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Old 25th May 2008, 22:46   #1
KVS
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Exclamation Close shave on NH4 – bullock cart crossing the highway

Guys,

I though I would share my experience with all of you, so that we all can exercise greater care when driving on NH4 especially the stretch between Kolhapur and Satara.

This incident happened on Monday 19th May. My wife and I were returning to Pune after spending three days at Ambholi. We were driving our Indica.
We left Ambholi at 11:00 AM, with my wife in the driver’s seat. (She is my competitor in driving and she is gaining experience to drive on highways). She drove till Kolhapur and we reached Klohapur around 2:00 PM. We did not have any incidents except we missed to take the left turn to Uttur from the main road and hit the highway at Sankheswar (Instead of the famous Kaveri hotel).

We had snacks at the hotel on the highway and I took the driver seat. We started at 2:30 PM from Kolhapur and I was itching to drive and wanted to reach pune before it gets dark.

I was driving @ 90 KMPH on the highway and the traffic was sparse. I consider myself a safe driver (I learnt my driving in LA, California) and was watchful of the two wheelers coming on the opposite direction and people crossing the roads etc.

On the highway I saw a bullock cart at an intersection (about 50 to 100 meters away) on the other side of the road waiting to take a right turn. I was on the rightmost lane and the speed would be between 90 to 100 KMPH. I honked to let the bullock cart guy know that I was coming and he should wait. To my surprise the guy ignored my honking and started to cross the road.

By the time I realized couple of seconds passed and I knew that even if I applied the brakes I was going to hit the cart. The cart did not have the required speed to cross the lane fast. In addition to that there were 15 to 20 people waiting for the bus on the left side just ahead and there was an Auto parked on the curb.

My instincts took over, I swerved the car to the left lane and wanted to pass the bullock cart while applying the sudden brakes. I managed to avoid colliding with the most of the bullock cart .However, rear end of the driver side of the car hit the bull. I heard a thud sound and followed by sound of broken glass.

My wife was frantically waving to the crowd to move away from the road. Fortunately I did not hit any person standing on the road and stopped the car, just inches before the Auto.

My Cars quarter glass was broken. There were two old people (I guess 70+) who were riding the bullock cart. I started shouting at them, but they were in shocked state.

I saw the bull was bleeding from Mouth, may be its teeth got broken. It was a human mistake and the animal has to pay the penalty.

The two oldies did not say any thing except “MAAF KI JIYE” and they left. All the people around also said nothing major happened so leave it.

My wife and I were thanking god, that no lives were lost .A lot of damage to life and property could have happened. Fortunately at the end it was just a broken side glass.

We stopped at NP Motors, Karad to get the glass fixed. They obliged and it took about an hour and Rs.347 to fix the glass. I guess it is a good part of driving a TATA vehicle you can find many authorized service stations on the highways.

To thank the god we took a detour at Narayangaon and visited the famous Balaji temple and paid our obeisance to lord Balaji. Finally we reached home at 8:30 PM with out any further incidents. It is the first time I faced a situation like this.

So, guys please be careful with the bullock carts. I feel sorry for the injured bull. Hope it is doing OK.

Cheers

KVS
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Old 26th May 2008, 11:48   #2
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A very shaking experience and fortunately you got out unhurt.

The sad part is that the bull got hurt but if it was not for your presence of mind, you could have collided well into the cart.

I would also suggest to all to use the dipper since light travels faster then sound(gathers more attention visually) and the horn sound can get mixed up with the other traffic sounds on the road.

Last edited by dadu : 26th May 2008 at 11:49.
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Old 26th May 2008, 11:52   #3
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A sad mishap and thankfully nothing major happened. The poor bull had to pay the price for the stupidity and callousness of the cart owners. The village folk riding tractors & carts cross the highway as if they are crossing their fields. We too should be careful on our part when passing through a village.
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:01   #4
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Thanks for sharing this experience KVS. It was from the "street experiences" section of team-bhp, I become more careful with dogs/carts/humans crossing the road.

Felt sorry for that BUlL
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:03   #5
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KVS,

I think it is a good portion YOUR fault.
a. You DID manage to notice, but you assumed that they will have the presence of mind.
b. They have remained the way they were years ago - a highway that has been built through their lands. You could try asking IIT Bombay friends about cows - the Hon'ble high court ruled that the animals came first, so IITB can't throw them out. And these are people.
c. What you seemed to be passing through was a village area, and in LA, you'd have no business to be doing 90-100 there. I'd say it was even better than your car didn't lose control and end up injuring someone else - TBHP has enough accounts of last minute steering maneuvers going terribly wrong.
d. Lastly, before you retort that they should learn etc etc - replace village with your home colony/nearby market and bull/owners with kids/grandad. What would you say then?

