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Old 18th June 2014, 12:32   #1
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Default Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

I was travelling from Thane to BKC yesterday morning.
My meeting was scheduled at 1100 am and I wanted to ensure that I reach by 1015 am.
An important presentation was on the cards to one of the company Directors and I didn't want to screw up.

Started from my place in Thane at 830am only to be caught in one of the worst traffic jams in recent times on the Eastern Express Highway just after crossing the Mulund check naka.

Sitting in the car, was getting jittery, frustrated and angry at the same time.
A late start to the presentation would have a very negative impact on my punctuality as well.

Yet, this jam seemed never ending.
Till I reached the source.
6 Cars(03 of them seemed total loss), in one of the worst traffic pile ups on the Eastern Express Highway.

The ill fated cars- A Wagon R/Tata Indica(Total Loss)/Wagon R(Total Loss)/Honda City(Type 2)-Severe Damage/May be a total loss/Tata Ace/Figo(Severe Damage).

I suddenly wanted to pen down some thoughts on this topic though this is something which might be elementary to the motor gurus in this forum.

What Causes Pileups:

There could be varied reasons for this though the most relevant ones would be:

1) First Monsoon Bout:
With the first showers lashing the city, the roads are a slush place. Water, mixed with dust=Mud. Add oil from the vehicles and we have a deadly concoction.
Bikes are more prone to this though cars are also vulnerable. The roads becomes slippery and the tyre grip substantially reduces.
The stopping distance increases substantially and boom!! There goes the car!

2) Poor Driving/Tailing
Mostly seen with the cabbies. They tail you like there is no tomorrow and even a small drop in speed, they are already busted. You have long repair/insurance claims to fight now.

3)Poor visibility
Heavy rains/smog/fog/mist can all lead to the poor visibility resulting in pileups.
Infact, in US, fog accounts for the maximum traffic pile ups.

4)Ill maintained vehicles
Pre-monsoon, it is absolutely imperative to have the brakes checked. Also, a thorough check on the tyre grips should be mandatory. Fill the car with adequate windscreen washer/water and ensure the wipers are doing a good job. Else, change the blades pronto.

Last but not the least, check the electricals. The brake lamps and the headlamps should be in working order.

5)Road Hazzards
There are lot of road construction activities on. Check for diversions. There may also be places where no diversion boards are placed. Check out these risky places.

Also, keep your eyes open for "breakdown" vehicles. They may or may not use the triangle to signal you.

-----------
How to Avoid a Pileup:


There are no short cuts here. The only basic way is to drive safe and be aware of your surroundings.


1) Keep a safe distance

This may not always be possible but in times of heavy rain, try to maintain at least a 20 ft distance from the vehicle ahead. This can give the much needed braking space should there be an emergency stop by the vehicle ahead.

2) Pump Brake
Instead of doing a full brake, in wet conditions, its always advisable for a pump braking principle. This will ensure that even non ABS/EBD vehicles do not skid off track.

3) Maintain a healthy speed
Maintain a healthy speed between 50-60 Kmph. Overspeeding will lead to higher difficulty in handling the vehicle on a wet surface.

4) Keep the car serviced/maintained
Do good to your vehicle. Keep it maintained. All fluids should be topped up, wiper blades checked(or changed), tyres pressure checked/bald tyres replaced, electrical checked/fuse lamps changed.

5) First Aid Kit
As a precaution, it is always advisable to keep some basic first aid kit handy and at hand. God Forbid, this can come in useful in case of a hit.

Happy Driving. Drive Safe!!

Last edited by arnabchak : 18th June 2014 at 12:34.
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Old 18th June 2014, 14:21   #2
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Lovely topic. Honestly I hate when it rains in any big city - It just creates the worst atmosphere on roads and causes very heavy pile-ups.

