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Old 2nd November 2012, 08:10   #61
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Firstly, thanks a lot @SDP for this very useful thread. The expressway is a good road, but not a runway. The quality of this road is not such that it can support high-speed driving. The limit on speed is set not merely by the ability of our car, but also by the quality of the road; and above all the surprises that can spring up on the road. I have squirmed in the seat of a Merc being driven at high speed on the Autobahn by my German friend who thought he will show off to a wee Indian. I think he was being rather foolish. Then you can imagine what I think about a huge Volvo going at 120 on the mewpex, which has so many irregularities, and so many bad drivers who could send you off.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 10:26   #62
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Thank you SDP, for choosing to post these, although as you rightly put it, we know all of these and come across most of these at regular intervals from various sources.
But I feel it is imperative that we should be constantly be reminded at regular intervals on the perils of rash and negligent driving, even at the cost of repetition.
It is like the famous pregnancy vow, the moment we come across an accident, we tend to drive consciously for some time, and then, "time, the great leveller" takes over and lets us indulge in all stupid heroics (we and us here starts from me). We should realise that excess-speeding is not worth the risk.
Thanks once again.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 10:34   #63
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
Very valid and good points put forward by the IRB person. It's a thankless job that he's doing, but it's due to people like him; that things are in order most of the times.

On a personal note, I hate the expressway. Everything is straight, not much twisties or traffic. So much so, that the constant drone of the engine lulls you and you start feeling drowsy. It's all the more pronounced when you have rolled up the windows and the A/C is on; until you look at the speedo, you never know you have crossed 100-110kmph. I prefer driving on the expressway with the windows rolled down.

What's the situation on the old NH4? Since it's a 4 laned highway, are the speeds lower?
I personally prefer the old NH4, after the initial "thrill" of the E-way had subsided. Only then did I realise that its much, much less crowded, much much more scenic, idyllic, and one can easily drive at 70-80km/hr.

You only need to be more "aware" at the villages and where side roads join plus sometimes some extra long trailer trying a ridiculous U turn! But given the winding course and the views, you are much less likely to fall asleep.

Plus there's Ramakant @ Khopoli, Kamat, Rajmaachi & all the chikki works @ Lonavla-Khandala, Tony Da Dhaaba @ Kamshet!!

Now with flyovers in Panvel as well, you reach Kalamboli (where the E-way ends) much sooner too, without taking the Panvel bypass toll road.

What do you pay for all this, you ask? 15 minutes more and half the toll price!
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Old 2nd November 2012, 10:52   #64
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Great Post.

Thank you for sharing.

I am a relatively new driver. I do not have many years of driving experience behind me like many on this forum do. I have driven mostly within the city and even here I observe a lot of people (literate people, responsible probably in other aspects of life) on an ego trip when behind the wheel. I say ego trip because I see no other reason for them to try to floor their accelerator or try rash maneuvers in the bumper to bumper traffic of Bangalore city.

Add to this the "bikers", who unfortunately, think that the footpath is meant for them as well, making it difficult for the pedestrians, especially the senior citizens who may not be very agile. Such behavior, I have seen amongst my colleagues as well. Sad, but true. When someone tries to tell them otherwise, they simply call ignore it or just make a huge joke out of it.
Truly, patience is a virtue not many have.

If this is the situation within the city, I can only imagine what highway driving would be like. Being a newbie, accounts like these only make me apprehensive to drive on a highway.

On the other hand, I have seen people stop to help others on the road. People who wait for people to cross the roads especially near hospitals and slow down for senior citizens.

Kudos to all such people and also to this gentleman and others in the highway patrol teams. These are people who probably never get as much credit as is due to them. God Bless them.

Drive safe.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 12:26   #65
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

A Very informative and enlightening post sir.

Once on the agra highway, a suitcase tied to the Roof of a qualis fell in the middle of the road. There was a Innova cab, bolero taxi behind and they somehow managed to avoid hitting it. There were buses zipping and avoiding. Fast cars seeing it a little late. I pulled the suitcase off the road immediately. While people around were unconcerned and having a good time looking at the scene some even laughing.

I have personally experienced on numerous trips that the "time saved" if drivng at 80-90 or 100-120 is not worth the risk. The difference is never more than 20 mins but the risk multiplies.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 14:37   #66
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

The concerns expressed by the IRB person are very much valid. I keep frequenting on this road and almost every trip I see a wrecked vehicle. To a large extent I would say it is the lack of highway driving manners. When we take tests for driving lessons I dont recall any questions being asked about highway driving, its all related to city commutes.

