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Old 25th June 2014, 03:31   #1
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Default About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

First off I could not decide if this is correct forum area for this topic or should it be under Buckle up section. Either way mods can scratch their heads on this.

Second my search for 'Right of way' yielded no results so I thought of starting this thread.

Today morning I took a cab of well known brand to airport. The systems in place to keep me informed about arrival of cab etc. and quality of upkeep was of top quality as was courtesy shown by driver. Also he was reasonably smooth driver keeping to moderate speeds.

However to me all that is a naught if driving safety is not observed in one crucial aspect - understanding right of way.

What should you do when joining a highway? Coming to a cross road? Joining from a slip road? Obvious answers?

But then as they day no sense do uncommon and common sense.
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Old 25th June 2014, 04:35   #2
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

I live in apartments that are situated right off the National Highway 2 (Is this correct new number) / Mathura Road in Faridabad. There is metro line construction going on so the traffic is regulated tightly in two lanes. So right after he picks me up and get out of the building gates the driver straight away joins the traffic without even a look to right hand. Yes he does this ever so slowly. Sitting on the rear left seat I am alarmed that a container truck coming towards us in outer lanes brakes and slows down to let us get ahead.

I get out of the building and drive on to that highway multiple times a day (and even though there is a slight incline to join the highway) never have I joined in without looking right and waiting for a gap - even if it cyclists going past.

I remember a close shave almost ten year back, sitting on front left seat with my uncle driving, while on visit to Datia ji and Sonagiri. My uncle approached the highway from a side road and without looking left or right was almost going to cross to the other side road. I shouted him to brake - sorry for back seat driving - as I could see a fully laden truck coming from our left at fairly high speed. After the truck had passed my uncle thanked me while I - despite our age difference - admonished him for being so careless. He remembers that lesson even today and once in a while reminds how we got saved.

Appreciate the fact that a fully laden truck at speed cannot just stop in a jiffy. And he is travelling on a highway. And in case of meeting between the vehicles you will come out poor.

Right of way in not your right to roads and highway but a courtesy to others based on simple rules and logical approach to safe driving.

Having seen the taxi driver in this mode I was alert and all the way to airport was on tenterhooks. Just after we joined the highway we approached a cross road junction where we have to change direction back towards Delhi. At this junction also he just turned around without really creating a safe gap even in face of oncoming heavy traffic. And worst part is that he did these maneuvers at very slow speeds there by increasing further unsafe probabilities.

What do others feel?
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Old 25th June 2014, 07:05   #3
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Good topic! "Right of way" is such a alien concept in our country that its alarming. I am pretty sure, most have not even heard about the phrase let alone understand or follow it.

A lot of the chaos on our roads would go away, if people just start following this simple concept and start "giving" right-of-way to others rather than "insisting" for their right-of-way.

Here's what I had learnt about Right of Way from the US days:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...ml#post3016906 (Things they don’t teach you at an Indian driving school)

I hope a healthy discussion on this thread makes more people aware of it and thereby we see some sanity on our roads.
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Old 25th June 2014, 07:44   #4
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Common right of way points:

1. When you are crossing a main (bigger?) road.

2. Using slip roads to traffic where you are merging

3. On round about to traffic on your right (India) that is already negotiating the round about.

4. Traffic moving from faster lane to slower lane for an up coming exit

5. To emergency vehicles

Any more??

...was in taking the flight...continuing.

So I was more alert and talked to the driver. For few of the next turns he did turn his head to check if there is any 'Danger' approaching but again he was back to his norm. Then around Vasant Kunj area I saw tow more Innova's - taxis - also barging in to the main road requiring my taxi to brake. Funny part is the my driver muttered curses at them under his breath completely forgetting his own driving habits!!
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Old 25th June 2014, 08:52   #5
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Just back from a morning drop to the railway station. I could not get the right of way at a traffic signal, when my lights were green ! It is commonly believed that traffic signals need not be obeyed early in the morning and I was stuck at every crossroad waiting for the red light offenders to pass before I could go forward on a green light.

To add to your list
  • At marked pedestrian crossings (almost impossible to follow in India), right of way to the pedestrians
  • At free lefts to traffic coming straight through
  • To drivers displaying L Board (at least to driving school cars)
Since the concept of right of way is completely alien on our roads, I believe the only sensible way for a cautious driver to stay sane is to give way everytime, irrespective of rules !
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Old 25th June 2014, 09:23   #6
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Hi sudev
Nice topic. I too drive a lot. More now a days since i commute between mysore & b'lore for the sake of job.

1. Long time ago, had read a quote " When you are driving, think that all other people driving on the road are Fools", believed in that & that makes me a very conscious driver. We might be the best drivers or followers of rules, but we also should keep in mind that someone not following does not mean that only he would get affected.

