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Old 13th July 2006, 19:06   #1
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Default No drivers please

Hi folks,

I have a Versa DX2 and am extremly fond of it.

I had to go to Kerala on March 9 this year for a personal emergency - my dad was very serious and in hospital. Since I had not done long trips before this and because I had my family members travelling with me, I didnt want to take a chance.

So I called up a driver-service number and got a driver. I was very hesitant to hand over the keys, but had no other option, given the emergency.

We started at around 1-2 PM. He filled only enough fuel to take us till the Reliance petrol pump, about 55 KM out of Bangalore (towards Krishnagiri). We went in for a full-tank once we reached there. Had some snacks and settled in for a long uneventful trip ahead. But who would have known that the trip would be anything but uneventful.

The driver was constantly doing 100-120 on the highway. And I was telling the driver to slow down as I have heard talks of the Versa tripping over at shart turns when at speeds exceeding 120. I was telling him that my comfort zone is 80-100. But he said he is very experienced and that because I was not used to long trips, I was feeling uncomfortable.

All this while, my dad's condition was going from bad to worse and I was getting regular updates from my bro in the Kerala hospital.

As you reach Krishnagiri, the road suddenly becomes very narrow and it starts winding through villages. Suddenly you have these multi-colored private buses zooming past and also coming at you at breakneck speed. Our driver still maintained his 100 on those roads and I could see cattle and ppl on both sides of the road. I was just praying that one of these dont suddenly decide to cross the road.

While all these thoughts were going on in my mind, I could see a petrol tanker a few 100 meters ahead and it seemed to be going very slow. Our driver decided to overtake him and maitained 100. As he neared the tanker, a private bus came rushing towards us from the opposite side. And before he knew it, our driver had to abort the overtake attempt and sqeeze in behind the tanker - with only about 50 meters to spare at 80-100 !!! Thats when I realised that we were doomed. My whole life flashed in front of my eyes. He breaked, but he could not prevent my Versa from banging the tanker from behind. In a jiffy, my lovely vehicle was reduced to a shattered piece of metal. Thankfully, these tankers have protuding beams on the backside, else we would have hit the petrol tank itself and blew ourselves up !

We were all lucky to be alive. I quickly checked my family and they were all ok even though they did not wear seat belts (Versa DX2 had seat belts on all the 6 rear seats). The driver feared for the worst, but I was in no mood to get into a fight with him. My thoughts were with my father who was fighting for his life. Called up a TBHP-ian, took the Maruti toll numbers and helpline numbers - but it was of no use - the call did not get through. We checked if the vehicle was still driveable and it was. I asked the driver to get the vehicle to the Maruti service station in Whitefield - friends would take care of the rest.

Called up a few other friends to get bus tickets from Bangalore. The TBHP-ian (God bless him) drove all the way to Krishnagiri and drove us to the nearest pickup point for the bus. And while we were waiting for the bus, I got the message that my dad had passed away at 7 PM ! I was numb. I could never take him for a drive in my Versa and thats a regret I'll have all my life. Didnt feel like cursing the driver also then - maybe all this was destined to happen this way. But The numbing feeling still haunts me.

I recently lost a friend and his mom-in-law in Gujarat recently becoz of a similar overtaking mistake by a hired Qualis driver. His wife is still in coma and they have 2 small children. One moment of madness and an entire family is on the roads !!!

One important lesson I learnt that day was never to trust your vehicle, and more importantly, your and your family's lives in a driver's hands.

NEVER !!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 13th July 2006, 19:18   #2
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sad to hear that pravin. I can understand the pain you are going thru.

even when in a taxi or auto, i always make a point to tell the driver to drive sensibly and follow the traffc rules. else i will get out and find another one. I think this is the least we can do to save our lives.
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Old 13th July 2006, 19:41   #3
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I feel sad about what ever is happening. I do understand your pain.

I do agree, that the drivers tend to exploit a chance they get to drive others' cars. Though they may be experienced, it takes a lot of time to understand the dynamics of a vehicle. This is something they fail to understand totally. Another thing is education. It just seem impossible to get them right and follow the rules. They just get good at operating the car, not necessarily driving it.

I believe there are drivers, exception to this and drive good. but I have not found thhem yet.

Anyway, please take care of yourself, and your family in this time of grief.
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Old 13th July 2006, 19:41   #4
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First up sorry about the loss of your father. Its never easy to lose someone whose existence we've assumed all our lives, and so much depended on.
Next, thank God nothing very major happened to any of you.
People have asked me often why I'd prefer driving myself to taking a bus or cab - my answer is the same - I'm on an average more aware, more educated and likely to be more careful about my loved ones' lives than a random driver. I do 90-120 too, and probably reach quicker than most drivers - but try to provide as much room for error as I can whn on the road - many accidents are avoidable if more margins are built in to the roads, manouvres and driving styles.
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Old 13th July 2006, 19:46   #5
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hey pravin really sorry to hear bout ur father and the accident. Not all drivers are bad, sometimes its just bad luck. Take care of ur family
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Old 13th July 2006, 20:42   #6
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hi pravin, sorry to hear about this. peace be with you.
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Old 13th July 2006, 20:50   #7
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Default Simple rules to follow

Hi
I feel sorry for your experience and that you could not be at the bedside of your father during his last moments. My sincere condolence to you and the whole family.

