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Old 10th November 2013, 08:05   #1
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Default Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Cattle the real menace in Indian highways…

Seems like a joke for someone who never driven in highways…but it’s one of the most serious nightmares for a high way commuter. You may be peacefully driving your car at a high speed…suddenly a nonsense creature pops out from the adjacent bush in the median or from sideways (Thanks for greening up the highways) which can ruin your whole life.

The critical problem is that in most of the cases, the driver can do little at highway speeds (i.e. more than 80kmph). Irrespective of whether you drive an M800 or an Outlander (other than driving a truck), even a minor touch may cause serious fatalities and may cause death to the travelers.
If we analyze these freak accidents, we can understand that the accidents may be classified to two.
  • Direct Impact
  • Secondary Impact
Direct Impact
Direct impact is an accident caused by hitting an animal and the primary cause of fatalities is caused by the animal. While hitting an animal nobody can predict, how things will go, but generally the outcome may be one of the following three scenarios.

Scenario 1: Car hits, but the animal is thrown away to the side:
I say this is the best case, no doubt the vehicle will get damaged, but most probably the passengers get saved (unless there is a secondary impact). This usually happens when the vehicle hits the animal from one of the sides and the force is sufficient to throw it out of the vehicle trajectory / path.

Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways-scenario1.jpg

Scenario 2: Car hits, animal gets raised in air and fall back to the bonnet / windshield.
This is a much more critical and a deadly scenario. While hitting at this speed there is a possibility that the animal may get raised in air and fall back to the bonnet or the windshield of the vehicle. The front of the vehicle will get totally damaged, but sometimes the front passenger(s) may get jammed between the car and this one ton creature. There are many cases where the horns can penetrate through the windshield to the cabin and caused injuries.
Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways-scenario2.jpg

Scenario 3: Car hits and runs over the animal and get overturn.
Finally the most catastrophic one is car may get overturned. While hitting the cattle, if the animal falls in front of the car, but car may still be at a forward momentum (even if the brakes are applied) at this short distance. Thereby the car will hit it again and may run over the animal (depends on the size of the animal). If the car runs over this animal there is a possibility to get it overturn.
Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways-scenario3.jpg

Secondary Impact:

Secondary impact is an accident caused by an animal, not directly, but by an event or a series of events followed the initial incident. While driving, it is a reflex action for any driver to avoid an accident, either by quickly turning it to a side or by applying brakes. These quick actions can cause more serious accidents than the direct impact accidents. Here also we can depict two scenarios.

Scenario 1: Accidents by quick turning

All of us know, in highway speed, as slight change in drive angle can cause serious accidents. It may be a static object (like fencing, posts or even parked vehicle) or a dynamic object (other vehicles in next track). In either case you can expect a similar level of catastrophe.

Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways-scenario4.jpg


Scenario 2: Accidents by quick braking
No doubt, the best way to avoid an accident is breaking, but this sudden action may cause bigger accidents in highway speeds. The main causes of accidents are:
  • Hitting from behind by a following speeding vehicle
  • Skidding of the vehicle due to sudden deceleration.
Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways-scenario5.jpg


My experience:

In these years I had seen at least ten accidents by animals in our highways. But one particular incident was recently was a real eye opener and that’s why I am adding this thread.

Recently I was traveling in NH45 near Thindivanam along with my family. Car is around 90kmph and going through the fast track. That area, the high way got good greenery at the median and suddenly a cow jumped from the bushes, which is hardly 10-15 meters in my front. Somehow I turned the car to left and by God’s grace I don’t even touched the creature. I feel it’s an amazing and it’s a miraculous escape.

On the same day, I saw a similar incident at Kallakkuchi in Ulundurpet highway where an Indica hit a cow. The carcass is lying in the road, also the car (which was parked within 150m after the spot), the front of the car is totally damaged and local folks were surrounding the vehicle.

But one sad thing in India I heard of is, people near highways do this purposefully to make money. They take some old cows / bull to the highway bushes and drive them to the speeding vehicles. I don’t know it’s reality. Readers please comment.