2. Used to go & stare /shout at drivers who don't follow rules. Gradually realized that it could be an occasion where even I might have done such a thing which would have irritated someone else like this.

Coming out of rage & thinking of correcting the whole world has given lot of relief & comfort for my driving.

If someone in the forum brings the basic Traffic rules & sections briefly , it would help every one to be aware of the rules.

Ananth

Last edited by GTO : 25th June 2014 at 16:54. Reason: Typos
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Old 25th June 2014, 09:24   #7
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

From what I recall (something which I had read somewhere) and which I encounter, in a roundabout, if you are circumventing the round about, you have the right of way, but multiple times, I have to keep my temper in check and let some moron cross just because I don't want to get into an altercation (road rage) and get my car/bike damaged.
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Old 25th June 2014, 10:38   #8
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

This is a very relevant topic and I was thinking about the same thing since the past few months in Bangalore.

Those familiar with B'lore will know that the expressway from Hebbal flyover to the Bangalore International Airport has opened a few months ago. While this certainly eases traffic and cuts down on travel time for those coming from the city, it also raised an important question for those people like me joining the main expressway from arterial roads - What is our right of way?

I live close to Yelahanka and use this road frequently since I travel to the airport often. I join this expressway from a service lane that opens out right after the BSF outpost in Yelahanka. When I drive, I'm careful to merge into to the closest possible limit to the LHS on the left lane giving other users who are traveling on the expressway from Hebbal at a much higher speed the right of way but have noticed most other vehicles especially buses, trucks and a few cabs veering into the middle and right fast lane directly into on-coming traffic without a care in the world

Most people don't understand the concept of 'right of way' along with a lot of other road etiquette here in India and drive with the notion of 'My way is the right way'. Some imbecile cab drivers deliberately veer into the fast lane in an attempt to slow down faster traffic and derive a cheap thrill from doing so.

Last edited by gpa : 25th June 2014 at 11:01. Reason: typos
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Old 25th June 2014, 10:38   #9
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

"Right of way" as defined by Sudev is something that we do not usually get to see in India.

As an example, if you see the driving test conducted in the UAE to provide you a license (other countries may be following the same, I know of this one right now), when you merge from a general road to the highway, the parameters checked are: your speed, your composure, if you check your internal rear view mirror, if you check your external view mirror AND if you see over your shoulder to check if there was anything in the blind spot to your side, plus of course, keeping the vehicle steady and straight while not driving over the yellow line.

Not following this, results in a failure of your driving test.

The only way to fix this is to make getting a license without clearing a stringent exam session impossible, and this too will take at least 20-30 years to bring around a change, since the current generation of drivers would need to retire or go for a renewal.
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Old 25th June 2014, 11:57   #10
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Right of way for me means ensure in your best possible manner that you don't slow down any other vehicle (or cause them unnecessary trouble) in the process of maneuvering YOUR vehicle for all these reasons I can think of:
  • Joining a main road
  • Taking a U-Turn
  • Stopping to pick or drop someone
  • Allowing a pedestrian to cross the road
  • Avoiding a Puddle or a Pothole
  • Crossing an Intersection
  • Negotiating a round about
  • Negotiating a Hair pin curve
  • Passing a Narrow road
  • Managing overtaking on single carriageway roads

Joining a main road:
I have noticed many people coming at good speed, stop in a way that half of their bonnet is already protruding on a lane and then see Left-right and join the main road. Do this gradually and you know how easy it becomes for every one of us. Another set of morons are those who don’t want to lose momentum (they hate downshifting) and just join the main road expecting the rest of the traffic to either slow down or change their lanes.
Ideally, It is always better to approach the main road at a slow pace, pause for a couple of seconds (Yes you can use this time to slot into 1st), assess the traffic and move ahead and join in a way that you are not going to slow down or cause unnecessary trouble for others.
Be extremely careful for Buses, Trucks, 2 wheelers – They may not be able to brake in time for you
Be doubly cautious for cars – They approach you at a very good speed & its OK to let them pass before you join the main road
More than doubly cautious at nights – You certainly need good amount of experience to judge the approach speed of vehicles at night. I prefer turning on the Hazard for those few seconds as the indicator lights on Fender/Mirror gives a good hint to perpendicular traffic to spot you. As much as possible, keep your beams low (or even on Fog lights) as a sudden flash of light in dark from a perpendicular direction can give shock to the traffic on that regular highway/road.

Taking a U-Turn:
Always ensure to know the location of making a U-Turn. Never slow down abruptly in a manner that the traffic tailing you will be in trouble. The tailing traffic always has the right of way if you intend to make that U-Turn. Keep regular watch on Mirror, give the following traffic a hint about your U-Turn by gradually decreasing your pace, Turn on Indicators for 3-4 seconds and turn it off and again after 3-5 seconds turn it on again – This gives them a hint that you are going to either turn right or make a U-Turn and they get enough chance to change their lanes accordingly
While making that U-Turn, always keep your beams low, and keep the indicators turned on till you finish that U-Turn. The oncoming traffic can spot your flashing indicator from a distance if you are on low beam. They will avoid you in case you become a hero and flash that high beam to warn him and never spot your indicator.
More Importantly: Soon after taking that U-Turn, move left after assessing the mirror and allow that faster moving traffic to pass till you accelerate.
Also, stop your car at an angle at that U-Turn in such a way that its not protruding on either of the lanes (tailing and oncoming).

Stopping to pick or drop someone:
I have had enough fights with my family members many times when I am asked to suddenly stop (STOP!!!Tthat’s the shop I was telling you type situations!). Normally I care a damn to drive ahead and come to a gradual halt and ask them to walk back rather than stop right there when they ask me to. Sorry but I am the last person to Turn on Hazard lights at this juncture to let the world know that I am doing the right thing. As usual, the tailing traffic has the right of way here.

Allowing a pedestrian to cross the road:
This one is tricky for you don’t know whether the pedestrian will decide to continue crossing the road of move back after spotting a faster vehicle next to me. But here as well, Pedestrian has the right of way without doubts. You may have noticed many times how pedestrians try to look at you to ascertain if you will slow down for them or not. I normally wave my hands from inside asking them to cross and at the same time ease on the throttle keeping an eye on the IRVM and hinting others. A sudden braking can cause a disaster here.

Avoiding a Puddle or a Pothole:
This is the worst. I have seen folks quickly changing lanes to avoid a pothole of a puddle of water. But the traffic following you cannot be taken for granted just because you want to save your car from hitting the pothole. Do not swerve to the next lane to avoid a pothole such that the other fella gets a shock of his life. Try your best to slow down in your own lane (It’s OK to start gaining speed all over again than patting your back that you maintained your speeds).

Crossing an Intersection:
Defensive & anticipatory driving works best here and always give right of way first to a moron at intersections. Do not make a mistake of suddenly stopping at the middle of the intersection to let someone pass perpendicularly. Just when you are nearing the intersection, drop your speeds (Than increase it to pass quickly as no one is around), assess the traffic and slowly progress till the end of that intersection.

Negotiating a roundabout:
Again, right of way here for that moron who doesn’t understand what a roundabout is. Gauge from body language and line of path on whether the vehicle will turn right/left or continue straight.

Negotiating a Hair pin curve:
You are not driving a multi axle truck or a AshokLeyland bus. Keep calm & remain in your lane than try to ape WRC Drivers and manage that hairpin curve at good speeds. Always give right of way to traffic climbing up. If required, even stop or back-up if you spot a poor truck struggling to climb one.

Passing a Narrow road:
It’s always OK to show signs that you are flexible to get down the road a bit to let other pass. Give this hint from a distance by slowly moving left rather than pounce on that oncoming vehicle in such a way that you want him to get off the road. Gentleman truckers and Bus drivers and experienced private car drivers will know what I referring to and these are the folks who won’t mind getting down the road to allow the other vehicle to pass.
If you spot a heavy vehicle (Loaded) please get down and allow him to pass. Its not easy for that poor fella to get down and risky as well.

Managing overtaking on single carriageway roads:
(Two things here – Overtaking and allowing someone to complete his overtaking)
On a Narrow road, it becomes difficult to overtake a heavy vehicle. They cannot get down immediately to allow you to pass. They need a good stretch where they think you can safely pass. So Honk once, notice from the mirror of the that vehicle if you have grabbed the attention of that driver and he is most likely to acknowledge by either hinting you that “give me some time” or moving left almost immediately. There is no point in unnecessary honking here as it will never work. Patience is the key.

On a road where you spot someone ahead in your lane in oncoming direction because he is overtaking, you can ease on your pedal for a second and create enough gap and allow him to finish that overtaking rather than flash your lights like a hero to ask him to go back. Unless you have to brake badly or have no room left to control, it is always good to be a gentleman here and allow that vehicle to finish his overtaking.

Last edited by paragsachania : 25th June 2014 at 12:10.
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Old 25th June 2014, 13:08   #11
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Default re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Any more??
Un-manned junctions: At un-manned junctions, vehicles that entered the junction first has the right of way. I see everyday & experienced umpteen number of times, vehicles enter the junction even if other vehicle is in the junction and cause dead-locks. Neither vehicles can move.
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Old 25th June 2014, 13:37   #12
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Default Re: Right of way - safe driving

The legal version (according to Motor Vehicle Act):

1. When you are crossing a main (bigger?) road. (with no signals)
  • The traffic on the "bigger" road has the right of way. Slow down/stop as necessary, let them pass and proceed when safe for you to do so. You may have to pause after crossing the first half of the road, to check for traffic approaching from the left
  • If it's unclear which road is bigger, traffic approaching from your right has right of way.
2. Using slip roads to traffic where you are merging
  • Traffic on the road that you are trying to join has right of way. Yield and merge.
3. On round about to traffic on your right (India) that is already negotiating the round about.
  • Vehicles that have already entered the round about have right of way.
  • If you're taking a left turn, stay as far to the left as possible
  • If you're headed straight, leave gaps on either side
  • If you're taking a right turn, stay close to the round about till you reach the side opposite to the one you entered, then gradually peel away
  • If you're taking a U-turn, stay close to the round about all the way
4. Traffic moving from faster lane to slower lane for an up coming exit
  • Not sure on this one, but if they signal, better to let them pass and overtake from the right
5. To emergency vehicles
  • Emergency vehicles (ambulances, fire engines, police vehicles, etc) with their strobes/sirens on have right of way. You need to pull over to the side of the road and let them pass
  • If the strobes/lights are off, drive normally
6. Vehicles travelling uphill
  • Make way for them to continue the climb. If the road is not wide enough, you need to get off the road and let them pass.
  • Long vehicles like trucks/buses use up the entire width of the road to make a hair pin, stop a little distance away from hairpins and let them pass
7. Animals on the road (cattle, horses, sheep, etc)
  • Animals have the right of way. Avoid startling them by excessive honking. Wait for their caretaker to clear the road for you.
  • If one or two animals are crossing the road, slow down and pass them from their rear: animals seldom use reverse gear.
The practical version (according to common sense):

When we, the educated lot don't have complete knowledge of the rules/laws, how can we expect less privileged drivers to follow rules that they are not aware of? For them, there's just one rule (if any): don't crash.
  1. Drive defensively. It's good to be paranoid. Assume everyone else bought their license and didn't pass their driving tests.
  2. If any vehicle appears to be in a tearing hurry, let him go. It's better to be behind a vehicle that's driven rash-you can maintain a safe distance from him. Else he will tail gate you.
  3. There's no arguing with a 10 ton truck. It always has the right of way. Unless of course, you are driving an armoured tank.
  4. Slow down at an intersection regardless of whether you have the right of way. Road users, especially in rural areas are bad at judging your speed. A car doing 100kmph that's 150m away will cover that distance in less than 6 seconds. A TVS XL, tractor, bullock cart, etc will need more than that to clear the road.
  5. Some people have the absurd notion that traffic rules don't apply after 10pm or so (one ways/wrong ways in particular). Be wary of such vehicles.
  6. Be nice to taxi/bus/lorry drivers: for them driving is more work than pleasure. They have to slog long hours through maddening city traffic day in and day out. Protest certainly if they're driving dangerously, but know that it is better to let a cab lead the way for you; they will know where all the speedbreakers, potholes, alternate routes are
In India, it is always the fault of the bigger vehicle no matter who had the right of way. Pedestrian > cycle > motorcycle > auto > hatch > sedan > SUV > mini bus/lorry > bus/lorry > semi trailers > trailers.

So spend 2 seconds to avoid a crash, or spend 2 years running around the court house. Your choice.
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Old 25th June 2014, 14:45   #13
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Default Re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Here's a related thread on the topic.

Also, link to a video showing how our fellow road users have absolutely no sense of 'right of way' (more on this thread (Video: Why you should be cautious at road junctions)).
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Old 25th June 2014, 15:35   #14
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Default Re: About 'Right of Way' & Safe Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Right of way in not your right to roads and highway but a courtesy to others based on simple rules and logical approach to safe driving.

Having seen the taxi driver in this mode I was alert and all the way to airport was on tenterhooks. Just after we joined the highway we approached a cross road junction where we have to change direction back towards Delhi. At this junction also he just turned around without really creating a safe gap even in face of oncoming heavy traffic. And worst part is that he did these maneuvers at very slow speeds there by increasing further unsafe probabilities.

What do others feel?
Right of Way is akin to the idiom that was present in the earlier licenses issued by the RTO, “Driving is a pleasure and not a right” and, should have been continued on the new licenses cards that are now being issued.

It is sad that today many of the drivers fresh or experienced take the road rules for granted and continue to disobey them. This is more so in the case of drivers who have recently got their licenses or in worse cases the drivers being underage.

Slightly going off topic though important to note.
Youngsters are driven by impulse and tend to drive fast or get into impromptu racing with each other. Some are just too young to understand road conditions and their presence on the wheel endangers the lives of others.

I would be wrong in saying that I have a perfect driving manner (I am not even sure if there is a perfect driving manner) but I do make it a point to respect the other drivers on the road and learn new points when I am being driven around.

Safe motoring,
Vinay.
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Old 25th June 2014, 20:15   #15
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@paragsachania some excellent points made by you with detailed explanations.
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