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Old 17th January 2013, 00:16   #16
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Fantastic thread and is a definite reference manual.
If there is a rear fog lamp this has to be used with a watch on the RVM as an alert mechanism and definitely if you are waiting at signals in the night in a On OFF pattern and pumping brake pedal which would alert drivers coming fast from behind. Keep a watch on the Rear View mirrors also. Instances of vehicles crashing onto those waiting at signals are many. Never ever wait at signals with your headlamps on Hi beam mode.
Keep chewing gums and hard chocolates handy as they are dozing avoiders.

Last edited by rajeev k : 17th January 2013 at 00:34.
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Old 17th January 2013, 00:34   #17
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Wow, excellent thread GTO, thank you for compiling all information and putting it at one place. I had gone through quite a few of these threads when i was planning my 3 state trip.
If at all I need to drive at night, I make sure to keep the window a wee bit open to let the fresh air circulate.
Not doing so I feel is kind of dangerous, especially during winters.

Reason - As we breathe out carbon dioxide, sooner or later the level of oxygen diminishes and since CO2 being odourless is not something which you would come to know of immediately. Lack of good supply of O2 is going to have a direct impact on your ability to react, cause drowsiness, excess fatigue all in all affecting your concentration and danger is usually lurking around the corner.
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Old 17th January 2013, 11:55   #18
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Excellent GTO. Very well narrated. I have seen few of the disasters which occur due to mistake of truck drivers which was behind steering for almost 30 hours in a wake to delivered good in time.
Just like you I also love to cruise at night. Now I will make sure that I will follow all the rules strictly, which you have mentioned. Thanks for such a wonderful piece of info.

Just one question. You have mentioned about day and night feature for internal rear view mirror. I have never noticed this in my swift dzire. Do we need to retrofit the same or is there any adjustment which we need to make. Can you please throw some light on it.
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Old 17th January 2013, 12:27   #19
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

An excellent thread GTO and all points mentioned are valid.

I have observed a lot of drivers not giving importance to the wiper blades and wash fluids and many a times they are the most important things that make the difference in visibility.

I too love night driving, though not till the early hours of the next day. At every stop, I wipe the windscreen of all the accumulated dirt and then only proceed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilless View Post
I have never noticed this in my swift dzire. Do we need to retrofit the same or is there any adjustment which we need to make. Can you please throw some light on it.
There should be a knob (lever) protruding somewhere in the lower middle part of the rear view mirror with provision for a forward / backward movement. I am sure the Dzire must have it
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Old 17th January 2013, 12:31   #20
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by pugram View Post

There should be a knob (lever) protruding somewhere in the lower middle part of the rear view mirror with provision for a forward / backward movement. I am sure the Dzire must have it
Thanks for quick reply. I will check the same and revert. Although Thanks for this info about day and night rear view. I was not aware of the fact.
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Old 17th January 2013, 13:14   #21
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Thanks GTO! Another very helpful write up as always I will chip in with my 2c..

1. If you must drive at night, get a pair of good quality glares which help amp up vision. A few notable names include the Oakley Jawbones and the Gunnar's. The Oakley's are really good with an advantage of changing your lenses when you switch over to day mode! Like wise if you are on a bike, make sure you get a spare clear visor as against your tinted visor and wear these glasses underneath. NEVER continue with the tinted visor no matter how good your upgraded lamps are!

2. I generally avoid rice as it makes me drowsy, see what food acts against your driving and counter it!

3. Make sure your automobile is in tip top condition and always tank up full. You never know how far and between fuel pumps may be.

4. Last but not the least, start early, leave early. Always wise to leave early in the morning and reach early, rather than stretching the drive late into the evening.

Last edited by coolmel : 17th January 2013 at 13:17.
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Old 17th January 2013, 13:17   #22
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Excellent article GTO! Until a few years ago, I used to drive only in the night, because of my years of doing night shifts and that I tend to be a lot more fresh during the night.