This is not an isolated issue for our country, many western countries have the same problems – but one major difference, and here most of the accidents are caused by domestic animals (Cow, ox, dog etc), but in other countries by wild animals (deer, moose etc).

What we can do?
Even though we got very mature cars by international giants, our highways are not enough to handle these situations. Government and NHAI is not much doing for these types of issues. One good move is from Goa government, banned the stray animals in highways.
http://articles.timesofindia.indiati...als-stray-cows


Even though fresh laws may be made or NHAI decided the whole highways are covered by fences, it may take years to get it implemented, but what we can do for a safe commutation?
  • Move from the Cow's rear: If approaching a cow perpendicular to you, always drive past its rear. In nearly all situations, the cow will usually move forward (and not backward).
  • Drive at a moderate speed: As NHAI says – “Speed is a thriller, but killer”. Our highways are only equipped for 80-100kmph but we all proudly say I drive my new car at 160kmph. What I suggest is drive at a moderate highway speed where you can perfectly control the vehicle.
  • Never do a Race: I have seen many people do racing or indirectly invite for a racing, seems like there is a gold cup at the end of the way. But mostly it’s pure immaturity, especially if I drive a smaller vehicle (like alto, nano or 800) and overtake a bigger / powerful car – the attitude is that “how can a nano or alto can overtake my 7L car?” This may cause loss of focus in driving., especially for these situations.
  • Equip the vehicle with best possible safety equipment – Even though these may not assure a 100% safety, ABS, Airbags bigger crumple zones may help a lot…at least to save the life
A request to all animal lovers – It’s a real cruelty to these poor creatures – killing them in this horrible way. The owners of these creatures should have some sense so that they will be kept away from speeding vehicles. Start a campaign against this – at least through internet.

Final word – Every time I come back from a highway commuting I believe that its is not my credit or the strengths of my vehicle which bought me back – "only God’s protection".

Last edited by GTO : 11th November 2013 at 14:34. Reason: Adding point on passing the cow from its rear :)
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Old 10th November 2013, 08:28   #2
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

I would say your post is pretty one sided. Cattles are not the real menace on Indian highways. it can be termed as one of the many menaces. The real menace as usual is careless and reckless driving by humans. Always use the rightmost lane only for overtaking. Never exceed 80Kmph. This can give you sufficient reaction time for most of such eventualities.
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Old 10th November 2013, 09:58   #3
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

It is one of those great ironies (there are many) in India - we worship the cow, and then let it roam around cities, without food and a natural habitat, many getting killed by traffic.

I live in Vadodara, gujarat, and the roads are filled with cattle. I know of four colleagues who had accidents in two wheelers because they hit a cow or buffalo. And at night you would not even know a buffalo straying on to the road until it is too late. But I found that in Rajasthan, it it not much of an issue.

As poloman suggested though, cattle are the least of our worries on the highway. The highways themselves, our pathetic road manners, lane changing like it is nobody's business, and driving on the wrong side to save 1km fuel - these take the cake well ahead of the cattle. The other day, I was driving home on the NH8 (6 lane highwahy) at night, and to my horror, found a maruti zen (the old one) coming at me on the fastest inside lane! I mean - how can people do that!
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Old 10th November 2013, 11:42   #4
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Couldn't agree more. Had seen an horrible accident on NH 4 near Chitradurga last Monday on way back from Goa to Bangalore involving two vehicles and two buffalo's (both dead). Not sure of injury of car passengers, however by the look of the vehicles it was severe. There was a traffic jam for about 2 KM's before the site.
Locals were saying the owner has blocked the road asking for compensation. Feel sorry for the plight of car owners / passengers.

Also, there is another thread (Let's Dzire again, but this time ZDi. My Maruti Dzire. EDIT: Totalled)on accident involving car of TBHPian rockporiom where a car coming in opposite direction crossed the divider after hitting a pig.
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Old 10th November 2013, 12:43   #5
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

I once saw a driver swerve a bus full of people literally taking it off road just to save a dog! It was the stupidest thing to do, he put the life of 40-50 people in jeopardy for one stray dog.