Adding to your list are some of my thoughts-
  • You don’t know how to use the HVAC system effectively to clear the mist on the windscreen, Yet you do all the research on obtaining the best sound settings from that HU
  • You don’t know that the vehicle ahead is also driven on wet roads and he can splash water on your windscreen anytime blinding you for few seconds, Yet you want to “Enjoy ” the rains looking at the open skies
  • You think you will brake in time and you expect that Vintage truck with Drum brakes to manage stopping in time ; That too, on wet roads!
  • If someone suddenly brakes ahead, you just change your lane rather than carefully bringing your vehicle to halt watching your rear view mirrors – This action prompts the rest to shift lanes haphazardly
  • You go Gung-Ho about getting your car washed regularly but fail to realise how important it is to keep the head and tail lamps clear of any muck even if the car is dirty
  • You panic heavily when it rains and put your wipers in fastest position as if you are sword fighting
  • You think driving next to the median and you are safe from all the Hazards? What about water logging near medians that can literally stop your car without a notice when you are cruising on wet roads?
  • You realise it’s time to turn the Hazard lights when it drizzles just because you see 3 morons doing that ahead of you. And when you think a poor fella with a stationary vehicle is an Idiot who confused you as if he's in motion by turning on his hazards too!
  • You obviously put your high beams when visibility is bad but fail to realise that it’s your low beam which will focus on the road right in front of you rather than illuminating the droplets
And lastly the biggest reason for Pile-up during rains is the herd mentality:
A mere puddle of water and all of them change lanes! C’mon, Raingods haven’t started to add salt to the water. Please assess the depth of the water by looking at the submerged wheels of the Tempo or any other bigger vehicle when they pass over that water body.

Before I forget:
Dear 2 wheeler riders belonging to this category: Dark clouds means it may probably rain or even downpour. June-August means it is rainy season (Remember from School??). Carry your raincoats or jackets or whatever. More than carrying, wear that and ride. Bus stops and fly-overs are not to take shelter when it rains and block more than half of the road.

Last edited by paragsachania : 18th June 2014 at 14:23.
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Old 18th June 2014, 17:03   #3
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Dear Parag

Very well compiled.

In fact, some of the points highlighted by you are extremely practical.
Completely agree with you on the water from the nearby vehicle blinding you for a few seconds part.

This happens a lot with the trucks.
Another nuisance is the auto and ill maintained Tata Indicas dropping dead right on the highway the moment there is heavy rain.

And also, the two wheeler friends mention was justified.
I remember the days when I didnt have a car.

Come June, irrespective of the fact that it rained or not, I used to wear an XXL raincoat that covered my backpack as well and rode away to office(in full glory!!).
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Old 18th June 2014, 18:31   #4
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Before I forget:
Dear 2 wheeler riders belonging to this category: Dark clouds means it may probably rain or even downpour. June-August means it is rainy season (Remember from School??). Carry your raincoats or jackets or whatever. More than carrying, wear that and ride. Bus stops and fly-overs are not to take shelter when it rains and block more than half of the road.
While some part of sheltering is understandable - clogging traffic as a result isnt

This is the worst esp if done under an expressway foot over bridge. Gurgaon riders are like the worst in the nation on this aspect. They would block upto 3/4 lanes on the GGN expressway parking and sheltering under a foot over bridge!

I mean, its understandable if you're huddling under the bridge - but no, they want their steeds to be dry as well. What's the harm in parking your steed 10m away and not block traffic? Most folks' cars or bikes are exposed to the elements anyways in office/public parking - why shelter the bike as well when you need shelter?! Hello!!

This is mind-boggling and has to be experienced to believe it. Police of course does nothing in this case.
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Old 18th June 2014, 20:45   #5
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
While some part of sheltering is understandable - clogging traffic as a result isnt

This is the worst esp if done under an expressway foot over bridge. Gurgaon riders are like the worst in the nation on this aspect. They would block upto 3/4 lanes on the GGN expressway parking and sheltering under a foot over bridge!

I mean, its understandable if you're huddling under the bridge - but no, they want their steeds to be dry as well. What's the harm in parking your steed 10m away and not block traffic? Most folks' cars or bikes are exposed to the elements anyways in office/public parking - why shelter the bike as well when you need shelter?! Hello!!

This is mind-boggling and has to be experienced to believe it. Police of course does nothing in this case.
Same in Bangalore all along the ORR. Sahib & Madamji want their pretty two-wheelers shielded from the rain too. I have nothing against bikers (I ride one too, just not for commuting), but going out unprepared in rainy season and then causing traffic chaos is really frustrating. The underpasses in Bangalore are horrible enough as it is without bikers forming a flash mob.
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Old 19th June 2014, 00:03   #6
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Honestly I hate when it rains in any big city - It just creates the worst atmosphere on roads and causes very heavy pile-ups.
I like it when it rains here in Bang-galore. Precisely for some of the reasons you've listed down:

Most of the 2-wheeler riders will find shelter in some bus-stop, underpass, under a flyover, etc. You'll find far lesser numbers on the roads, irritating you. Of course, it comes with a rider (pun intended) - you should know how and where they horde.