I guess this happened in 2008, when I was driving from Bangalore to Chennai at around 2 AM. I was before the forest kinda area near krishnagiri. I saw a bunch of guys from a distance near the bushes. I saw one of them throwing something white in color on to my car. Thanks to my presence of mind, i immediately realized they are going to throw that thingy on to my windscreen and make me stop so they can mug me. Since its a highway and they may not be able to chase me down even if I stop, I also knew they would have another gang waiting to do the mugging a little further. All this thinking happened in a fraction of a second.

But what I did not realize the thing they threw is not the typical egg that robbers use, it was a white polythene cover filled with Oil. The moment it landed on my windshield it blinded my visibility partly, but I chose not to stop and drive as much as I could. I drove as cautiously as I could without stopping on the left side of the road and reached the next toll booth, which thankfully was only a Km away. Since I always carry all cleaning gear in the car i was able to clean the windshield near the toll booth and continue my driving.

I probably was able to continue driving because the nut job that threw the cover could not aim it correctly on the driver side of the windshield. It landed partly on the passenger side. I still had 25% glare free area in my side of the glass.

Now that's one more reason to not drive in the night!

Another very important point that I would like to mention is to be doubly cautious when driving in the twilight time (between 6 to 8 PM types). You will see a lot more people crossing the road, super XL mopeds driving on the far right or far left of the road, than you would see in the afternoon or in the night.
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Old 17th January 2013, 14:02   #23
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Excellent article GTO!

If your drive consists of a transition period, Twilight to be precise, Wait at a safe place and don't drive for 15-20 minutes.

The light or absence of it at the twilight can do funny things to the distance - time calculation and anticipation of traffic.

Some drivers have a habit of continuing to drive without headlights till it is pitch dark. It is very dangerous indeed. So avoid confrontation with such fools by stopping for few minutes.

I plan my refreshment stop accordingly, so no more time is wasted.

Cheers,
Abhijeet
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Old 17th January 2013, 14:14   #24
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Super article! Exhaustive and still crisp!
Extremely important, especially in Indian context. I used to be a big fan of night time driving. Slowly realized its not worth the risk.

When I am blinded by oncoming traffic, I can not slow down drastically because of the fear of being rear-ended and at the same time, I am not able to see anything on the road!

I realized that many times it is just a leap of faith. Highways like NH17, from Mumbai to Goa are especially bad at night because of the large number of bends and curves. Many times I have realized that I am driving on low-beam and something does not feel right. I switch to high-beam and realize that I am headed straight for a tree as the road is turning.

A momentary lapse could be fatal. Definitely not worth the risk. If you have to, maintain significantly low speeds as compared to day-time driving.

Last edited by SDP : 17th January 2013 at 14:18.
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Old 17th January 2013, 15:04   #25
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Excellent article GTO

Hope some day such tips will appear in our RTO offices also.

One suggestion from my side:

At toll plazas, always stick to lanes even if it takes more time.

At night, due to high density of trucks, these truck drivers just don't care about other vehicles, specially hatches.
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Old 17th January 2013, 15:32   #26
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Superb once again, a double whammy after the article on driving on highways.

A few things for the note from the experiences:
1. Night driving in remote unknown and turbulent areas is not a good idea unless utmost necessary. Even if it is required always make sure to have atleast one co-passenger as already mentioned.

Case in point: Driving thru turbulent areas of remote North-Western MP, Neemuch had quite a unnerving experience quite sometime back. It is an area where people used to get robbed due to flattened tyres from nail plates, stones and other such things put conspicuously on the road. We had an experience wherein our 800 tyre was partially damaged but did not go bust fortunately on those roads and seeing some malicious elements rushing from dark, we chose to drive on immediately without stopping to have a look and reached destination somehow with tyre damaged at the end of the run but saved ourselves graciously. Quite commendable that 800 gave us true support even with that damaged tyre to come out of that dangerous situation.

