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Old 17th January 2013, 17:07   #31
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Fantastic article.
The only thing I want to add is when in doubt - stop. If you are unsure whether the beast in front of you is a bike / auto / one eyed monster - slow down and stop.
If you see one truck / bus overtaking another from the opposite side - slow down and stop.
Do not try to move left and squeeze through the shoulder. This is true for daytime travelling as well but especially nights, when you can't see.

Once a cab I was travelling in moved left to let a truck go and next thing we know the car was tilted at 45 degrees. Turns out the shoulder had caved in.
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Old 17th January 2013, 18:42   #32
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

One of the best threads and neatly put...

Just flashed memories of my recent trip this 12- 14 Jan'13 weekend on the Calicut - Mysore Highway.

I ended up having to drive in the twilight period on the way to mysore and really had a bad experience with two State Transport Buses in a sort of formula one race with each other with scant respect for other vehicles on the road.

Their antics almost pushed a Jeep coming from opposite direction loaded with people off the highway. It was only after these guys got stuck behind a long trailer that they came to their senses.

Strongly agree that at the first yawn one should get off the road take a nap or freshen completely before moving.. thats exactly what I did once we reached Mandya....

There is no point in taking risks with international standards cars on non - Standard roads / driving conditions.
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Old 17th January 2013, 22:53   #33
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by veyron_head View Post
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.
Whoa! So such things do happen in highways. Better not to drive at night than getting mugged or worse killed for the ride.

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
[*]Cigarettes (but don't let that smoke get into your eyes)
With due respect, I think you should not smoke or advise people to smoke in a public forum. Anyway, smoking with windows rolled up might increase carbon monoxide inside the vehicle to dangerous levels. Even more, the smoke would reduce visibility I think. And driving with windows rolled down is a strict no-no at night.
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Old 18th January 2013, 01:06   #34
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Thumbs up Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
[center]On the Highway

• 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.
Good article, GTO.

I just wanted to add a point here. I request all the cars who tail the sweeper to switch to low beams as much as possible. I've been the 'sweeper' many times and I do not mind it, frankly speaking. But with the constant glare, it gets irritating as you cannot see much behind. And it's dangerous as the sweeper needs to keep a constant eye on the activity at the rear. When this happens, I either speed and lose them or, take a break and let them disappear.
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Old 18th January 2013, 08:26   #35
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Thanks GTO!
I tried to avoid night driving during my recent trip Kerala. Some reasons:
  • Lesser time to react in regular 2-lane roads (with the better roads we have, the oncoming vehicles close-in much faster)
  • Permanent high-beam mode
  • One-eyed monsters - I don’t understand why truck drivers decide to drive with one head-light (left) on.
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Old 18th January 2013, 09:02   #36
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Excellent and timely article. With the number of accidents one hears of lately, we need to take every precaution to ensure our safety as drivers.

I used to hate night driving earlier because you can't really see anything you're driving past- for me the journey is as important as the destination and it used to irk me that I'm missing out on something. But with age and experience, realised that there are some situations where night driving is actually preferable, especially on familiar routes.

The other night we had to leave from Bombay around 9:30 since there was school to attend and important meetings in office the next day. I'd had a busy day and thought twice before heading out but in the end it was evident that starting early was not going to be a solution. So I had some hot coffee and a very light snack before leaving. On the way, got the chattiest of our group to sit up front and asked her to keep feeding me gum to chew. Gum helps keep me awake. And for the first time I can remember, I blasted Megadeth and Foo Fighters on the stereo with the whole family present and nobody complaining


Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
With due respect, I think you should not smoke or advise people to smoke in a public forum. Anyway, smoking with windows rolled up might increase carbon monoxide inside the vehicle to dangerous levels. Even more, the smoke would reduce visibility I think. And driving with windows rolled down is a strict no-no at night.
I agree, SS-da. Even in my smoking days I never lit up while driving. It is too much of a distraction: your one hand is occupied, you worry about tapping the ash, you worry about getting it on the upholstery, you worry about burning your fingers (literally). And the last thing you need is smoke getting into your eyes. This is of course assuming you light up while driving. If you stop for a cig break that is even more dangerous at night.
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Old 18th January 2013, 09:50   #37
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Those driving with their high beams on can blind you on single lane highways (lesser of an issue on expressways though).
Thank you for this thread GTO, and the statement above. It somehow takes the guilt away of me constantly driving with high beam on expressways. I think the higher the speed the longer the visibility needed, hence the need for better headlamps especially on expressways.