If the animal is small and you are doing above average speeds, just take a deep breath and let the inevitable happen. There is no point pulling any stunts and putting everyone involved in danger.

And I completely agree on the speed part, even when the road is completely free of traffic I sendom touch triple digits on my City for this very reason.
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Old 10th November 2013, 12:47   #6
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

the real thing is there is a religious angle also. most people view cows as sacred creatures especially so in northern India. it is a very volatile issue also. see this report:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-...1-1115208.aspx

the roaming of cattle around the towns and villages all across the country reaffirms the religious reverence given to the cattle. the attitude towards cows cannot change as it is related to core belief system. so, rather we should have our highways locked down(fencing) from cows and their owners for the safety of vehicular traffic.

Last edited by deepclutch : 10th November 2013 at 12:54.
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Old 10th November 2013, 14:00   #7
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

This relates so well to what happened to a few of my relatives some days back.
The driver was trying to overtake a bus when suddenly halfway during the maneuver, a cow decided to walk straight onto the right lane(the overtaking line), and the distance was quite short, no where close to braking distance; as a result he couldn't maneuver to the left because of the bus and banging that heavy animal head on was foolishness because they also had a baby as a passenger. Ultimately, he had to swerve to the extreme right into the adjacent fields and collided with a tree, fortunately all had their seat belts on and suffered only minor injuries.

As far as that thing about people purposely putting old cattle at risk on the highway goes, I do not know about cows but yes villagers do set animals and birds like goats and hen purposely free on the road for quick buck from casualties.
At that time you have no option but to shell out whatever amount those retards blurt.

-Bhargav
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Old 10th November 2013, 20:33   #8
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Quote:
Originally Posted by avisidhu View Post
I once saw a driver swerve a bus full of people literally taking it off road just to save a dog! It was the stupidest thing to do, he put the life of 40-50 people in jeopardy for one stray dog.

If the animal is small and you are doing above average speeds, just take a deep breath and let the inevitable happen. There is no point pulling any stunts and putting everyone involved in danger.

And I completely agree on the speed part, even when the road is completely free of traffic I seldom touch triple digits on my City for this very reason.
This I got an experience....

I was traveling in an State bus in a highway and was seated in front. A stray dog jumped in front of this speeding vehicle. Without any hesitation the driver just ran over the dog. I was so upset for the whole day hearing the cry of that poor creature. But the driver was just cool. I think this may be a regular thing in his career.

On the other side. if he tries to save the dog, he is really going to risk all the passengers.
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Old 11th November 2013, 00:13   #9
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunil8089 View Post
This I got an experience....

I was traveling in an State bus in a highway and was seated in front. A stray dog jumped in front of this speeding vehicle. Without any hesitation the driver just ran over the dog. I was so upset for the whole day hearing the cry of that poor creature. But the driver was just cool. I think this may be a regular thing in his career.

On the other side. if he tries to save the dog, he is really going to risk all the passengers.
Actually, we have a natural instinct to try and save any life to the best of our ability. But under such circumstances, it's either experience (as the case you illustrated) or observation that helps us take a decision that sometimes challanges us morally.

My brother was once driving and dad was in the passenger seat. The same thing happened, a dog came in front and collided with the car. Luckily my brother though young didn't pull any stunts, but was expecting an earful from Dad. Dad calmly told him not to worry and carry on, and patiently told him that stuff like this happens, he shouldn't lose his cool no matter what.
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Old 11th November 2013, 00:24   #10
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Quote:
Originally Posted by avisidhu View Post
Actually, we have a natural instinct to try and save any life to the best of our ability. But under such circumstances, it's either experience (as the case you illustrated) or observation that helps us take a decision that sometimes challanges us morally.

My brother was once driving and dad was in the passenger seat. The same thing happened, a dog came in front and collided with the car. Luckily my brother though young didn't pull any stunts, but was expecting an earful from Dad. Dad calmly told him not to worry and carry on, and patiently told him that stuff like this happens, he shouldn't lose his cool no matter what.
I too have confronted the animals that cross roads on their will and wish.

