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Old 28th September 2006, 02:37   #1
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Default Small survival kit for Indian roads.

Just a while back I was reading Amit's rantings (Close shaves everyday!)about the pathetic conditions of the Indian roads and the traffic sense (or rather the absense of it) amongst Indians. He finds it all perilious after his brief brush with the traffic in the western world. That set me thinking. I am sure most of us have our own ways to manage the scenario here...

So here is a personal checkpoint of things I do as soon as I hit the road everyday for a 60 km to and fro drive across the best and the worst of hyderabadi roads, wading through a sea of cars and bikes.
  • Never go too close to a truck, bus etc... They just turn without looking anywhere.
  • If a bus is parked at a stop immediately make a lane's gap between your car and the bus. You can count your lucky stars if he does not take a 90 degrees turn and land up on your car the moment you pass him by.
  • Keep a distance from new cars, particularly the unregistered ones. The owners are prone to oversteer or understeer or roll back from a stand still and you may find that his car is kissing yours before you knew what happened.
  • The moment a biker overtakes you take your feet off the accelerator for a moment. Chances are bright that he wil cut sharply across just in front of you and then brake.
  • If you are about to reach a sharp turn where you can not see the other side of the bend honk loudly and/or flash. Reduce the speed also to a more manageable one. There is a very good chance that an overtaking biker or a cab (indicabs, qualis, any other) will be on your lane just at that very moment. You may also find a broken down car, bus etc or even just a parked vehicle at that very blind turn!
  • If you see a couple of playful kids or even adults a bit ahead at the side of the road BEWARE. Once they are sure that you are now almost close enough not to be able to brake one of them will decide to chase the other one so that the bugger runs across the road, dodging his mate and lands up bang in front of the car.
  • Lastly, the moment you hear a mad car or a bike (the variety that makes too much noise due to mods done in their exhaust chambers/manifolds etc) coming your way just move out. Thats more important here than making way for an ambulance, fire truck etc. Sad but thats how it is.
Alongwith all the above checkpoints make it a habit to be a "nervous" driver. Keep darting your eyes across the RVM, ORVMs and the corners of the road ahead periodically. May just give you the wisdom of the Oracle at times to be able to predict a suicide attempt by some madcap nut behind the wheels.

Feel free to add what you do over and above this to save your skin.

Last edited by Zappo : 28th September 2006 at 02:42.
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Old 28th September 2006, 08:52   #2
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Very well written Zappo, I think you've summarized it very well. One of the other things I've religuously started doing - if I can see that traffic up ahead is coming to an abrupt standstill, I switch on my hazard warning simultaneously as I'm hitting the brakes; that gives the fast & the furious behind me a better chance of stopping in time & not tailgating me!
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Old 28th September 2006, 22:01   #3
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Very thoughtfully written. Good work.
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Old 28th September 2006, 22:13   #4
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theres one important rule i follow here. whenever jamming on the brakes take a really quick glance in your rear view mirror to make sure theres no car or especially bike too close cos he will rear end you.
if theres a vehicle too close try and brake that much later. you may get away unscathed only lot closer to the car in front rather than stopping with a gap in the front but a biker in your rear bumper.
ive been following this rule and its saved me countless number of times where a biker has narrowly missed my rear bumper only because i gave him that much extra room to brake by going a little closer to the vehicle in front while braking.
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Old 29th September 2006, 00:24   #5
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yes... in fact another thing that helps is to take your hands out and raise at 90 degrees, with palm open, the moment the vehicles ahead start stopping in a hurry. Somehow this causes people behind to react much faster than seeing the brake lights come on.
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Old 29th September 2006, 00:37   #6
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keep a healthy distance (if possible a car) between u & the call centre vehicle.
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Old 29th September 2006, 00:45   #7
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hmmm... tried that naveen. there is only one problem with that theory. the moment the nut behind you realizes that he can somehow squeeze into that space between your car and the cab in front he will try a stunt putting you into a real danger.

The trick is to maintain a distance that lets you react in time and yet restrict that gap so that it does not invite a nut to try his foolish stunts.
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Old 29th September 2006, 00:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vid6639
theres one important rule i follow here. whenever jamming on the brakes take a really quick glance in your rear view mirror to make sure theres no car or especially bike too close cos he will rear end you.
if theres a vehicle too close try and brake that much later. you may get away unscathed only lot closer to the car in front rather than stopping with a gap in the front but a biker in your rear bumper.
ive been following this rule and its saved me countless number of times where a biker has narrowly missed my rear bumper only because i gave him that much extra room to brake by going a little closer to the vehicle in front while braking.
Or start braking early but ligtly so that it gives enough time for the biker staring at your rear light ,,also when you do this you dont end up too close to the vehicle infront of you, what if incase he comes to a stop suddenly otherwise?

Last edited by The Wolf : 29th September 2006 at 00:55.
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Old 29th September 2006, 01:06   #9
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Default Keep distance and have a quick glance at the RVMs

I would also like to share some experience regarding driving on Indian roads. A couple of weeks back, at a signal crossing late in the evening, I had stopped my car a few feet behind my father's car and there were not many cars on the road. A Maruti 800 came behind my car and stopped. I always keep having a quick glance at the rear-view mirror even when stopped at signals to gauge the traffic behind.

I could see that a bus was speeding towards the signal and could make out that it won't be able to stop in time at the signal. I quickly engaged first gear and inched forward, closer to my father's car ahead and milliseconds later the bus driver as expected wasn't able to stop the bus in time and rammed into the 800 behind my car. I was lucky that I was keeping an eye on the rear-view mirror even late in the evening when there was not much traffic, otherwise the 800 could have rammed into my car. Also I kept a good distance between my car and the car in front, which my father was driving. I guess the 800 lost it's bumper, but luckily there was not much bodywork damage as the bus driver must have retarded some speed by the time it hit the car.

So all in all, one should always keep a safe distace from the vehicle in front of your vehicle even at signal crossings (also you never know the auto in front of your car might suddenty break-down, so it gets easier to manouevre if you keep some distance). Also, one should always keep having a quick glance at the inside as well as outside rear view mirrors in order to ensure the safety of your own and your vehicles body.
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Old 29th September 2006, 09:33   #10
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hey guys..
one more thing left out.. Autorikshas who thinks the roads are ment for them and not for others.. they take tuns as they wish.. they drive at the phase of cyclewala when there is no passengers and when they have passengers they ride like a Formula 1, so please be aware of these Autorikshas...
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Old 6th October 2006, 15:19   #11
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Arrow Few More Points....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo
.......
  • If you are about to reach a sharp turn where you can not see the other side of the bend honk loudly and/or flash. Reduce the speed also to a more manageable one. ......
  • If you see a couple of playful kids or even adults a bit ahead at the side of the road BEWARE. Once they are sure that you are now almost close enough not to be able to brake one of them will decide to chase the other one so that the bugger runs across the road, dodging his mate and lands up bang in front of the car........
Feel free to add what you do over and above this to save your skin.
Valid points Zappo.. a few additions,

When you overtake on a blind turn; have enough space to meanuovere if some idiot with a bullock cart, tractor or anything on wheels comes on the wrong lane agains you...... happens everyday on the businest roads.

When braking, specially in city traffic, pump the brakes a couple of times and red-light the guy behind you, some guys just don't look in front of them when they drive . This reduces (not avoids) the number of bumps / sccrtches on your fenders.

When you see children and animals on the road, be extra careful and expect them to jump on your car; give lots of room / space for braking and passing.

--Ramky
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Old 6th October 2006, 15:39   #12
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This is something I've noticed...

When you drive carefully and conscientiously, everyone is out to get you, scratch your car etc etc.

But when you drive aggresively (sometimes we all do it), everyone mysteriously learns to behave themselves around you.

This has happened to me at least.
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Old 6th October 2006, 16:42   #13
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Quote:
When you overtake on a blind turn; have enough space to meanuovere if some idiot with a bullock cart, tractor or anything on wheels comes on the wrong lane agains you.
I believe overtaking on a blind turn is an inherently wrong practice. Blind turns should be approached with care.
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Old 6th October 2006, 21:31   #14
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also, when the guy ahead of you swerves, dont take that as an overtaking opportunity. there must be a good reason for that. saved me a couple of times from head-ons.
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Old 7th October 2006, 07:10   #15
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i have noticed that a VERY loud horn helps in traffic...people give you dirty looks but move out of the way! i sometimes envy the safari wallas...with their massive plastic side cladding...getting that scratched is IMPOSSIBLE!! i wish ALL vehicles came with such cladding...also it is not always possible to give early signs of braking specially in heavy traffic...u have to keep moving fast & stopping hard...otherwise some nut will definitely cut in ahead of u....i have also noticed that it helps if the brake light bulbs are of a high wattage. most of us do not bother about it, but BRIGHT RED is very much a warning for the people behing you not to bump u, specially in broad daylight...believe me...it helps a lot!!
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