On Single lane highways one does not need high beam so much as speeds are much lower and in my experience i have felt safer on single lane highways as everyone usually drives much slower as compared to expressways.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 18th January 2013 at 09:52.
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Old 18th January 2013, 10:42   #38
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Thanks for the great tips GTO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pushpender_s View Post

At night, due to high density of trucks, these truck drivers just don't care about other vehicles, specially hatches.
I found the other way round. On Toll plazas, most of hatchbacks and sedans switch lanes without even caring for the other vehicles going on the straight line.
I found truck drivers to be more polite in Toll Plazas, always sticking to left lanes and sometimes leaving way for other vehicles to get through.
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Old 18th January 2013, 10:58   #39
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Excellent article GTO. Thank you! Thanks also to SS-T for your invaluable rules (and good that you edited and removed objectionable advise).

One more problem with night driving is that you don't get too many people to advise you of correct direction and you have to either rely on your knowledge of the GPS which could be erratic. Here's what I faced in November 2010 while driving down from Hazaribagh to Samastipur (actual drive was from Noida to Samastipur going via Hazaribagh to meet relatives) and proved horrendous!

I started at evening from Hazaribagh and it was already dark when we crossed Nawada. I had mapmyindia gps device and I was pretty confident with it as till now it has shown the correct route. The route it displayed was Nawada-BiharSharif-Barbigha-Mokamah-Barauni (highlighted in Blue in the attached map pic) whereas the route should have been the one highlighted in Green and this is where it faltered. I took to route in full confidence, reached Barbigha where I asked one pan-shop walla just to confirm. He didn't stated anything about the route I was going to take, but said that I should go to Lakhisarai & then via Barahia (route highlighted in Purple. Another person at the shop said that I could go via the route I was taking!

First 10 Kms of the 35 Km route was absolutely fine road, though just two lanes without a divider. Then gravel started and after 5 Kms more, the conditioned worsened. It was some victorian era road, marked as SH and even I saw NH markers at places, built over a bundh on the banks of Ganges! Just see the condition of the road in the picture attached and you'd see the road condition!

Further, there was a big crane occupying the entire width of the so called road, silent and not moving. I came down and found one person sitting and staring in what was about 20 feet deep and about 200 mtrs long trench.. the bundh has washed away in recent rainy seasons. He said that about an hour ago, a car jumped off the other side and rescue operations were on! We had to take our Scorpio via the tapered temporary road into cultivated fields and watery ditches to negotiate the trench and in about 3 hours, we completed the 35 km stretch. Thank God it was a Scorpio that I was driving as there would have been no way but to turn back, and further spend the entire night negotiating the road (mind it, there were no hotels, no dhabas or anything in that stretch, so we couldn't have even called it a day).

That day, I made a promise to myself.. no driving after 2000 Hrs in unknown territory.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by GTO : 18th January 2013 at 12:08. Reason: No more than 2 smilies per post please
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Old 18th January 2013, 11:01   #40
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
If there is a rear fog lamp this has to be used...
Err... a quick note. Please DO NOT use rear fog lamps when there is visibility above 100m. Yesterday, I had a RR Evoque for company on the highway before dawn, with a bad young driver driving all over the place, and with the rear fog lamps switched on in zero fog... and they are REALLY bright, to the point that they were hampering my vision.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
I think you should not smoke or advise people to smoke in a public forum.
You're right - what I wrote came across a bit like "start smoking to stay awake", which is definitely not what I meant. My advice applies only to those who are already smokers, with no plans to quit! My apologies, and I would prefer not to enter into a debate about the negative effects of smoking on this thread!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
  • Cigarettes...
Take your pick from the above, see what suits you...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dutta_d1 View Post
...smoking with windows rolled up might increase carbon monoxide inside the vehicle to dangerous levels. Even more, the smoke would reduce visibility I think. And driving with windows rolled down is a strict no-no at night.
I usually roll down the driver's window by an inch or so, and have door visors - the Bernoulli effect pulls the smoke out of the car cabin instantly when driving at speed, and no rain water enters either.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 18th January 2013 at 11:02.
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Old 18th January 2013, 13:19   #41
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

THanks GTO for another brilliant write up. A great follow up to your article on safe driving practices to be followed for highway driving.