The herd mentality ensures that the vast majority of the vehicles choose the same lane/tract. If you know the road well, and if you are observant enough, you can easily beat the jam. Have done it quite a few times during the last bout of showers in Bangalore, in Madiwala and Silk Board areas.

Quote:
You realise itís time to turn the Hazard lights when it drizzles just because
Add rear fogs also to this list. While Suzuki hatchbacks have their rear fogs placed low enough to avoid strain to the trailing vehicle's driver, the Skodas, VWs etc have them integrated in the tail lamp, and it causes a lot of strain to the driver behind - imagine the bright orange indicators blinking, and a bright red rear fog lamp shining into your eyes.

Quote:
You obviously put your high beams when visibility is bad but fail to realise that itís your low beam which will focus on the road right in front of you rather than illuminating the droplets
If you have a 6000k or 8000k HID in the headlights, then God save your eyes if you drive with high beams on in the rains.
Tail piece
Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Lovely topic
Of course, there will be armchair critics and self-professed "experts" that'll come up with their theoretical knowledge, and long lists of Dos and Don'ts. Only experience can teach us a lot of things while driving in adverse conditions. You'd know it better than I!
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Old 19th June 2014, 00:37   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
[*]You panic heavily when it rains and put your wipers in fastest position as if you are sword fighting.
Yes, Sword fighting with rain and all it does is lower the visibility further as the driver will not be able to judge since the brain is processing at a lower speed than the wipers. Faster the wipers more scratches anyway so further degrading the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
[*]You think driving next to the median and you are safe from all the Hazards?
Rightmost lane driving a.k.a chugging is their birth right. Didn't you know that, I thought you knew?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
[*]You realise it’s time to turn the Hazard lights when it drizzles
Turn on the hazards and drive at 70-90kmph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
[*]You obviously put your high beams
Birth right again. Visibility is best on high beams so that is the rule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Bus stops and fly-overs are not to take shelter when it rains and block more than half of the road.
Funniest part is I see cars also stopping by under flyovers. Bikes I can understand to some extent but cars!! Not that all drive BMW Z4 open top to get drenched.

The other set of enthusiastic morons are ones riding in rain at low speed with umbrella open and held by the pillion where the air is pushing the umbrella backwards but both trying hard to maintain composure.

The other set are ones who are COMPLETELY drenched but get furious when a passing by bus or car splashes a bit of water on them so they overtake the vehicle, stop it and give a lecture on riding techniques in monsoons. I have seen such a million times who spoil the traffic flow.

OT: Parag, one specific group of motoring section is VERY VERY angry with you currently as you haven't mentioned about them and their driving techniques in monsoon.

The ever famous Cabbies I mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Police of course does nothing in this case.
I thought they were too hiding under flyovers with the rest, so they doing anything on this regard is ruled out.

Anurag.

Last edited by a4anurag : 19th June 2014 at 00:46.
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Old 19th June 2014, 01:33   #8
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
[*]You think you will brake in time and you expect that Vintage truck with Drum brakes to manage stopping in time ; That too, on wet roads!
Actually, the Vintage truck- Unloaded, with the drum brakes, stops much faster than most of the cars.

The factors which help that are Huge tires, Heavy weight ( compared to a car) on a tire, and huge drums in the brake ( compared to a car) for the stopping force.

Drum brakes might be old school technology, but it works.

Last edited by Jomz : 19th June 2014 at 01:37.
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Old 19th June 2014, 01:53   #9
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Question coming from a newbie driver. I understand that you must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you but what can you do about the tailgating cab moron behind you with no inch to spare. Imagine a scenario with little or no space to overtake, how am I supposed to ensure that my tailgate doesn't end up crushed like a tin can?
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Old 19th June 2014, 07:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomz View Post

Drum brakes might be old school technology, but it works.
What you say could be possible when roads are dry with proper traction to all wheels but when wet, the situation is different and god save the other road users in its path.

