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Old 8th January 2013, 22:31   #76
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

I think one very important point GTO forgot in his first few posts of this thread:

=> Do not mix Drink and Drive, even for casual reason during drive. Many of the highways have bar in restaurant and I feel pity many drivers have them there.

Although above line is mentioned many times at many places, but still worth to mention here as many of the accidents have this as primary reason.

Other small yet significant points:

a. When dusk set in and you are driving further, clean you windshield and rear windshield with news paper & water droplets. This give spotless glass and aids in visibility.

b. Use good quality washer tank supplement. It helps to clean the glass quickly. Also, this supplement helps during rain by not allowing water to stay on windshield. But during evening clean windshield manually as accumulated dirt to the sides after cleaning through wipers would result in blind spot at night.

c. Keep always good quality wipers in your car and remember wipers not only used during rains, it is used throughout the year during long drives.

I always keep old newspaper in my car during my all long drive and clean glass just after dusk set in. It really helps in visibility.

Last edited by anujmishra : 8th January 2013 at 22:36.
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Old 8th January 2013, 22:36   #77
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Awesome thread, GTO! Enjoyed reading all your tips and subsequent posts.
My Dad was a planter and we used to do frequent highway trips, usually at night and through jungles. Thought I'll add the following tips:
  • NEVER step out of your car while driving through a jungle.
  • If you're driving through a jungle at night, use the high beam frequently to spot animals trying to cross the road. Of course, be considerate and switch to low beam when you see an oncoming vehicle.
  • If you see an elephant in the middle of the road, don't panic and be patient. Do NOT switch off your headlights and engine. If you have a flashlight handy, use that to get a better idea of reversing options. Would be needed if the elephant decides to advance towards you.
  • Do NOT honk while driving through jungles. It is terribly irritating for animals, two-legged included
  • A "sweeper" vehicle is particularly useful while driving through a jungle, especially at night. If possible, wait for a bus/truck to pass you before you enter the jungle and then follow it. It's definitely better than having to deal with a tusker at night, with no other vehicle for company.

A non-jungle tip:
While passing a stationary bus/truck, always look between the wheels of the bus/truck. If people/animals are trying to get to the other side, you'd be able to spot them. Unfortunately, they don't always watch out for oncoming traffic and emerge from behind the bus/truck unexpectedly.

Cheers!
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Old 8th January 2013, 23:43   #78
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Some 4-lane highways (NH58 is a case in point) have so many slow-moving vehicles that buses & trucks hog the right lane exclusively. Perforce, overtaking HAS to be from the left if you need to make fair progress. However, do it with extreme caution.
That is so true. But overtaking from the left also has its associated hazards. The foremost being the inability of the driver to spot you on his left ORVM. On a recent Dehradun - Delhi drive, on the four-laned section of the highway, I honked and honked to a truck in the right lane and he didn't budge. Per force I had to overtake from the left. I started my overtaking manoeuvre from the left of the truck (after having honked and flashed lights so as to make him aware of my presence). During the overtaking manoeuvre, as I crossed the body of the truck and was about to clear the cabin, the driver decided to shift to the left lane. The front left of the truck came in contact with right rear of my Zen and the truck pushed the car out of its lane . As I realised I was being pushed to the left and fishtailing, I revved up and sped away ahead of the truck, clearing the cabin almost instantaneously. After a few hundred metres I got off on a shoulder and parked. Checked the car for damages and there was a small dent on the right rear door. Realised later that maybe revving up and speeding away was a better decision, for, if I had decided to brake and decelerate, maybe the car would've come under left rear wheels of the truck. Still, the fact remains, that trucks and other bigger vehicles don't always move to the left lane after repeated honking and flashing of lights and one is forced to overtake them from the left. Got to be extremely careful in executing this highly risky manoeuvre though.

Last edited by Ironhide : 8th January 2013 at 23:51.
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Old 9th January 2013, 01:02   #79
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

@GTO A fantastic thread covering all the Do's and Dont's and is fast turning to be an handbook for keeps with others too chipping in.

if you see a slow moving vehicle (Autos and the like) always think ahead and expect some dreaded maneuvers or serious misdemeanor like sudden lane cutting ,right turns from far left etc.

Last edited by rajeev k : 9th January 2013 at 01:09.
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Old 9th January 2013, 02:29   #80
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

While driving through tunnels / dense fog / rain, I've noticed people often switching-on hazard-lights. This topic has been beaten to death in other threads.

For those who may not know, hazards should be used ONLY when you are stationary either on the side or in the middle of the road. It may be used even if you're in limp mode and crawling on an expressway / highway.