Night highway driving is a strict no no in our family. We plan our journey in such a way that we reach our destination latest by 8 pm. Starting out early in the morning has a lot advantages. With a fresh body and fresh mind I am able to enjoy the drive much more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
you’ll usually achieve a higher average speed, despite maintaining a lower top speed. Primary reason = Lesser traffic.
I don't know if that statement holds good these days. Just look at the toll gates at!! Night buses have become so popular that the highways are flooded with passenger buses in the night. Truck operators also prefer starting out at night. They typically collect loads from customers throughout the day and depart at night. The cooler air is surely an attraction for them too and in their business they just cannot afford to ignore fuel saving tactics.
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Old 18th January 2013, 14:35   #42
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Thanks GTO and other contributors. Few guidelines I follow:

1. Take what you get - If you find a well lit decent looking pump/dhaba/hotel - stop and get refuelling/eating done. There is no predictably on when the next one will come along.

2. Halt where you see decent number of vehicles, preferably where ST/buses stop. More people = more safety

3. Do not set targets. Do not decide to take a break when you cover certain kms. It will tend to make one drive faster and/or set moving targets. I always take a break after 120 mins of driving. Earlier when point 1 above comes into play.
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Old 18th January 2013, 15:10   #43
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Disadvantages of Driving @ Night:
• Poorer Visibility! The visibility factor is down to less than half at night. However powerful your headlamps might be, they simply can't compete with the sun . Colour perception is reduced too, as headlights don't emit anywhere near as wide a light spectrum as the sun. You won’t see that nasty boulder in your path from as far away as during the day.
To be factually more correct: the visibility is MUCH MUCH less than half.
In photography terms - a bright sunny day is 15 Ev.
Cloudy (you can't see shadows on ground) is 13 Ev
Sunset/sunrise (no artificial lighting) is 11 Ev.
Times Square at night is 8 Ev.

Every reduction in 1 Ev = half the light.
Assuming that cloudy day is baseline there is a reduction of 5 Ev when we reach artificial illumination!
Of course no one has car headlights as strong as hundreds of city lights!!

5 Ev reduction = 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 ... 5 times = 3%!!!

The light in times square at night is 3% of what is there during a cloudy day.
Light in front of a vehicle would be safely 1/4th of this number.

Last edited by alpha1 : 18th January 2013 at 15:25.
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Old 18th January 2013, 19:05   #44
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Err... a quick note. Please DO NOT use rear fog lamps when there is visibility above 100m.
(quote Originally Posted by rajeev k If there is a rear fog lamp this has to be used.unquote)
You've quoted my post in part only and this has changed the context completely. Kindly read it in full. I have mentioned vividly on its use. take a look again.

Last edited by rajeev k : 18th January 2013 at 19:10.
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Old 18th January 2013, 19:33   #45
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Guidelines & Tips for Safe NIGHT Driving

Thanks GTO, for an excellent article and link compilation. I have hated night driving ever since I once drove for twelve hours on NH3/NH6 nine years ago. I had a bad experience with headlights from oncoming vehicles (especially because I was driving a Zen with it's low CG!) I had a bad day the next day and the day after! It was an emergency situation then and I had no choice. But I decided I'll never drive at night after that.

Until recently. The four lane divided highways of today help reduce the pain of being faced by high beams. In fact, I plan to do a dusk to dawn drive at least once in the next year or so.

One fact though -- I'd agree with all the comments about twilight. It is a dangerous period to be on the highway:
  • The eyes are still getting used to the drastic drop in ambient light.
  • Idiots on the road refuse to switch on their headlights or even city lights.
  • Everyone around you is still in the racing mode they were in during the day.
  • Because of the sun's light being reflected from the sky, you don't get a good contrast on the road with your own headlights. You tend to miss small things like a man/animal walking besides the road, people trying to cross the road, etc.

I had one particular bad experience during this time of the day. Coming from Hyderabad, I was driving sedately with my headlights on (dipped), when I suddenly see an Accent being driven very slowly but with no lights right in front of me! I had to brake suddenly. Thankfully there was no one behind me or I'd have had a triple car accident at that spot!

Last edited by nileshch : 18th January 2013 at 19:34.
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