I have see people driving literally with suicidal tendencies on these roads. Changing lanes like flipping light switches. I try my best to keep myself in the middle lane owing to frequent instances when vehicles coming from opposite directions have jumped on to your side.

Drivers are the most vulnerable lot. Some car owners fail to realize that driver is no robot to work hours at stretch. I personally know a MD of a big group who is so busy that he does not like to waste time sleeping at home he prefers to sleep in car while travelling but he expects his driver to work 18 hours at stretch !! a definite recipe for misfortune

Observe lane discipline, control your urge for speed, wear seatbelts and be alert
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Old 3rd November 2012, 10:39   #67
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

The most important point is being discussed over here. Everyone knows the truth that Going fast would cause more damages. If something happens, the price paid cannot be recovered in ones entire life. I have seen many other threads, where the person has explained the same stuff but, put in different ways.

Going at 80 is always safe, but some times a idiot overtakes us in a M800 or some other car, the ones in big cars will start overtaking him and try to show the power of their cars. I have observed it. Even i do it sometimes , but it takes a couple of minutes to realize the fact and then i will slow down.

Those few minutes could be ones worst moments in his entire life. In my case i need to change this behavior. Thanks to this thread.

Guys, pour in some advice on how to hold on horses when someone overtakes us. Ego comes up first saying you have 100 + horses under your hood. Most powerful car, something like this pops up in my mind.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 11:05   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemi_kk
The most important point is being discussed over here. Everyone knows the truth that Going fast would cause more damages. If something happens, the price paid cannot be recovered in ones entire life. I have seen many other threads, where the person has explained the same stuff but, put in different ways.

Going at 80 is always safe, but some times a idiot overtakes us in a M800 or some other car, the ones in big cars will start overtaking him and try to show the power of their cars. I have observed it. Even i do it sometimes , but it takes a couple of minutes to realize the fact and then i will slow down.

Those few minutes could be ones worst moments in his entire life. In my case i need to change this behavior. Thanks to this thread.

Guys, pour in some advice on how to hold on horses when someone overtakes us. Ego comes up first saying you have 100 + horses under your hood. Most powerful car, something like this pops up in my mind.
Self control is best control. When you realise you have nothing to prove to anybody you would not have the urge to jump the gun.

I've had moments when I grit my teeth and my face turns red. Few years back that would mean I would wreck the heck out of the other driver. Now I just take a few deep breaths, try to listen intently to the music thats playing and in a span of 20secs the gritting and grunting stops and I am back to my normal self.
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Old 4th November 2012, 00:07   #69
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Quote:
Originally Posted by raycers_honda View Post
I always stick to the fast lane most of the time and let other cars make the effort of doing the lane changing etc
I'm afraid buddy, but I don't think that's the best thing to do. Sticking to speed limit is a very good thing, but hogging the over-taking lane is not. It's perfectly fine if you are on the right lane to overtake someone, but sticking to the right lane with the left lane empty makes you a rule breaker

Again, I don't advocate over-speeding, but speedometers are known to have 10% of error, at times even more! Meaning, if your speedo shows 80, you might as well be actually doing just 70, and some one behind you may possibly be doing 90 with his speedo showing just 80!

I feel, anything that could cause your fellow drivers to do sudden maneuvers or braking is unsafe, and is best avoided.

Btw, it may be a moot point now but the Expressway was originally designed for 120kmph and at one point in time, it actually had 120 speed limit signs.
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Old 4th November 2012, 00:15   #70
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post

I thanked him again and drove off.
A very good topic indeed and I always enjoy reading and commenting on safety topics.

I particularly liked this sentence, many a times we tend to forget to say thank you to people who do good work like these or sorry to even small mistakes we do.. We realize them at a very later stage. so a to you SDP

One main point which I felt missing in this whole conversation was rash driving. I have not driven in that Mumbai - Pune expressway, so I really do not know, but have driven NH's from Bangalore towards south and drivers here are very rash, they drive at high speeds and criss-cross like they drive inside city and closely follow you in a way that if you brake suddenly they would go over you. As discussed by you people, they want to go faster. For saving 15-20 mins they not only risk themselves and people who drive in the right speeds too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raycers_honda View Post

Also another thing I find very irritating is the use of hazard lights while in rainy day or in the tunnel. They should just keep the parking lights on and drive.
The blinking lights confuse and give the illusion of a car stopping for an emergency.
Well exactly my thoughts too..Whenever there is heavy rain particularly in Bangalore, people start using hazard lights..you can see all cars from Nano to a BMW using hazard when in rains. I do not understand how will they identify a parked vehicle and to my surprise I have seen parked vehicles in the middle of the road with hazards too, so is this person genuine, according to the way all do the same mistake, it would be the mistake of the person who has stopped his vehicle and not the one who hits him if at all there is an accident.. All these should be cultivated when going in for licence tests, and these mandatory things should be known to drivers, until then this is not going to change. Like other countries government should make licence tests stringent, else nothing is going to change. With the sales projection of being #1 in the world by 2050, all these things and discipline in driving should be taught.