If used while in motion, it may potentially confuse other motorists. Please avoid using hazards while driving on the highway unless you have a flat / broken down / making extremely slow progress.
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Old 9th January 2013, 05:45   #81
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Couple of pointers:

1. I assume all drivers, including myself, on the road I'm on, are going to make a mistake. Makes me that much more alert.

2. When I'm out on the twisties enjoying a fast drive, I do not like banter in the vehicle. Better yet, do it alone without passengers. On the other hand, on long distance drives on major highways, I encourage moderate banter. It keeps me alert and in good spirits.

3. In winter, I let ice cold air in occasionally to feel refreshed. Always maintain a temperate environment inside your car, not too cool or too hot. It'll make you uncomfortable after a while, causing distraction.

4. When decelerating on a highway with vehicles behind you, tap the brake couple of times to flash the brake lights to warn the drivers behind, BEFORE reducing your speed using a lower gear for engine breaking.

5. High beams are ok, may be even warranted, especially on two-lane roads when there are no vehicles in front of you or, coming from the opposite side. I use them even here on the Interstates on long stretches.

6. Avoid mixing alcohol and driving.

Last edited by GTO : 9th January 2013 at 10:49. Reason: Rule #11
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Old 9th January 2013, 08:46   #82
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Well written GTO and thanks a ton.
There are so many points which are so practical and correct that they often tend to be ignored. I have shared this link with many of my driving buddies who are not all on T-BHP but drive around a lot. I think if at least BHPians follow them we will stand out making a difference not only in cities but also on highways. Who knows seeing us doing things right might induce at least some other folk to do it correctly.
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Old 9th January 2013, 08:56   #83
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Great new year Gift GTO, Amazing article, you covered almost all with exact driver's view,

(Be especially sensitive to pedestrians & two-wheelers. A knock at 80+ kph leaves little chance of survival for them.)

I had experienced it near vellore on chennai-bangalore highway where a super xl moped did a turn where there is no U turn, Thank God, i didn't hit him

Villagers make a small gap in the median to avoid driving a km or more and also to save fuel so, i would like to add a point that do not expect vehicles to turn only after a "U" turn signal

(• You might think you're a perfect driver, but don't forget to leave a safety margin for other people’s mistakes. )

True, after an accident and loss of four tooth in upper jaw now i know its not just about our skills on driving its also about skills of handling idiots on roads, so now i know a perfect driver is a one who drives without accident. not reaching the destination soon.

Never ever thought about a local bus in village would respond to my honking or flashing lights. They think its their road. So i will wait for him to move instead getting frustrated.

And your point ( Golden Rule : If you hesitate, don’t do it. ) is a very realistic things, though we all knew this sometime i had seen the drivers do take risk by risking others life (e.g.) a tata ace with 1 ton load and trying to overtake a tractor on an highway in spite of seeing vehicles coming behind fast.

(• Some drivers mistakenly use the right-hand-side blinker when it's safe to overtake them. This is a dangerous habit that you shouldn't trust. Reason: the vehicle ahead could actually be indicating (correctly) that he is about to turn right, and it would be disastrous if you were overtaking as he began turning right.)

OMG, this is very true, we will be badly fooled with this and also i had seen headlights on in dippers next to taillights, that's disgusting.

I had personally seen a driving school instructor telling the learner "never ever respond to the horns or flashes - keep going"

I was like "what the heck" this guys spoiling the civic sense of learners that intern causes lots and lots of accidents.

Is there any way we can ask Government to scrutinize the RTO regulations ?

Thanks once again, trtraj
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Old 9th January 2013, 09:16   #84
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

@GTO, Awesome ready reference.

Quote:
• You might think you're a perfect driver, but don't forget to leave a safety margin for other people’s mistakes.
+100. I for one, still believe that if I return home safely, its not only about my driving. It was all because of the fellow drivers who have helped me in reaching home safe

And the mis-use of indicators are becoming more and more nuisance. I am not sure who was the "inventor" of this standard-breaking. Probably, its time to have driving license test every few years, say 5 yrs to renew.
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Old 9th January 2013, 09:44   #85
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Very nice compilation.. and a very nice reminder to all highway drivers, occasional or frequent!

One point on which I would differ is on night-driving. I find it much more convenient to drive long distance at night - if there are AT LEAST two competent highway drivers per vehicle. The advantage is no autos, mopeds, school children and other unpredictables Of course, the drivers need to be personally responsible for their rest prior to the drive.

I must add that by far the most annoying highway drivers are the ones who bring their 'city-driving' mentality with them. Around Bangalore, it is the Indicabs, TT's and even many private cars being driven around steady highway traffic like they were in medium traffic on a ring road. My heart goes out to the heavy-laden trucker who has to slam his brakes on a slope because he got cut off nastily.