2. Mumbai-Pune Expressway, not much safe at night either. One may take it for granted given the clean stretches through the ghat in addition to the straight stretches. But many trucks and cars take it for their own road especially in night time and rev hard thinking its a easy and fast drive and they have a right of way over others. Sometimes they drive the other sane drivers insane with the constant flashes of headlights. It is sometimes even not possible to distinguish trucks going at high speeds without proper tail-lights in those speeds.

I have often found and understood that people keep to the Middle and mostly Right Most lane to be on safer side instead of towards the edge of the road even if they are driving slow. Being on the Right Most lane/Center of the road helps by the reflectors/road line in the middle distinguishing the side of road clearly and keeping to the lane, middle lane can become problematic sometimes as the distinguishing lines are not visible always. The other drivers should be considerate in such cases and instead of asking for the center lane by constant flashing, rather shift and take the lane besides and let these sedate drivers drive on in their lanes. It does mean that sometimes you do have to take a wrong side overtaking. But with proper indicator signals and the span of the road and assuming that the ones driving faster are better at their driving, it should not be a big problem.

3. Neck strains the most in night drives and the after effects are not good. Unlike Day driving, night driving makes driver focus constantly in single direction causing rigid necks and the biggest problem of tunnel vision whereby the side vision blurs out and by chance you may miss anything that is passing you. Hence, habit should be made to deliberately keep shifting focus between the IRVM and ORVMs, glancing sideways at the other lanes and make neck movements as much as possible.
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Old 17th January 2013, 15:42   #27
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Forgot one more thing:

I invariably get a headache in the morning, after a night-driving session. Most likely its due to the large number of contract-expand cycles the iris goes through (contraction when blinded by oncoming traffic and expansion when trying to see in the dark). The headache wastes the next day anyways, which further reinforces the futility of the night-drive.
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Old 17th January 2013, 15:56   #28
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Smile Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

As always GTO - Thanks a ton for the superb writeup. Nicely put down all those critical points one must reinforce in one self when it comes to night driving. Although night driving if avoided in totalilty is great but if unavoidable then this thread is the holy bible.

I would like to add one thing which I feel is very critical is good torch and sufficiently stocked medical kit. Add to this a few bare neccesities like a handy tool kit always helps. One should ensure that one gets a break to free legs even if the person is wide awake. Emergency contact numbers of areas to be travelled should be home worked before the start of the journey.

Pls dont switch on the High beams just because some moron drivers do and your vision is blinded (no need to get even), your journey must be safe.
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Old 17th January 2013, 16:40   #29
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by pushpender_s View Post
Excellent article GTO

Hope some day such tips will appear in our RTO offices also.

One suggestion from my side:

At toll plazas, always stick to lanes even if it takes more time.

At night, due to high density of trucks, these truck drivers just don't care about other vehicles, specially hatches.
My experience is that at toll plazas it is the hatches and sedans who try to crash in (lanecrash?) and trucks generally follow rules.
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Old 17th January 2013, 16:49   #30
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
If oncoming lights really bother you, use another car / bus / truck as a lead vehicle. Stress levels are cut by 50% instantly, as long as you follow a well-driven lead vehicle at a safe distance. Our family calls this car the “sweeper” car as it will block oncoming headlamps, clear traffic for you and also give you ample warning of unmarked speed-breakers, potholes & sharp curves that might otherwise be missed. Of course, don’t follow a lead car blindly. If he drives off a cliff, you don’t want to follow him down.
To add to this:
Let the lead car go, if he is too fast

We had a similar situation sometime back. We were on a scorpio and my friend at the wheel.
Driving back towards Sirsi along the western Ghats. We were following a Qualis who overtook us and was a little too fast for our comfort.
There was a dip, a hump and a sudden bridge along a right turn.
The Qualis made the turn without much effort (Cause he knew those roads maybe)
Our car, as soon as it hit the hump, took off, and the front wheels landed a few meters away and we had just enough time for the steering to kick in and make the right turn.
That was a scary, off-control incident while driving in the dark.
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