Am writing this note for others who might face a similar problem.

Have done extensive driving in India with own/hired vehicles/drivers by following few simple rules for the last 35 years:

1. Once the driver starts driving, my first very stern and serious conversation is that he should not drive beyond 80kmph. Failing which I will stop the vehicle and get down and not pay him anymore. This sentence must get into his head or else it is of no use. Incase, he still goes above set limit, I have also insisted to stop the vehicle. This will always work. Important is that you do it and not only talk about it. The rest of the journey will be safe as he then has enough error-margin.

2. On your own car, incase he crosses the limits, just ask him to stop the car and ask him to come out. Tell him to mind his speed as next time you will throw him out of the car.

Both above messages are very short and clear for him to understand. Important is that you not only talk about it but also do it.

Believe me, it has worked on all occassions. I had a similar case recently while travelling in a Qualis in Rajasthan. Near Jaipur, he tried to speed up the vehicle and I asked him to stop the car. Then I told him off never to do it again with me on this trip as I will not give him another warning and just get down from the car. And he never did it again.

Bottomline, your life is in your hands and you need to fight for it instead of just let somebody else ruin your journey.

That's my two bits and hope it helps you.
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Old 13th July 2006, 21:00   #8
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Extremey sorry to hear this.
My deepest condolence to you and the whole family.
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Old 13th July 2006, 21:10   #9
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i dont know what to say dude.. sorry to hear about the loss of your father.
may his soul rest in peace
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Old 13th July 2006, 21:13   #10
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Dear pravin_sn,

Thanks for sharing. I felt very sad going through your post - I lost my mom this Febuary and know how it feels.

- Johy
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Old 14th July 2006, 10:21   #11
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Hi Pravin_sn,
Extremely sorry to hear about your trajedy!! My deepest condolences to you and your family. That was destiny.
This drivers dont understand that any new vehicle (when u take to wheels to some other vehicles) takes time to be adjusted no matter how many kms of experience u have!! Krishnagiri to Dharmapuri is a road where I feel very uncomfortable above 60kmph and that fellow trying to shoot at 100kmph. Offf !!!

Hope the guy has realized the importance of your visit.
And Hats off to SpeedSatya too for timely help (is he the one, my guess??)

Abhi
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Old 14th July 2006, 10:35   #12
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Dear Pravin,
Extremly sorry for your loss.
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Old 14th July 2006, 13:04   #13
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Pravin,

Sad to hear this this incident - you never told me this before..once again condolences to you and your family on the loss. May God give you strenght.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pravin_sn
One important lesson I learnt that day was never to trust your vehicle, and more importantly, your and your family's lives in a driver's hands.

NEVER
Yes , never ever trust any driver .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by pravin_sn
We were all lucky to be alive. I quickly checked my family and they were all ok even though they did not wear seat belts (Versa DX2 had seat belts on all the 6 rear seats).
And I hope you learnt this MAJOR LESSON. Always belt up , you never know what you might encounter...I insist on the rear passengers belting up on a long drive.
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Old 14th July 2006, 13:38   #14
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Thank you everyone for the condolences.

Yes normally_crazy - From day 1, I always belt up while driving.
Maybe its bcoz I learnt driving at the Maruti School of Driving in Bangalore - they really drill this rule into you so much that it becomes a habit with you.

And for long trips these days, I relate this incident to those sitting on the rear seat and they almost always belt up.
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Old 14th July 2006, 13:50   #15
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Yes akroy...your guess is correct...10 bonus points to you :-)
The good samaritan TBHP-ian was speedsatya.

Till then he always used to be talk about tbhp, cars, long drives, roads and how all tbhp-ians 'drank fuel and ate roads' ( or something to that effect ). And I always thought 'naah...not my cup of tea...these guys must be aliens to love their machines so much'.

But on that fateful day, what he did for me was really impressive. His experience on the road really made a difference to us - who were stranded in midst of nowwhere. I cant imagine someone going so much out of his way, just to help us.

Had it not been for him, I would have missed even my dad's funeral the next day morning. And so speedsatya is someone I will really be grateful to - all my life. And I mean it.

Thank you speedsatya - on behalf of my entire family.

And yes, I've dont think of tbhp-ians as aliens anymore...you guys rock.
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