Use high beam unless low beam is required (e.g. oncoming traffic is coming, you are following a vehicle or when driving on curvy roads on hills - high beam could dazzle you, reflecting from the hillside). The extra visibility and reaction time is worth it.
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Very debatable, Nilanjan. I am personally inclined to word it the other way round: Use low beam unless high beam is required.
I am aware that the above would be controversial, but in my drive thrice through the NH7 all the way to Nagpur->Raipur, i have never been comfortable on a 2x2 lane highway with headlamps setting on Low. Headlamp throw is just isnt enough for the reach that i comfortable with. Hence almost always i am forced to switch to Hi-beam. All this while speeds are south of 100, North of 100 is unsafe at night.

Have already had an accident on highway at night, although i was driving with hi beam on, still the animal was able to surprise me, only if the lamps had a bit more throw it could have been avoided. Only on wider 4x4 lane or well lit highways can i comfortably switch to low beam.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 8th January 2013 at 14:19.
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Old 8th January 2013, 13:51   #64
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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How do we differentiate "company-owned-company-operated" petrol pumps from the rest?
Usually know the breed on my familiar routes out of Mumbai.

COCO petrol pumps almost always have a board announcing the same.

For mainstream routes, search on Team-BHP and you'll find recommendations. Some oil company websites have the same listed as well.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I have always used the particular term ('sweeper') to designate such a vehicle whom I would follow, though I have never come across the term elsewhere.


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Note the manner in which the car is parked. It's on the wrong side of the road
Just to clarify:

1. The Volvo is parked on the one-way Kasara ghat. This isn't a two-way road.

2. Our support car was parked right behind it.
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Old 8th January 2013, 14:27   #65
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

This is an excellent article, and really very helpful to many road users.

As regards someone's post advising to drive on low beams during nights on highways, I guess this is possible only on divided roads. On two-way highways, road signage is a bit higher and the low beam's throw does not go high enough to fall on it.This apart, one can get to see obstacles like cattle or bicycles much earlier on high beam.

I had a scary experience once in twilight conditions on the Solapur to Hyderabad highway. While approaching a left curve near Basavkalyan, I dipped my beam to help a motorcyclist who was approaching me in the opposite direction. In that few seconds, a buffalo was crossing the road from my left, and I could spot it only when I was quite close to it. Luckily my speed was low as it was a village area. I would have certainly spotted it earlier had I not dipped my lights.
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Old 8th January 2013, 14:34   #66
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Thumbs up Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Great thread

One of the key things that helps me have a relaxed drive is to move my foot of the accelerator and make it hover over the brake when crossing villages, junctions etc. It cuts your reaction time by around 0.7 secs which is huge in case of emergency braking.

Though flashing lights is not meant to be used to ask for space to overtake, it is and is a common practise.

When cornering quickly never brake or apply throttle with jerky motions. Can lead to a spin.

When driving in the rain, always be prepared for roads with large puddles and bad drainage. This typically happens on the inside lane of the corner due to the camber of the road.

The steering wheel will go light but as long as you don't make rash steering inputs the car will remain stable.

Please use all the mirrors your car has at all times, make a habit of glancing at them through your peripheral vision.

Happy driving,
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Old 8th January 2013, 16:33   #67
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Absolutely goregeous thread! Thanks GTO and the whole bunch of fellow TBHPians who contributed from their own experiences.

My only concern with TBHP has been that there is huge amount of knowledge and wisdom shared on the forum, BUT it is fragmented across n number of threads. Such summarizing/consolidation exercises are extremely helpful to get most of the relavent information in a single thread and save huge amount of time and effort for people looking for it.

So, thank you again, GTO!

On a separate note, I am working on a "What they don't teach you at a (Indian) driving school" thread since last few weeks (Not in assembly line yet). Wanted to cover a lot of basic and common-sense things that I learnt while getting a DL in US. I still have a copy of the "Driver's manual" from Tennessee state. The idea was to share parts of the driver's manual (after adapting to Indian situations like we drive on left v/s they on right). e.g. Things like peeping over your shoulder while doing a lane-change are mandatory in US, but unheard of in India. I was planning to couple that with other things like "how to" correctly adjust your mirrors, "how to" wear a seat-belt, what is the correct driving position, "how to" adjust your head-rest etc etc.

I am half way-through the Tennessee driver's manual and have taken notes in a document. Was going to go through the driver's manual of a couple of more states as well to make the material more robust. Now with this thread, I am in a dilemma, whether to pursue my effort further or not!