Under wet a scenario, heavy weight, no traction, hardly working brakes and large piece of metal skidding towards some object to eventual destruction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by createrkid View Post
Imagine a scenario with little or no space to overtake, how am I supposed to ensure that my tailgate doesn't end up crushed like a tin can?
I guess this thread mainly is giving tips for the 'normal' set of drivers where cabbies don't fall in this category, they are special.

To have a safe distance from cabbies, either you drive faster or let the cake pass. No other go unless you install something inspiring from movie 'Death Race'.

Anurag.

Last edited by a4anurag : 19th June 2014 at 07:27.
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Old 19th June 2014, 08:25   #11
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Red face re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
3) Maintain a healthy speed
Maintain a healthy speed between 50-60 Kmph.
Arnab,

Good thread.

Would like to mention regarding the point is that maintain a healthy speed but in the second lane. Leave the rightmost lane to the Vettels and Hamiltons or else you would be forced to speed due to continous honking/flashing from rear and this might lead to panic & a mistake.

Have seen many a times vehicle suddenly swerving to the next free lane in order to avoid coming to a standstill in case of a traffic jam. This is one of the reason for vehicles scraping each other and gives birth to road rage.
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Old 19th June 2014, 10:00   #12
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@Girish

As a norm, I drive on the left side during noral days but the middle or the corner lane(though I try to avoid it due to water logging on the fringes) in the monsoon.

Sadly, people do not respect nature and the implications of their ignorance often leads to "LATE Mr. XX and not Mr.XX, the late"

It is imperative to obey rules while driving and more so in the monsoons where visibility may be low and the traction is lower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by createrkid View Post
Question coming from a newbie driver. I understand that you must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you but what can you do about the tailgating cab moron behind you with no inch to spare. Imagine a scenario with little or no space to overtake, how am I supposed to ensure that my tailgate doesn't end up crushed like a tin can?
Dear Createrkid

That is a very relevant question and keeping a suitable distance from the vehicle ahead actually gives you some braking space.

You can slow down comparatively relaxed giving the tailing moron adequate response time to judge you are sowing down as compared to an emergency situation where no one has a chance to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
I guess this thread mainly is giving tips for the 'normal' set of drivers where cabbies don't fall in this category, they are special.


Anurag.
Unfortunately, we exist in an eco system where cabbies and autos are part of the entire set up.

Avoiding or not considering their follies would be a sin!! Right?

No need to argue with their lot as wrong driving is in their DNA.

Note From T-BHP Support: Please avoid posting consecutively. Use the EDIT and MULTI QUOTE (QUOTE+) functions within 30 minutes of posting instead. Thanks.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 19th June 2014 at 21:18.
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Old 19th June 2014, 10:25   #13
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by createrkid View Post
Question coming from a newbie driver. I understand that you must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you but what can you do about the tailgating cab moron behind you with no inch to spare. Imagine a scenario with little or no space to overtake, how am I supposed to ensure that my tailgate doesn't end up crushed like a tin can?
All that you can do in such a situation is to keep your fingers crossed hoping that the moronic driver does not bang into you. If you find some space ahead of you move to the left and simply signal to the driver behind you telling him to carry on.
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Old 19th June 2014, 10:25   #14
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Default re: Traffic Pileups & ways to avoid them

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
Actually, the Vintage truck- Unloaded, with the drum brakes, stops much faster than most of the cars.

The factors which help that are Huge tires, Heavy weight ( compared to a car) on a tire, and huge drums in the brake ( compared to a car) for the stopping force.

Drum brakes might be old school technology, but it works.
Should I have simply mentioned pay attention to rear view mirrors before braking abruptly? We have seen enough rear endings due where a car is smashed by that truck.

It's really not the drum brakes here but only drawing a point that when it rains, the braking efficiency (along with poor visibility) reduces.

And Yes, drum brakes are good, at least they help in 50% of braking in most of the cars today :-)
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Old 19th June 2014, 10:28   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
Unfortunately, we exist in an eco system where cabbies and autos are part of the entire set up.

Avoiding or not considering their follies would be a sin!! Right?

No need to argue with their lot as wrong driving is in their DNA.
It is in their DNA, no doubt but avoiding them in the sense I meant was - none of the rules and tips will have any kind of affect on them. They will drive the way they like so such issues less discussed about cabbies better it is. .

Anurag.
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