Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Street Experiences


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 27th October 2012, 22:47   #1
SDP
Team-BHP Support
 
SDP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,660
Thanked: 7,508 Times
Default Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

I went to Pune today morning. Solo drive in the XUV5OO. For people who are unfamillar to this part of the country - The Mumbai-Pune expressway was built around 10 years back and is still one of the fastest highways in India.

I was at the Khalapur toll-naka around 8:15AM and a gentleman from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway highway patrol asked for a lift till the Talegaon toll-naka. I typically don't give lifts. Never when with family.

Today I was alone. The gentleman was wearing a Khaki uniform and had a IRB fluorescent orange jacket on top. Seemed like a genuine person. Plus he was waiting at the toll-naka which is operated by IRB itself, which sort of reinforced his credentials as an IRB employee. So I gave him a lift. He settled down in the passenger seat, I waited for a brief second and then asked him to wear the seat-belt which he did promptly. Started from the toll-naka and the gentleman started conversing in Hindi.

He asked me "Kaunsa gaadi". (Which car?)
Me: "XUV5OO. Mahindra ki hain." (XUV5OO. Its from Mahindras)
He felt the dashboard plastic with his hand, looked at the infortainment system, the dials and uttered "Achhchhi hain! Kya kya diya huwa hain". (Quite nice! Lot of things provided!)

Somehow I had a feeling that the guy is a Mahrashtrian, so I started speaking in Marathi. I was right. He started speaking in good Marathi.

I am not really a talkative person. So first minute or so, there was complete silence in the car. Even he did not speak. In hindsight, I guess he was observing how I was driving.

The following is a loose translation of our conversation over the next 30 odd minutes.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Me: So, what do you do?
He: We are part of the highway patrol team and manage everything that happens on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Everything.

Me: Accidents?
He: Yes, accidents as well. Once we get information, we try to reach the place as fast as possible. My role is that of a 'Helper'. So I typically move things by the side of the road.

We both knew what he meant by 'things'. There was a awkward silence. I thought about it. Should I take this line of conversation forward? Then I thought, let me try to understand how his life and work is. If either one becomes uncomfortable, we can always snap out of that topic and talk about generic pleasantries.

Me: Does it trouble you?
He: Not any more. But initially it was very hard. The first 6-7 months were tough. Everything that I used to see, used to bother me even when I used to go home after duty. Those sights keep on haunting for months. Especially at night, when I used go by a stretch - where I had attended to a accident just a few days back - that stretch used to send a chill down the spine. Not any more.

Me: How long have you been on this job?
He: For 7 years now. Now I am used to it. I go home and forget about it. Its not the best job to be in. But somebody needs to do it. Seeing mangled and torn bodies is part of the job. My job is to pick up whatever is remaining and place it by the side of the road till the ambulance arrives. After loading it in the ambulance, my responsibility ends. Many a times, its really bad - head or limbs severed, internals spilling out.

He was a gentleman, he did not get into details or examples. Neither did I wanted him to. There was no point getting images in your head that haunt you for ever. Instead he got into the reasons and we had a healthy conversation. And that's the main point of this thread/post.

He: This is possibly the fastest road nearby and the sight of a empty straights lures lot of guys to press on the pedal. What most people don't understand is that this road keeps on seeing lots of accidents practically daily. People think I anyway have to drive at 30-40 in the city. My car can do much much more than that and now here is a opportunity where there is very less traffic and they speed up to 100-120-150-180. Lot of these people have no experience of driving at and maintaining those speeds for long time. At that speed, you are racing with the wind. A slight unintentional movement of the steering and you are off the road and into the median/divider. You will be surprised by how many people mention afterwards that I just reached for my mobile or water bottle and don't know what happened next. At high speeds, just a split second of eyes off the road could spell disaster.