In a way, this thread is "distilled" knowledge or "finer" points about driving and what I want to do is "basics" of driving. But there are lot of grey areas, so a bit confused.

Last edited by SDP : 8th January 2013 at 16:39.
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Old 8th January 2013, 16:58   #68
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Absolutely goregeous thread! Thanks GTO and the whole bunch of fellow TBHPians who contributed from their own experiences.

My only concern with TBHP has been that there is huge amount of knowledge and wisdom shared on the forum, BUT it is fragmented across n number of threads. Such summarizing/consolidation exercises are extremely helpful to get most of the relavent information in a single thread and save huge amount of time and effort for people looking for it.

So, thank you again, GTO!

On a separate note, I am working on a "What they don't teach you at a (Indian) driving school" thread since last few weeks (Not in assembly line yet). Wanted to cover a lot of basic and common-sense things that I learnt while getting a DL in US. I still have a copy of the "Driver's manual" from Tennessee state. The idea was to share parts of the driver's manual (after adapting to Indian situations like we drive on left v/s they on right). e.g. Things like peeping over your shoulder while doing a lane-change are mandatory in US, but unheard of in India. I was planning to couple that with other things like "how to" correctly adjust your mirrors, "how to" wear a seat-belt, what is the correct driving position, "how to" adjust your head-rest etc etc.

I am half way-through the Tennessee driver's manual and have taken notes in a document. Was going to go through the driver's manual of a couple of more states as well to make the material more robust. Now with this thread, I am in a dilemma, whether to pursue my effort further or not!

In a way, this thread is "distilled" knowledge or "finer" points about driving and what I want to do is "basics" of driving. But there are lot of grey areas, so a bit confused.
Nice initiative SDP. I think you should continue with it, finish it and post as a separate thread on How To's of Driving and Comparative Driving Study. There is possibility that some finer points may overlap with this but nevertheless, it can be good ready reckoner.
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Old 8th January 2013, 18:32   #69
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Just to clarify:
1. The Volvo is parked on the one-way Kasara ghat. This isn't a two-way road.
Thanks for the clarification .

Even if it was a 2-way road, I would still do the same thing myself - and/or would support the way it is parked, if it was necessary to park there.
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Old 8th January 2013, 18:43   #70
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Certainly worth reading this post 2 days before a Highway Drive and follow the check list.

Tyre Condition > Do NOT ignore the spare tyre. I drove 7000 odd kms without knowing that my tubeless spare trye had 0 psi pressure.

Daytime Driving> Yes I never drive nights. Honda City lights are poor.

Low Beam Lights On During Daytime > I used to follow that riding motorcycles. Will comply with my Honda City.

STONES > When driving in daylight Indo Pak Border, the road was up a sand dune and then down. Did not spot a stone, ran left front wheel over the stone, resulting in distorted wheel. Had to buy new wheel.

I recommend please copy this GTO thread to a Word file,take print outs and keep in car, circulate to friends via the net.

Thanks!!

Point of discussion reference > Low Beam Lights

1. When I started riding bikes with BikeNomads, the rule was HEADLIGHTS ON during day time.
2. In USA, State of Washington and many more, when you start your car and motorbike, by default headlights are ON.
3. I understand same rules apply in Europe.

Rgds

Last edited by GTO : 8th January 2013 at 20:26. Reason: Merging both your posts.
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Old 8th January 2013, 19:36   #71
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Post Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

A superbly compiled thread GTO. This should hold all BHPians and their associates in great stead during their off-the-city driving stints. On the contrary, a lot of your pointers will come in immensely handy even in everyday driving situations. In fact the way I see it, this is pretty all-encompassing and not just limited to a particular set of driving situations. That is the beauty of it.

By consolidating all relevant information/do's and don'ts into a single thread, you have provided that elusive/lacking ready reckoner for a lot of folks for whom highway driving is quite a common occurrence - either by necessity or by habit!

So thank you for putting together a pretty exhaustive and therefore productive resource.

And let me take this opportunity to wish all BHPians a safe driving experience on our roads while taking in all that our majestic country has to offer. Cheers!

Last edited by Omtoatom : 8th January 2013 at 19:43.
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Old 8th January 2013, 20:31   #72
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Such summarizing/consolidation exercises are extremely helpful to get most of the relavent information in a single thread and save huge amount of time and effort for people looking for it.
Quote:
On a separate note, I am working on a "What they don't teach you at a (Indian) driving school" thread since last few weeks (Not in assembly line yet).
Quote:
In a way, this thread is "distilled" knowledge or "finer" points about driving and what I want to do is "basics" of driving. But there are lot of grey areas, so a bit confused.
With the highest accident fatality rate in the world, you can never have enough safety training & information in India.