Maybe we do need a separate classification of licences for highway driving
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Old 9th January 2013, 10:42   #86
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Quote:
Originally Posted by manesh_nambiar View Post
9. Tip for overtaking on curvy roads like long highway ghats : Before overtaking a vehicle on a left-curve, first see from the left of the vehicle to get a better view of the on coming vehicles along the curve, and then overtake from the right.
Overtaking on a curvy stretch of the road should be avoided in the first place.

I also advice not to rely on the signal given by the truck/bus drivers ahead of you and make your own assessment before overtaking.

I have also seen a tendency to overtake multiple vehicles in one go. This can be very tricky. Experienced drivers know how to use the momentum but fall back and sneak in to the gap between the trucks if required. But IMO it is better avoided.
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Old 9th January 2013, 11:49   #87
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

One of the most irritating or troublesome aspect of driving at night is continuous High-beam from on coming traffic.

How to get around this or whatz the solution ? I get blinded and not amount of signalling works for them.

Especially while driving on expressway (Mumbai-Pune) while descending the ghat section the high-beam from on coming (Mumbai side) blinds you.

Very dangerous and have to slow down quite a bit, but scary because the guy behind you might be speeding due to slopes and may not be able to control it.

Also, heavy trailers hog lanes making it difficult, but no option to overtake from left, which is very risky.

How to drive safe in this case.

Cheers
MKP
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Old 9th January 2013, 12:31   #88
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by mkpiyengar View Post
One of the most irritating or troublesome aspect of driving at night is continuous High-beam from on coming traffic.

How to get around this or whatz the solution ? I get blinded and not amount of signalling works for them.
1. Slow your vehicle.

2. Switch your high-beam for a short duration to indicate that he is on High beam. Probably he have been driving long with high beam and forgot to switch to low.

3. And pray he has road safety knowledge

Seriously, this has become a big issue, but unless each individual corrects himself, you cannot impost such practice.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 9th January 2013, 12:44   #89
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Thanks a ton GTO for the brilliant write up. Our highways have transformed over the years as have the quality of vehicles. The result is higher speeds, less margin for errors and potentially fatal accidents.

I would like to add some points which I have gained from my experience of driving on our four laned highways.

- While driving on four laned highways it is a good idea to slow down to a controllable speed when the road is curving ahead, even though the curve may allow you to carry on the same speed. The reason being you never know what lies ahead. It could be a badly designed speed breaker or a junction or a tractor coming in the wrong direction.


- If a truck or bus is overtaking another big vehicle do not follow the faster vehicle blindly. There could be a vehicle coming on the wrong side just ahead of the bus and he may have calculated just enough room for his vehicle to pass. Basically don't assume that you are on a divided highway and there is no chance of a vehicle coming from the opposite side.

- Many of our highways have sections which are undergoing widening or are work-in-progress. On a perfect stretch of four lane highway you may suddenly find vehicles coming from the wrong side and at speed. Be prepared for such eventualities. Making assumptions on our highways is a dangerous thing to do.


- Watch your mirrors. You may be driving at a safe speed, but you may suddenly get tangled with two cars racing each other. When people are racing, their only aim to is get ahead of each other. To that end they will tailgate you , try to squeeze in the safe gap that you have kept in front of you, overtake you from the wrong side etc... So keep an eye in your mirrors for fast approaching vehicles. And if you spot any, don't make any unpredictable moves. Just stick to your lane and let them maniacs pass.

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 9th January 2013 at 12:48.
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Old 9th January 2013, 13:22   #90
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkpiyengar View Post
One of the most irritating or troublesome aspect of driving at night is continuous High-beam from on coming traffic.

How to get around this or whatz the solution ? I get blinded and not amount of signalling works for them.
Hi MKP,

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but I can share a system I was introduced to by my dad and have been using from the days of single-carriageway highways. I would move to the extreme left, and just watch the edge of the tarred road, keeping my vehicle as far to the edge as possible. Do this until the oncoming vehicle passes so that your vision when you look ahead again is not full of flickering afterglow like a Christmas tree! This calls for an inordinate amount of trust in the oncoming driver, and you just have to assume that his wish to get in an accident is as miniscule as yours.

In these days of dual-carriageways, it is slightly easier, as the plants in the median are designed to block headlights from blinding the other driver.

Another quick fix is to turn your head slightly to the left, with your eyes on the hard shoulder, meaning you can see in front of you using peripheral vision.

Any engineers on here, I wish to patent an idea for a spring-loaded high-beam controller. The driver can never keep the headlights on high, but can flash to high-beam when needed A pipe-dream, I know, but let's hope.

Also, ask me about my idea for the time-sensitive and limited-play horn that should be made mandatory!
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