But the main thing is we have our natural instincts that we can't kill an animal as it is cruel. I just cant run over in any situation though I have suffered many dents on my car and had a couple of situation (actually 3) when my car could have toppled at 100 kmph! My front bumper has 2 cracks thanks to dogs (None dead or injured).

The worst part is these animals like dogs, pigs are seen crossing the roads on the ORR (Outer Ring Road) here and it is very difficult to get the car in control when swerving at 100-120 kmph. ABS in such situation helps save a life.

Anurag.
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Old 11th November 2013, 01:35   #11
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Thanks for the effort in putting up the details, and agree that this is one of the daily risks of Highway driving.

But what I would say, the bigger problem is irresponsible driving by certain drivers, the worst one being driving in the opposite lane.

Thankfully we are getting more and more international standard highways with dedicated medians and exits, and these roads come with a 100 kmph speed limit as well. The worst scenario in these kind of roads, is a transport bus speeding on the right lane in opposite direction. Add a blind curve to this equation, and only divine intervention can prevent an accident.

Couple of these kind of close shaves, takes away the fun of such highway long drives and make them stressful rather than enjoying experience, further adding to the fatigue factor.
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Old 11th November 2013, 06:01   #12
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Quote:
Originally Posted by poloman View Post
I would say your post is pretty one sided. Cattles are not the real menace on Indian highways. it can be termed as one of the many menaces. The real menace as usual is careless and reckless driving by humans. Always use the rightmost lane only for overtaking. Never exceed 80Kmph. This can give you sufficient reaction time for most of such eventualities.
I would agree with most points you have raised.
Must confess though that I have been guilty of overtaking from the left lane on highways here. Quite often you come across vehicles stubbornly hugging the right lane, doing about 40 or 50 kmph deaf to the plantive honking of motorists behind them. The only option for you is to take the inviting empty left lane and get ahead of these stone and tone deaf humans.
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Old 11th November 2013, 08:32   #13
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Let me ask a different question:
Can the North American / EU experienced drivers share their perspectives about deer (which are MORE dangerous) / moose / elk? Cattle is more predictable and slower in comparison, IMO.

That would be a useful consideration - just getting upset about it solves nothing. Let's generate / consolidate practical ideas!
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Old 11th November 2013, 08:54   #14
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

sunil8089, this is a good thought to have brought in. Domestic animals are present in our cities as well. I sometimes wonder whether or not someone would steal these animals if simply left to graze on the roads! I have come across several buffalos at corners, especially on very narrow lanes with dense population, making it really difficult to expect such animals.

If you happen to hit any of these animals, the whole neighborhood gathers making you pay in multiples. Dogs are no better!

There was a time when I was driving on a narrow stretch and there was a couple with a baby on a bike. A stray dog started chasing them and almost bit the lady by when her husband started swerving the bike. I slowed down well enough and must say this was a wise decision as they almost lost their balance. The dog noticed my car coming, which meant it had something better to tackle, leaving the couple.
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Old 11th November 2013, 09:09   #15
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Default re: Cattle - The real menace on Indian highways

Quote:
Can the North American / EU experienced drivers share their perspectives about deer (which are MORE dangerous) / moose / elk? Cattle is more predictable and slower in comparison, IMO.
Having lived in US and driven there, the roads have signs indicating the 'likely' crossing and expected areas for deer. The driver is supposed to be cautious and the onus is on the driver not to hit the deer and let them pass if they are on the road.

Having said this, I have also seen stray deer being hit by heavy vehicles there too. However, the road signs were of great help and it is a great view if you are lucky to watch deer run on the fields near to the roads!

We are expected to slow down and some areas do bring the speeds down to 25mph from 60/70mph with apt road signs.

Whatever be the situation, kindly remember highways are not racing tracks and we should expect sudden surprises. That is why it is very prudent to drive within the speed limits and the control limits of the car and ourselves.

The speed of the car is never felt with all windows up and music running inside, hence suggest when you have the urge to do the 'high' speeds, roll down the glass and try the same. The wind noise would make us realize the speeds and probably we shall then do safe speeds!

Last edited by getsurya : 11th November 2013 at 09:19.
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