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Old 4th November 2012, 13:43   #76
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

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Originally Posted by AbhishekB86 View Post
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.
Agree with you 200% on the above point as well as your other points in the post.

Adding to that to my surprise, of late the ST(MSRTC buses) allow you to pass when you give them pass signal, as well as indicate proper hand signals. It is only the private transport bus, private cabs which hog among others.

Cheers
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Old 4th November 2012, 15:37   #77
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

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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.
I agree I generalised, but my point was simple, so much of what we pick up in our childhood stays with us that it takes a lot of effort without a scientific / structured approach to do things better. You may not like it, but a TBHP membership does not necessarily translate into better driving. On the other hand even if it did, and you and I may be here exactly because of that, we are but a miniscule number compared to the number of people who get a license to kill, oops drive, by taking a car 20' from one tree to the other and sometimes not even that.

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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.
All of the above instances you list are valid reasons to honk and I do honk in these situations too, but tell me if you as a sensitised driver end up honking 'all the time' then something is terribly wrong. It points to only one thing, lack of culture, courteousness and real education in the population at large. I find that people honk unnecessarily even if the above situations are not about to happen. This lack of patience (which also pervades all other walks life) have made our roads needlessly dangerous, our offices corrupt, our public places dirty, oh there is no end to this!

Honking is an essential tool, but to be used sparingly. If everybody ends up honking all the time all we get is cacophony and we cant make out if the honk is for real or just for 'get the hell out of my way, my right to the road is more than your' kind. I end up honking twice so many times, because the first one is not even registered! By force the second one ends up being a strident and longer beep as a sweet and polite small first honk hass not even twitched the ear! Why have I picked on honking, it's symbolic and its use or rather misuse marks our nature. It this nature that we take to the highway.

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Originally Posted by AbhishekB86 View Post
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.
Abhishek, I assume since your blood boils on some (valid) occasions you are still in the throes of youth. :-) There will be a time when this will not happen and you will realise that you don't need to "beep beep to drive some sanity into this world of crazy drivers". By doing so you are becoming like them. And I say so having weathered several monsoons. Although when one 'grows up' is a hit and miss but, I still aver, dependent on how you saw your pa drive!

Ok jokes apart, why did our culture die out in the '50's. If it did and we know it is dead, is it not incumbent upon us to revive it by, erm, beeping less?
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Old 4th November 2012, 19:26   #78
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Just a few points I want to add

1) Most of the roads which are capable of allowing you to do high speeds (120+) are toll roads. Every 50kms or so, you need to slow down anyway to a standstill for paying the toll and possibly more if there is a queue. As a result, your 120+ speed is not going to get you to your destination much faster than a speed of 90.

2) Your mileage seriously drops if you go above 100. On the Rajasthan highways, where you can see for miles in front of you, I was maintaining 140kph on the Santro, but the fuel efficiency was barely above 13. Maintaining 80, can give you an efficiency of 16+, even in a petrol car. Anticipate slow traffic, obstacles etc. and get off the gas and let the momentum take you forward, rather than keeping on the gas till the obstacle and slamming the brakes.

3) Even if you think you are in control of your car, others may not be able to react correctly to a car barreling down on them at 120+. They might make a sudden change which you don't expect and then it can get very hairy. Use your indicators to show what you are going to do, and not what you want other vehicles to do (it can be very confusing otherwise). If you are travelling faster than the other vehicles on the road, it may help to have your headlights on (if you don't have DRLs). Keep 3 seconds behind the car in front If you see a faster vehicle behind you, signal and move out of their way much before they reach you. If they are too close to you, or they have signalled their intention to overtake, stay put in your lane and don't make any sudden movements

4) Please don't cross your arms on the steering wheel when turning. I know it may look cool, but if you have airbags and they deploy when your arms are crossed, you can fracture them and hurt your face as well due to the force from the airbags. Learn to turn by feeding the wheel from one hand to another

5) Check your tire temperatures whenever you stop and make sure they are not hot. These are not Formula 1 tyres!
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Old 4th November 2012, 21:21   #79
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Interesting post and conversation. I must admit that I think the 80kph speed limit on the Expressway is irrationally low - when built, the expressway was designed for a speed of 120 kph (barring the Khandala Ghat and Lonavala flyover stretches), and it is quite safe to drive at that speed (or 10% higher), if everyone was doing the same.