In chennai, I have seen this - when people want to go straight in an intersection (of 4 roads), they use hazard lamps, god only knows from which traffic rule & regulations book they have learnt this from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raycers_honda View Post
Other points such as certain drivers never keep a lane discipline. For instance when on a bend a car on the middle lane suddenly creeps up to the extreme right lane so much so that I have to sit on my horn.
This is because of their inexperience in driving, particularly highways. You can easily make out whether a person is experienced or not when they take a curve on the highway, if they do not follow the lane, its better you leave them from your sight since they would always want to be faster than you

Quote:
Originally Posted by raycers_honda View Post
There have been instances where these illiterate idiots have thrown some garbage out of the car window/bus and it comes smashing into the windscreen often disturbing the driver.
When will these type of idiots ever learn something is a question that will stay a question forever.
Do you think its only with illiterates? I will give you an instance - One day when travelling in our office bus (Tech Park bus which is not our company bus, so anyone from techpark can use that bus) and one guy - a very well dressed IT professional in the front seat was having biscuits and he threw the wrapper after having it and it fell on me from his window. I thought of at-least making him realize that whatever he did was a mistake, so told him, can't you throw this in a dustbin after going home, he simply said sorry because it fell on me (at least he had known this courtesy) and took it from me and threw it on the road again. What else can you do here? So it's not the problem of illiteracy here, it's just the mindset of people. We never think this as a big mistake unlike other countries wherein they think this like a crime, else India would shine in every means. We Indians always follow many things when you go abroad but after coming from there, we just say that people in other countries are disciplined and not like people here ( we forget that "people here" also includes us) and we also do all sorts of things which we feel can be done here.. ( challega attitude). I try to change myself in many occasions, so encouraging others too on this for a better tomorrow.

Last edited by informmaha : 4th November 2012 at 00:29.
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Old 4th November 2012, 00:32   #71
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Very valid points for anyone using expressway.
My few cents:

1. What about heavy vehicles who don't even have brake lights on them which make them dangerous on any lane.

2. Heavy Usage of High Beams by vehicles on either side, which make it impossible to see unless you also switch to higher beam.

3. Hogging right most lane and not moving over even when the middle lane is free. Why can't the right lane be left for overtaking.

4. Just to overtake a slow moving vehicle on right most lane you need to do 2 lane cutting, first to switch to middle lane and second pass him and move to right lane. Two avoidable switch increasing possibility of accidents, just because guy in front does not want to move.

5. Self imposed speed limit of 120kmph, only if the road is clear.

6. Finally, we need to be doubly careful, just because guys around you are careless.

Drive Safe, and let others drive too !!

Cheers
MKP

Last edited by mkpiyengar : 4th November 2012 at 00:35. Reason: added few lines
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Old 4th November 2012, 00:54   #72
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Unfortunately it seems there is no substitute to age! Just see the number of people owning up to young age brash behaviour. If only people sobered up at a much earlier age.

Actually it all boils down to your upbringing. Let me be even more direct, it boils down to how your father (or mother) behaved in the face of aggression. Did he continuously honk and swear while rushing you to school when you missed that school bus? Did he value the other persons right to the same road space? Did he let the pedestrian cross first? And so on.

Only yesterday I woke myself up from a dream where that toll attendant wouldn't give me back my change. (I know dreams are silly). But I told my wife that I did not feel like a fight even in a dream!

We went by public transport today to 'purani dilli' for some special shopping. It involved the swanky DTC bus, the swankier Metro but boy was the street noisy. People honk unnecessarily. It's like a reflex. The result is an assault on your senses. I cringe everytime tbhpians complain of weak OEM horns.

We may have been (one of) the greatest civilisation(s) on earth once, but we are very ordinary people today. We are a nation of impatient and uncouth people. And that is exactly what we see on the express /highway. And at expressway speeds the problem gets magnified manifold.

In the lack of stricter licensing, the only glimmer of hope is age, unfortunately some or should I say most take much longer to grow up and some never do!

But honestly you can't blame everything on those charged up hormones of youth. It's time we all woke up. India accounts for only 1% of the world's vehicles but unfortunately has 10% of the world's accidents! Road accidents kill more people than major diseases. Imagine 'driving as a killer disease' instead of being a pleasure.