He: At high speeds, if the tyre bursts, there is practically nothing that one can do to control the vehicle. The vehicle invariably hits the divider or some other vehicle, topples, does a few somersaults before coming to a stop belly-up. The same tyre burst if it happens at a much lower speed like 70-80kmph, hold the steering STRAIGHT with force, take the foot off the accelerator, don't brake and you can still control the vehicle. Once we were rushing to a accident spot and were close to 100kmph and then suddenly dhadaaam - our tyre burst. The driver from the team somehow managed to maintain control and brought the vehicle to a stop. We were just lucky that day.

He: People in big cars, foreign cars, expensive cars, powerful cars. They believe that they can drive at whatever speed they want and nothing would happen to them or the car. Finally it is a machine and even it has got its limitations. You have to drive as per the surrounding condition. Big people, businessmen - they think that they don't have to follow the speed limit. I have seen many such die. Big businessmen and powerful people .. finally the body getting dragged in the dirt by the road side.

He: God can not save you. You might be a big devotee or even a god-man. I have seen Swamis and Gurus as well. Their God did not save them. Once you have decided to go beyond the limits, even God gives up.

He: People have to understand their own limits as well. A lot of accidents here happen because of drowsiness. The guy who is driving has not taken enough rest or just the monotony of the road induces a lapse in concentration. Drivers of tourist vehicles are the worst. For them every trip is money. So sleep and rest take a back seat. Its a responsibility of the people hiring those vehicles as well. If you have landed in Mumbai in the middle of the night and a cab driver from Pune has come to pick you up, you also need to understand what time has he started from Pune and now he is heading back to Pune.

He: Especially at night, people don't see stopped vehicles and slow moving vehicles at all if they are not alert. A whole bunch of cars end up going under the rear of a trailer or a truck. Trailers are dangerous, sometimes they don't have any lights. Avoid driving at night.

He: Since the road is fast, people take pride in statements like "I will be Pune in 30 minutes". What's the point? If you drive safe - at a speed of 80 or even lower, you will reach. It doesn't matter if it took 1 hour or 1 hour 15 minutes. And many a times, the difference in total time is so less. You drive at 110-120 and I will drive at 80-90. Finally at a slow stretch like Khandala, most likely I would catch up with you anyway or may be I will reach 10 minutes later than you. Do those 10 minutes really matter? In an attempt to reach 10 minutes early, sometimes people get delayed by hours and some even for ever.

He: There are stretches like the Sinhagad stretch which are known to have lot more accidents. People new to this highway don't know these stretches and end up in trouble.

He: Now I don't feel much. Most people die because of their mistakes. I don't feel anything about the 'driver' types who bring it upon themselves. When the fatalities include women and children, that's when I feel bad.

He: The others in the car also should control how the driver is driving. The person in the front passenger seat is very important. If that person is chatting up with the other passengers or sleeping, that's an invitation for disaster.

While passing through the Khandala section, I told him: Somebody I knew got into an accident here on 23rd Sep. Old Landrover. His name was Sam .. Sameer Kapasi.

He: Endeavour? Hah..one accident about a month back, 3 people including the driver died.

I guess he misheard 'Landrover' as 'Endeavour'.
Me: No, not Ford Endeavour! There was no 'driver'. He was driving himself. His wife is a German. Foreigner. His dad also in the car.

He: No, don't recall. I am sometimes posted towards the Pune end. We don't get the names most of the times anyways. And just too many things happen.

We crossed the Khandala tunnel and he asked me to give wide berth to the trucks and trailers.

He: They are big. They can not stick to their lane during all these turns.

He: Even which lane you take matters. Avoid the leftmost lane at night. Slow moving trucks and vehicles stopped incorrectly - huge danger of not seeing them till very late. During rains, stick to the middle lane. If one or two tyres go beyond the white line on fast lane, the mud and dirt is very risky.

Me: I don't drive on this highway at late night at all. Somehow the old instances of highway robberies are still in my mind.