It's not even 2 days since this thread was taken live, and it's already been viewed over 8,000 times. In due time, the number of drivers who would have read the opening posts would run in the 6 digits. I like to think about the accidents avoided & lives saved in these stats.

Please continue preparing your thread. All of us would be very grateful to you for the effort in sharing that information.

Thanks!
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Old 8th January 2013, 21:10   #73
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

A great thread.
How true that you mentioned about proper footwear or objects that may roll over to the brake. I wore a slight worn out footwear once and was cruising in highways.
when I was about to brake, it slipped somehow and I would have hit another car in the front. It would have been a very bad hit but somehow managed to brake at the last moment.
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Old 8th January 2013, 21:32   #74
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
The following two advice seems a bit odd (I mean, excessively cautious) though.
All cars sold in the European Union since 2011 must have daytime running lights. While this may seem a tad excessive on a bright sunny day it can make a big difference in tunnels and low visibility areas like indoor car parks. Having lights on all the time rules out the possibility of motorist resisting or failing to turn on their headlamps during twilight.
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Old 8th January 2013, 21:41   #75
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

I had compiled this list long back. Hope it helps and adds to the safety net.

Be considerate (Driving trivia) - Assume there is a free left at every junction and thus leave enough space on your left for others to turn off-course if you are not planning to do so! Fallback of the same statement: Move to the left lane /side if you want to turn left, move to the right lane/side if you want to turn right. Please do so with ample time and space in hand and not at the last moment!

Indicate (Driving trivia) - Use indicators to help others judge your intentions better. Use them for lane changes as well. Use them to inform about your intentions only and never to indicate what you, want the vehicle behind, to do!

Pressurized (Driving trivia) - Maintain manufacturer recommended air pressure in the tires. It affects Fuel Efficiency positively!

See more (Driving trivia) - The more you see, the safer you drive! Clean the windshield and the rest of the glasses + IRVM + Side RVMs + your own (if you have)! Go out and see the difference it makes to your view-span!

Lanes and not lames! (Driving trivia) - Follow lane discipline. Even if lanes are not marked, maintain an imaginary one and drive. Avoid unnecessary lane changes. It does not save much time. Do calculate the time difference and see it for yourself!

Live and Let Live (Driving trivia) - Use high-beam on unlit roads, switch to low-beam on seeing vehicles from the opposite direction and also if you get close to the vehicle in front. For all other scenarios use low-beam! Prioritize slowing down over switching to high-beam. Stop blinding!

Mind your stop (Driving trivia) - Always stop before the stop line at a red signal. Amber light means slow down and not speed up to get through the junction! Drive Safe! :-)

Buckle up (Driving Trivia) - Wear seat-belts for your safety and not because you got to pay up when caught. Ask co-passengers to buckle up as well. Drive and ride safe!

Know your blind spots (Driving trivia) - Always be aware of your blind spots and do head checks regularly to avoid being taken by surprise. Drive safe!

Hazard lights for hazard alone (Driving trivia) - Refrain from using hazard lights during rain! The vehicles on your right thinks you will turn right and the ones on your left thinks you will turn left. Spare the confusion! Use hazard lights only when your vehicle is static/broken down. Drive safe!

No rollers! (Driving trivia) - Refrain from keeping any items that might roll on to the floor of your car and create havoc by getting between your ABC's (accelerator-clutch-brake)'s. Drive safe!

No Tailgating (Driving trivia) - Do not tailgate. Follow the two-second rule to have the stopping distance within your reach! For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-second_rule_(road)
It is difficult to follow it under heavy traffic scenarios, but since the speed will be less, damage if any will be less as well. Drive safe!

Know the blind spots of others (Driving trivia) - Avoid traveling in the "blind spot" of another vehicle. A good rule of thumb to remember when overtaking or following other traffic is "if you can't see their mirrors, they can't see you!" This is of utmost importance for the bikers! Drive safe!

Proper lane changes (Driving trivia) - Try and make your lane changes as smooth as possible so that no other vehicle need to react to your movements. Leave ample space and complete the lane change. Drive safe!

Footwear (Driving Trivia) - Drive wearing shoes ,preferably closed or which are tied to your feet. Never wear chappals, they might get stuck and cause panic. Drive safe!

Queue (Driving trivia) - There is something called queue. If ants can, so can we! Drive safe!
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