What makes the Expressway really dangerous is the massive speed differentials - you have trucks doing as little as 30-40 kph even on normal stretches (and 10-15 kph on the ghat stretch), buses pottering along at 50-60 kph, and cars running from anywhere between 80-90 to 180 kph or even higher. If I were running the show, I would impose a minimum speed limit of 80 kph and a maximum speed of 120 kph, and enforce both limits strictly. I am certain that the number of fatalities would come down drastically if that were done.

Hogging the right lane even if you are at the limit is dangerous and discouraged almost everywhere in the world. For example if you are driving in Scotland, you cannot fail to observe the signs encouraging people to permit faster vehicles to overtake, emphasising that frustration causes accidents. The "Speed thrills but kills" signs on our highways are appropriate, but only because we allow vehicles that are not fit to be driven on highways to use them.
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Old 4th November 2012, 21:56   #80
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Yes Lithium, I fully agree a lot of things stay. It is for us to imbibe the positive things and to ignore the negatives.

Education is essential, but then again a degree doesn't make anyone educated. It is our day to day conduct with people which defines us. Courtesy seems to be missing these days. You are right when you say a team bhp membership does not necessarily mean someone is a better driver but it does influence a lot of people. You can take my example, Highway etiquette helped me a long way before the few road trips I have behind me.

This whole deal about not having enough time in our metro cities is a pathetic excuse for bad mannerisms if you ask me. We have people spitting, men urinating on the road, gawking at women and pushing and pulling people apart in order to avail public transport. It is a sad state of affairs and this is exactly how we behave everywhere. I can go on with an endless list but our current day to day culture extends to road manners. People are ready to mow you down if they see you as an obstruction. There is no sensitivity and no courtesy at all. You can add decency to that.

Yes sir, I am young. Thankfully, my 'beep beep' culture is limited to the situations I mentioned in my above post. Sometimes I honk to get a fellow's attention who's on the phone and has no idea of the road and I signal a 'hang up' sign. Maybe it isn't the correct approach but the intent is there.

My late grand father used to say how men respected each other in the 50s and how that has fallen apart. His tales were in comparison to what Delhi was in 1950s to what it had become(late 90s)

It isn't just about beeping. I do my bit to create social awareness about the kind of mindset Indian men have towards women. How intolerant we are of their presence and how there is absolutely no respect for them. Slightly off topic, but I was at a protest at Sahara Mall after the rape incident there and try to do my bit as and when work and timings come in sync. It is something close to my heart so I shall not bore you folks with it.

There should be strict laws from the time a license is being issued to serious penalties of breach of traffic rules eg driving on the wrong lane etc. Also, our infrastructure needs a kick. Why do so many villagers drive on the wrong side? There needs to be better connectivity in order to limit it.

Also, there should be a penalty for pedestrians who inspite of a foot bridge climb the median and try to cross the road. If only pigs could fly ..sigh!

Last edited by AbhishekB86 : 4th November 2012 at 21:58. Reason: quote error!
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Old 4th November 2012, 22:36   #81
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Lovely thread SDP.
Your chat with the Highway Patrol person makes very interesting reading. His observations on driving safely is practical and comprises of common sense application. Unfortunately common sense and it's application on the highways of India seem to be minimalistic.
The Highway Patrol would do well to display completely totalled wrecks at important junctions of the highway to create awareness that his could happen to anyone if they do not follow the speed limits.
Your thread has resulted in a lot of highway driving experience being pooled together. I am sure that it will help both the experienced drivers and the inexperienced ones drive safely.
Best regards,
Ashok
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Old 5th November 2012, 12:16   #82
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Great insights and thanks for sharing. the rule of 80-90 vs 110-120 is a neat one and logical one. Its good that you gave a lift to this genuine guy based on his uniform etc.
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Old 5th November 2012, 12:42   #83
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Fantastic Thread SDP.
Yes these are all pretty much common sense and applying 'presence of mind'. Also for two wheelers have noticed that they still ride the bikes like how they do in the city. Overtaking Trucks on the left hand side when there is a diversion coming up, taking undue risks for a cup of tea on the wrong side of road. And yes the local buses driving on wrong side of lane, anticipate villagers/passengers boarding down and darting across the road whenever a bus stops...one needs to be cautious in all such events. Hopefully one makes a good thread of basic do's and dont's along with a list of watch out things to follow whilst riding or driving on a highway.
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Old 5th November 2012, 15:47   #84
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

SDP, Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing, Rated 5 stars!
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Old 5th November 2012, 16:57   #85
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Excellent informative article. Although few of the things in the article are very basic for any driver to follow, most of the drivers some or the other day ignore those and that split second ignorance cost people (read driver and passengers) their lives.

I have travelled on this road (as recent as yesterday) and have seen lot of cars - not only higher end cars like Merc's, Audi's or BMW's but also few indicas, indigos, i20's, ritz's etc- speeding at almost 140 (this is based on rough calculation - I do maintained a speed limit of 80 at the max 90 on this road and some of these cars passes by and gets out of sight within few seconds). People don't get a chance for such a speed in city and when they do on expressway, they don't think twice before speeding. Everyone feels like schumi / vettle / alonso...As someone mentioned in earlier replies, anyone can save 9-10 minutess at the max with this high speed driving (life is far more precious than these 9-10 minutes)

Another thing that irritates me is people do not understand the driving rules. I have seen many cars using hazards light in tunnels. Easiest way to indicate your presence in tunnel is by switching on headlights on lower beam. By that, vehicle following your car could get a feel of your position and vehicle ahead of you could know that car is following them from their rear view mirrors. Also in extreme cases if you have to change the lane in tunnels, then you have an option available in form of side indicators.

If people start following simple things on expressway that would definitely make this as one of the safest road and it would be more pleasure to drive on this excellent road

Last edited by F1amit : 5th November 2012 at 17:00.
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Old 5th November 2012, 18:04   #86
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An eye-opener of a thread! Good deal of information.

I wish there is an organisation that be established to teach all newbies to driving these basic and life saving driving skills and ettiquettes. May be this organisation also take tests of them and issue driving licenses (I know this is been too optimistic to be implied in our highly corrupt RTO organisation) but somewhere in some point of time this recklessness or should I say illiteracy be stopped.

As a kid I remember actor Jackie Shroff used to come out with a safe driving ad that was issued on TV. I guess the same should be done again. Need to take this information on a much larger platform.

Drive safe and responsibly!
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Old 5th November 2012, 23:07   #87
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

@ SDP ! Thanks for the thread!

You got a nice memory that you could recollect all the conversation part and post it here !

The post misses the official's photo. Kudos to him too for being so polite and knowledgeable.

Last edited by jkdas : 5th November 2012 at 23:09.
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Old 6th November 2012, 03:32   #88
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Another big killer - pardon the black pun here please, is the thing called the Ego monster.

I have seen friends who normally cruise / drive sedately at about 80-100 kmph (even in a nice powerful Laura for instance) suddenly get an adrenalin boost and drive like a raging maniac. The reason, some other "smaller car" over took us....the point is, life is too short to be spent worrying about some random dude on a death wish driving his Alto (not even the K-10 series) at speeds exceeding 120-130 kmph. There is no point to be proved if you win a race, a race which was not even declared and only exists in your mind.

Have driven fairly extensively, and some of the stuff I learnt from my dad (watching him drive on highways, and constant passenger seat driving / nagging?) are,

(1) I personally drive a little off centre towards the right, this ensures all those nasty little stalled surprises on the left lane are given a wide berth while I can quickly move a little, be in the centre lane and let one of those crazy SUV's with flashing headlights overtake me in the right, and then I swing back to position.

(2) Never ever get hassled when some random moron swings behind me flashes his lights etc etc- I mostly avoid getting into that situation by a constant usage of the rearview mirrors and giving way even before the tailgating starts. Ofcourse as a family we do tend (all 4 of us) to laugh very loudly and almost theatrically when I catch up with some of the drivers that make like they are F1 drivers only to stall at the next toll plaza / intersection.