He: We caught those guys. No problem. But you never know, new gangs may come up. But again, many a times, the people are stupid or greedy.
Stupid because they won't stop at the proper food-mall for taking a leak and then they stop at some stretch where there is a village nearby. They see lights and feel safe, but those might be the robbers themselves. Those guys sometimes drop a new gunny-bag filled with something on the road. They would sprinkle some rice around it and people fall for it. They think - must have fallen from some truck or tempo.
In one rare instance a girl was picked up. Anything could have happened. Luckily, they left her somewhere after taking the jewelery off.
Stop at proper food-malls for bio-breaks and don't stop if you find anything suspicious lying on the road.

We passed a IRB ambulance and he pointed it out proudly: "Our ambulance"

He: Just 2 days back, one of our ambulance staff died. After doing duty, was going back on his bike with his wife. Had drank a little also. Died. Wife still in hospital. I had met him that day and we had chatted for some time. It all ends in one second.

He pointed to a over-bridge in the distance and asked me to drop him off at the over-bridge after that. As I approached the bridge, he pointed to a IRB Bolero waiting for him there.

He: See how we have parked way off the road. That's how one should park if at all one needs to stop.

I stopped my car. He got off and thanked me for the lift.

Me: Your team is doing a fantastic job. I personally know 3 cases where you guys reached the spot really fast and helped. Thank you. You guys are good. The Lonavala police are bad though.

He: I know. Shameless fellows. Even if you are in deep shock or have lost someone, these buggers ask for money for the FIR.

I thanked him again and drove off.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Guys, most of this is pure common sense and we KNOW most of this already.
We see one or two accidents on this highway and then forget about it. We slow down for 2 minutes and then step on it again. We see accidents photos in the Accidents thread and try to analyse what could have happened.

The gentleman I met today sees these mistakes being made everyday and the subsequent loss of life and entire families getting destroyed. Just wanted to share the broader perspective from his point of view.

So, please, please, PLEASE, buckle up and drive safe.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 28th October 2012 at 09:10. Reason: edited as requested
SDP is offline   (278) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 27th October 2012, 23:28   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
rajeev k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Emerging Metro
Posts: 3,296
Thanked: 1,689 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

So you had a informative trip this time. The valid point is,
Quote:
You drive at 110-120 and I will drive at 80-90. Finally at a slow stretch like Khandala, most likely I would catch up with you anyway or may be I will reach 10 minutes later than you. Do those 10 minutes really matter?
In a nutshell what he says is, "Better be Mister Late than be the Late Mister"

Last edited by Eddy : 3rd November 2012 at 11:57. Reason: Correcting typo
rajeev k is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 27th October 2012, 23:47   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Bangalore,Coorg
Posts: 788
Thanked: 359 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Very informative and useful post. Am sure it is something most of know and is common sense I guess, but most often to forget or ignore it when we start focusing on other things like work and getting home 15 minutes early.

At least you have some nice people there on the highway patrol.
pganapathy is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 00:05   #4
BHPian
 
500ContyCruiser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: KA25
Posts: 507
Thanked: 328 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 29th October 2012 at 13:50.
500ContyCruiser is offline   Reply With Quote Received Infraction
Old 28th October 2012, 00:16   #5
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: mumbai
Posts: 222
Thanked: 41 Times
Default

Wow,interesting conversation. Reading about these type of things always brings awareness in some kind of way. I always drive at around 80 to 90 kms on the expressway.
I have driven at a speed of 120 only twice. Yes I was in the same shoes as the others..thing lets open her up. That is foolish I must admit. I have realised the importance of the speed limit on the expressway.
I always stick to the fast lane most of the time and let other cars make the effort of doing the lane changing etc. But I make my self clear to those who flash their. Headlights or even honk by giving my right signal just one flash. That way I indicate to them before hand that they have to do the lane changing and not me. Because I am in the stipulated speed limit and if they want to go faster its them who have to do the hard work not me.
I know to some it may feel like a wrong thing to do but when you have inconsiderate idiots on the road you can't help but just do that.
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. 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.
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.
raycers_honda is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 01:46   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
ninjatalli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: BOM
Posts: 1,593
Thanked: 1,166 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
. . .
Nice insights. The key point I would like to take from your experience (other than the info shared by that gentleman) was that you gave a lift to a stranger without much concern. Something that needs to be done more often by us.