It's time to be proactive. Stop that person who honks incessantly. Tell him he listens to his own pressure horn the most, it's damaging his hearing the most, but politely. There is a chance he might listen.

Okay, rant over, I know it was one of those days..
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Old 4th November 2012, 05:08   #73
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Good post SDP! excellent insights from the IRB employee. I have been using the eway regularly since it opened when there were only 2 malls on either side to now when nearly the whole stretch has activity on both sides.

Its become crowded and weekend trips are sedate as the density of traffic ensures everyone is slow and alert.

After more than 200 plus trips on this road I have learnt a few lessons.

1. Most important don't get angry, irritated, agitated. Maturity is important, we can't control other people, its not an ideal world and there are all kinds of people, they exist and they behave irrationally. There is nothing you can do about this. Move on and enjoy your drive.

2. I tend to enter a zone of very high concentration on highways. You need to be very very alert on the expressway. Empty your pockets, make sure there is nothing in the car which will roll around and distract you. Keep your phone muted and away, you don't want to be distracted by messages, e-mails and missed calls. Do that during the break.

3. Yes do take breaks. I stop at all malls for a cup of tea.

4. I am not much of a music person on the highway, and prefer hearing the car and being aware of the surroundings. Anything that distracts you is not good.

5. The expressway always has some sort of lane closures, broken down vehicles, accidents, maintenance trucks on the overtaking lane. Always.

6. At night a lot of trucks don't have lights, stop unexpectedly, drivers could be drunk and erratic, you have to be very careful.

7. I have seen huge rocks, unexpected puddles of water on bends, copious quantities of soil, all on the overtaking lane. I have even been caught unawares and dumbfounded by a car coming in the opposite direction on the overtaking lane!! Again you need to be alert and do report these to the highway patrol. At night you will spot these very late so if you are too fast it will be difficult to control.

8. Track all cars behind you. Prefer the main rear view mirror, other cars can be fast, by the time you track all 3 mirrors you could land your self in a pickle.

9. Prefer the middle lane. Its less risky, you protect your self from someone who could be going very fast and other sorts of risks from the extreme sides of the road. Its not the smartest idea to be at 80 on the overtaking lane, apart from the proper reason of this being an overtaking lane and respecting highway etiquette, the person behind you may not expect to see a slow car and may not see you untill too late for instance on a curve. This is needless risk and extremely dangerous to yourself and others. This is not an arena to prove a point, you are here to reach a destination. If someone wants to overspeed or drive rashly the smart thing is to stay away from them.

10. If you see a slow trucker making a move for the overtaking lane, even though you know there is no way he will do it seeing how fast you are approaching I can assure you 9 out of 10 times he will move abruptly to the overtaking lane. Be prepared and slow down.

Last edited by raul : 4th November 2012 at 05:22.
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Old 4th November 2012, 10:24   #74
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Not just tyre punctures, but even a mechanical failure can be disastrous at high speeds. Few years back, I was driving my M800 back to Pune on the Pune-Bangalore highway, late evening. Had just refuelled the car, taken a break, checked the tyres and was back on the road. Was overtaking a bus when suddenly the car stalled ; no warning, nothing. Thankfully, I managed to steer the car safely on to side of the road - got a few curses from cars behind me who couldnt realize why I suddenly switched on the hazard lamps while overtaking and slowed. A mechanic told me that this was probably due to the poor quality fuel clogging up - said this problem sometimes hits older M800s.

Bottomline - Forget exceeding your limits, stay within them with a wide margin to spare. Get a video game or go on the race track to get your speed thrills.
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Old 4th November 2012, 12:33   #75
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

MKP, I so agree with you. Road hogging is a major irritant, heavy vehicles do it often but sometimes they aren't guilty. Us 'private users' and the educated lot will not let a truck who is overtaking another truck get back to its own lane. This is in spite of the guy seated next to the truck driver waving his hand violently to turn left. No one cares to slow down on the indication and people think they can be fast enough to over take from the left before the truck manages to change lanes. They may be right but this is exactly why a heavy vehicle takes so long after you dip several times to change it's lane. From my highway driving experience they are vary of cars suddenly changing lanes and overtaking from the left. We need to be patient with heavy vehicles.

Also, it is a given that heavy vehicles will not have functional brake lights. Sad but true in most cases. I ensure I have a very good distance if ever stuck behind a bus, truck or an auto.

In my opinion most truck drivers are good with their hand signals, we need to look out and follow his indications because the vision ahead is more or less blocked for us because of the heavy vehicle ahead.

Also has anyone thought of the fact that most highways have a wrong side culture. I say culture because I spot a camel, tractor, bike and several vehicles and things on the left most lane. There is just so much risk that a truck driver would be willing to take considering their vehicles are rather old and may not be capable of stopping immediately. I guess for them in stretches of Rajasthan it is rather unavoidable. Just trying to give a truck drivers' perspective here. Would you want to drive in a lane where magically a tractor, bike or another truck or other LCV might be coming right towards you?

What completely irritates me in the city is vehicles on the right lane on empty stretches early in the morning who are not willing to let go of the over taking lane and are content with their 40km/h. The usual suspects are the old Indicas but a lot of private car owners do this to. I have no option but to indicate left and then right and get back to the fast lane. No amount of flashing lights or slight honking seems to move them. My hatch back certainly cannot but a huge SUV does. It is such a selfish act on the drivers' part to 'drive safe' while endangering everyone else who wishes to go faster.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LithiumSunset View Post
Unfortunately it seems there is no substitute to age! Just see the number of people owning up to young age brash behaviour. If only people sobered up at a much earlier age.

Actually it all boils down to your upbringing. Let me be even more direct, it boils down to how your father (or mother) behaved in the face of aggression. Did he continuously honk and swear while rushing you to school when you missed that school bus? Did he value the other persons right to the same road space? Did he let the pedestrian cross first? And so on.

Only yesterday I woke myself up from a dream where that toll attendant wouldn't give me back my change. (I know dreams are silly). But I told my wife that I did not feel like a fight even in a dream!

We went by public transport today to 'purani dilli' for some special shopping. It involved the swanky DTC bus, the swankier Metro but boy was the street noisy. People honk unnecessarily. It's like a reflex. The result is an assault on your senses. I cringe everytime tbhpians complain of weak OEM horns.

We may have been (one of) the greatest civilisation(s) on earth once, but we are very ordinary people today. We are a nation of impatient and uncouth people. And that is exactly what we see on the express /highway. And at expressway speeds the problem gets magnified manifold.

In the lack of stricter licensing, the only glimmer of hope is age, unfortunately some or should I say most take much longer to grow up and some never do!

But honestly you can't blame everything on those charged up hormones of youth. It's time we all woke up. India accounts for only 1% of the world's vehicles but unfortunately has 10% of the world's accidents! Road accidents kill more people than major diseases. Imagine 'driving as a killer disease' instead of being a pleasure.

It's time to be proactive. Stop that person who honks incessantly. Tell him he listens to his own pressure horn the most, it's damaging his hearing the most, but politely. There is a chance he might listen.

Okay, rant over, I know it was one of those days..
Upbringing? I disagree with you. This is generalization to the core. There are several accounts of BHPians forcing their fathers' to fasten seat belts by trying unusual methods. Going a little extreme but a criminal's son might not go on a killing spree when he gets older. Too extreme I know.

But when you say something like that, you take some credit away. This forum has been a wake up call for many folks. I would think Team BHP and my own personality defines how I drive. I am sensitive to kids crossing the roads or even if it is a stupid pedestrian who tries to commit suicide by popping up in the middle of the busy NH 8 between Delhi and Gurgaon.

Honking is an essential tool and this is totally my personal opinion. I honk when I see a crazy pedestrian trying to cross the road when cars and doing over 70 and he chooses my vehicle as the first hurdle to his final destination. A loud honk tells him that he needs to back off and I may not be able to come to a halt without sacrificing his limbs or my own or the innocent guy driving behind me.

It is essential to tell the biker that no at a stationary red light it is not okay to take my side mirrors with him as a memento for his bravado on the road today. It is essential get the attention of a mad hatter who decides braking and suddenly turning right will result in both our vehicles at a police station nearby. It tells the guy who is stuck in a bottle neck that he cannot change lanes and it is not okay to do so.

I do agree we live in a uncouth society but eventually defensive driving is the best sort of driving there is. You and I maybe completely doing justice to traffic rules but some other bugger may not. You need to beep beep to drive some sanity into this world of crazy drivers.

What we essentially need is better infrastructure and training while handing out licenses. At my 'driving test' I was asked to drive my car from one tree to another. They were 20 feet apart. It shows how rotten the system is.

When I see how we treat our women drivers' my blood boils. If our sisters, wives and girlfriends' drive sanely there are 10 men out there to prove a point. How could a woman over take me is the mentality.

I had a word with a lady yesterday night and she told me that she has at an average most of the men staring at her and some even following her. She said a lot of perverts have a lot of things to say on the road and her daily commute of 2.5 hours is more of a nightmare than her boring work is.

I agree with Lithium that we are uncouth. We have no respect for rules and for human beings and let us not even get to our culture, that part got done in the 50's.
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