(3) Sonny boy (who is 1.5 years old) is NEVER allowed in the front seat. I have a baby seat- though there are discussions on the merits and demerits of such seats - and he always always sits in the back seat with his mom and granny.

(4) Even if its a 300 km drive, I get my car checked, especially the essentials, the brake oils, brake pad condition, clutch etc etc - a small cost, but worth it. Remember the adage, Prevention is better than cure.

OT: About the whole usage of horns, have a rather interesting incident to share. This was in the city when I was kind of tailgating a small tempo - I was tailgating as it was a 2 lane road in the city and he was crawling along at some 25 kmph, I constantly kept flashing my lights but the dude wouldnt yield (and this was just after my return from UK, so I avoided using the horn like the plague). Managed to overtake him at a slightly broader point, and when he caught up with me in the next signal (it must have been some 2200-2230 hours so minimal traffic), Mr Temper got the better out of me and I got out of the car steaming, and a few choice pleasantries were exchanged before I got to the nub of the matter.

"Why on gods name did you insist on driving at such a slow speed especially when you could have moved to the left a bit and let me overtake you, I also kept flashing my lights...his answer stumped me.

"Saar, nenga Sound horn board pakalaiya? Horn yaen use panala?" - translation: Sir, did you not see the sound horn board on the vehicle? Why did you not use the horn?"

The point is - and I do not just base this on this one incident - that culturally we are a noisy nation, the almost clinical silences one finds abroad, especially in the West is actually not in our psyche. Given this, I simply follow the maxim of, "when in Rome, Do as the Romans do" and install a roots horn on my cars and use it fairly judiciously, ofcourse never for tailgating, or generally aggressive behaviour, but more for overtaking, letting those careless pedestrians know that there is a car coming their way etc etc....
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Old 6th November 2012, 08:56   #89
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

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Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
@ SDP ! Thanks for the thread!

You got a nice memory that you could recollect all the conversation part and post it here !

The post misses the official's photo. Kudos to him too for being so polite and knowledgeable.
My memory is OKish. Typed out the post immediately after returning as I was not sure how much would I recollect after a day or so.

Secondly, unfortuntely I did not take a photo. In fact I did not even get his name .

Even if I had those details, with his comment on Lonavala police, may be it would not have been a good idea to share his identity here.

Last edited by SDP : 6th November 2012 at 08:59.
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:21   #90
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Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

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Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Interesting post and conversation. I must admit that I think the 80kph speed limit on the Expressway is irrationally low - when built, the expressway was designed for a speed of 120 kph (barring the Khandala Ghat and Lonavala flyover stretches), and it is quite safe to drive at that speed (or 10% higher), if everyone was doing the same.

What makes the Expressway really dangerous is the massive speed differentials - you have trucks doing as little as 30-40 kph even on normal stretches (and 10-15 kph on the ghat stretch), buses pottering along at 50-60 kph, and cars running from anywhere between 80-90 to 180 kph or even higher. If I were running the show, I would impose a minimum speed limit of 80 kph and a maximum speed of 120 kph, and enforce both limits strictly. I am certain that the number of fatalities would come down drastically if that were done.

Hogging the right lane even if you are at the limit is dangerous and discouraged almost everywhere in the world. For example if you are driving in Scotland, you cannot fail to observe the signs encouraging people to permit faster vehicles to overtake, emphasising that frustration causes accidents. The "Speed thrills but kills" signs on our highways are appropriate, but only because we allow vehicles that are not fit to be driven on highways to use them.
I fully agree with all of the above.
However, the problem needs to be nipped at the bud. Vehicles not capable of keeping 80 kmph on an average needs to be 'prevented' from entering the expressway. This automatically prevents most of the trucks, the lmvs and most of state govt buses (barring volvos) from using the highway. This leads to a huge loss of revenue and I am not sure if the expressway can make any money.
Better Idea is to put up a weigh bridge at the toll nakas and heavily penalise overloaded trucks (IMO the biggest culprits of slow moving traffic). This in the long run would prevent people from running overloaded trucks, leading to faster traffic.
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