Kudos to you to do that
ninjatalli is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 05:22   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
mayankjha1806's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: BLR/Gurgaon
Posts: 2,133
Thanked: 817 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Thanks for the wonderful post, there are quiet a few things that were new to me, like where to stop for nature calls, and something lying on the road might be to make you stop.

The one that i liked the most was this. Somehow this gets quiet overlooked at times when the family is having fun in the back seat. Also at night everyone wants to sleep but the one sitting next to the driver should follow similar rules as the driver himself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
He: The others in the car also should control how the driver is driving. The person in the front passenger seat is very important. If that person is chatting up with the other passengers or sleeping, that's an invitation for disaster.
mayankjha1806 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 07:17   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Sydney, AU
Posts: 833
Thanked: 563 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Great one man. After reading the chat transcript, I felt I was listening to a serious cinema story. I too travel through this road once in a while and the debris of vehicles involved in fatal accidents is a heartbreaking scene.

Last year or so, there was a report on Pune Mirror which explains that whatever may the speed a driver maintains. He can save only 9 minutes between Pune and Mumbai. So whenever I see a vehicle involved in accident, this report comes to my mind.
..
MaxTorque is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 08:20   #9
BHPian
 
hrman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 875
Thanked: 296 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Excellent article. On my recent trip to Goa, I realized that Indian roads are really not meant for speeds exceeding 100-110 kms. Even if the road quality is excellent, the others who use the roads (Villagers, other drivers) make it relatively unsafe.

Stick to sane speeds, the final difference is only 10-15 minutes. Drive safe. Your family and loved ones will be grateful to you!!
hrman is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 11:36   #10
BHPian
 
mm403's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Pune
Posts: 155
Thanked: 69 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

SDP Very nice write up, one could literally go through the description provided by the IRB person. Recollect once on the way back from Mumbai airport to Pune at night, I was in the cab in the passenger seat. Noticed the driver was feeling drowsy , so started chatting to ensure he kept awake. Still at one point he started drifting towards median and had to ask him to stop and wash his face
mm403 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 16:47   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
parsh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bombay
Posts: 1,499
Thanked: 938 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

SDP, first of all applauds giving lift selflessly to the person who help us on the highways. Very informative and true account of the life of these people and reality of the speedy highways. Hope people take a leaf out of this to adhere to designated constraints on highways including speeds, lane discipline, early start to reach early etc and don't just speed and recklessly drive on them for the thrill of it. In the recent trip to Mahaby, we got a chance to give lift to a Policeman posted from Panvel to some remore village near Alibaug on the occasion of Ganesh Visarjan and heavy crowd and discipline management in Konkan region and talk to him at length on way. In our easy life in city, we fail to understand the depth of jobs these people have to serve and they do it relentlessly without us bothering about it for a moment. Thanks for bringing out this aspect so well.
parsh is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 17:48   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
Surprise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chennai
Posts: 2,287
Thanked: 123 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post

He: At high speeds, if the tyre bursts, there is practically nothing that one can do to control the vehicle. The vehicle invariably hits the divider or some other vehicle, topples, does a few somersaults before coming to a stop belly-up. The same tyre burst if it happens at a much lower speed like 70-80kmph, hold the steering STRAIGHT with force, take the foot off the accelerator, don't brake and you can still control the vehicle. Once we were rushing to a accident spot and were close to 100kmph and then suddenly dhadaaam - our tyre burst. The driver from the team somehow managed to maintain control and brought the vehicle to a stop. We were just lucky that day.
If there is a puncture, the normal tendency is to move to one corner and brake to slow it down. I assume here we talk about not stomping on brakes out of shock..just curious, if we do that what are the consequences (on a care that is equipped with ABS)
Surprise is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2012, 19:58   #13
BHPian
 