Thought for the day: With great power (speed) comes great responsibility

Last edited by phamilyman : 26th May 2008 at 12:04.
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:08   #6
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It is always safe to assume that the other driver/rider will not respond to your signals & prepare to brake. Since they were old people, they may not have seen the car & heard your honks. All is well that ends well.

My Highways Ban List
1. Pedestrians
2. Motorcycles
3. Autorickshaws
4. Bullock Carts
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:13   #7
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Lucky that nothing untoward happened except for the injuries to the Bull due to the folks riding it. Having said that i suppose driving beyond 100KMPH on indian highways is never advisable and you stuck to 90 to 100KMPH is another good part of the incident else things would have been more nasty.
Take care buddy and drive safe.
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:15   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
TBHP has enough accounts of last minute steering maneuvers going terribly wrong.
He was in a position that maneuvering is the only option to get away from direct hit & hence he did that. And I guess here that in a similar position everyone else will do that

Is there any better way to execute? Just for my understanding
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:16   #9
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Close shave indeed, KVS! You've got to be more careful while passing through villages. I always bring the speed down to 60 or below while crossing villages, though I may have been doing over 100 kmph before reaching the village.
There are all sorts of nuts in villages, such as:-
1. old guys who start crossing the road without looking
2. kids who suddenly dart across the road
3. animals straying onto the road
4. Mobikes making a sudden turn like they do in city traffic

My habit helped me a lot when I was returning from Mumbai to Hyd in December. It was twilight and I was doing nearly 110, and slowed down to 60 when I spotted a village near Zaheerabad. I had my headlights on, and had to dip them out of courtesy as a two-wheeler was approaching me. Suddenly I spotted a black buffallo crossing the road. I saw it a bit late as my headlights were dipped. Owing to the speed, I could brake easily.
So drive safe, buddy!
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:27   #10
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I guess you were lucky to get out this situation with just a broken glass and without any injuries.

On the same road just after Karad, on 18th May, just a day before your incident, I was going to Pune in my Accent along with my family. We took a snack break before Satara in a road side hotel. While waiting for food, I had a good view of NH4 and its traffic. Suddenly I hear sound of brakes and a Ford Fiesta swirling around a bullock cart which was present in the middle of road. Fortunately there was no accident, I guess the Fiesta had ABS because of which driver was able to navigate around the cart while he was braking. He was damn lucky to have some clear open ground in front of hotel instead of a ditch, which gave him good space to maneuver his car.

After seeing this, I made a strong note to my self to slow down even with small glimpse of a bullock cart or a tractor on the side of the road.

Last edited by deepaktpatil : 26th May 2008 at 12:30.
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
KVS,
d. Lastly, before you retort that they should learn etc etc - replace village with your home colony/nearby market and bull/owners with kids/grandad. What would you say then?
Fully agree with you. I used to have the same feelings some time ago, but with some introspection and couple of dents on my car, I have changed my driving style now. Respect others the way you want to be respected and its better to be on safer side.
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Old 26th May 2008, 12:48   #12
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Is the bull fine ? I am worried about it.

By the way, good that nothing major happened here. I second the members who were critical of your role in this. If it was about people where you could guess that they would correct themselves, it is difficult for the guy controlling the bullock cart to control it at the last moment.

Again, since you learnt your driving in LA, you would have noticed that speed limits would drop drastically when you drive through towns (even if it was still a freeway).

Think of it as a new learning and again wish you the best.
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Old 26th May 2008, 13:48   #13
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You guys were really lucky! Not just because nothing happened to you but also because the owner of the cow seemed like a nice person


sometime back someone I know hit a cow crossing the freeway and it broke its leg or something. It wasnt his fault. The stupid cow suddenly decide it wants to cross the road to eat some grass at the other side? lol
All the villagers came running and tried to extort money. In the end they had to pay 4,000-Rs as damages to the owner of the cow.
Damages to the car broken front bumber and broken fog flights.
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Old 26th May 2008, 15:15   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
.. it is difficult for the guy controlling the bullock cart to control it at the last moment.
Yeah, especially because bullock carts are not equipped with ABS
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Old 26th May 2008, 15:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post
He was in a position that maneuvering is the only option to get away from direct hit & hence he did that. And I guess here that in a similar position everyone else will do that

Is there any better way to execute? Just for my understanding
if you re-read, he saw the bullock cart, but instead of slowing down/braking or letting go of acclerator, KVS bhai just honked.

So even though he had the option, he hoped that they would stop. Which is what made the later maneuvring that much more difficult (auto/pedestrians et al).
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