Dieseltuned's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bombay
Posts: 361
Thanked: 274 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

Thanks SDP,

The expressway is one of the best roads in our country and our foolish drivers are turning it in a living hell. There are 2 incidents that I have to share ::

1. Me on the Shivneri Volvo sitted right behind the driver. The bus is well above 120 on a straight stretch after Khalapur toll plaza towards Bombay and suddenly one guy suddenly comes from the seats behind and starts fiddling with the controls saying "I want the lights switched off". The driver seems enraged a he is well above 120 now, he immediately puts the Volvo in the side lane, stops and gives a full on verbal thrashing to this idiot. And the heights is this guy is from a reputed software firm (aw his laptop bag) , so educated and till foolish enough to try such a stunt. Good the driver gave him one two.

2. Again on the Expressway on the Shivneri Volvo, I prefer sitting right behind the driver as it offers good views. Again after Khalapur toll plaza toward Bombay, I can ee the speedo of our Volvo somewhere around 120-123 KMPH. And suddenly from the right lane, a Maruti Swift overtakes the Volvo like a rocket. That swift guy must be doing atleast 130-135 KMPH, judgeing by the speed he overtook our bus.

I remembered these incidents when I read your article. Thank god, there are some people in this god forsaken country who are willing to help road accident victims.

Regards
Dieseltuned is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2012, 08:27   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
ghodlur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Thane
Posts: 4,924
Thanked: 1,912 Times
Smile Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

@SDP

Thanks for the putting the conversation through the post on the forum, appreciate it.

Whatever the guy said was plain simple basics. Having seen even the Alto's, Zens and Santro's touching the 3 figure speed, its but common sense to follow the traffic rules and speed limits. The sudden adrenalin rush many a times results in loss of blood due to heroic antics attempted by few.

Golden rule - Dont drink n drive and dont speed over limits. Safest way to reach to the loved ones.
ghodlur is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2012, 08:48   #15
SDP
Team-BHP Support
 
SDP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,660
Thanked: 7,508 Times
Default Re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway: A long chat with a Highway Patrol person

First upon all, a big thank you for reading the LONG post. I never thought so many people would actually read it. Its reassuring that many people still believe in reading lengthy messages. Quite a few middle-managers (and above) in my organization do not read emails if they are more than 5 sentences long. Anyways.

I returned from the journey and typed out the whole thing in Notepad while it was still fresh in the memory. Took me about 3 hours to type it out, structure it and proof-read it a few times. When I posted it on TBHP, I realized that in an attempt to do full justice to the conversation, the post has become a bit long. Had the option of splitting it into smaller posts even then, but did not opt for it as the message would have lost part of its impact if consumed in bits and pieces.

In a way, as correctly observed by hrman, most of what the Highway Patrol gentleman said applies to most of the highways in India. Our highways, in their current reality, are not meant for any speeds more than 100-110. Period.
So, people who do not use this particular Expressway, this thread is relevant to you as well.

I sincerely wish that at least a few people (TBHPians and non-member readers) learn self-control and defensive driving after reading this thread and do a big favor to themselves and their families.

Thank you again for reading, sharing your views and for the encouragement. I have never received so many 'thank-you's for a single post. Its a humbling experience.

Last edited by SDP : 29th October 2012 at 09:03.
SDP is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mumbai-Pune Expressway sunil The Indian Car Scene 87 19th February 2013 10:23
Who/What is the most helpful person/thing on the highway? buddha141 Street Experiences 24 2nd February 2010 14:28
Maiden venture - longish highway drive on Mumbai Pune Expressway travelwriter Travelogues 22 6th July 2009 10:50
Wheel vibrations on the Mumbai-Pune expressway? RX135 Shifting gears 30 4th February 2008 16:35
The Mumbai-Pune Expressway amit The Indian Car Scene 13 26th July 2004 19:36


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:39.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks