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Old 19th May 2008, 00:16   #106
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The government buses do it on cue. I've seen it quite often in Ooty and in Kodaikanal. They just swap lanes and turn without even stopping !!! Some of the local cabs also do it with buses. However do not try it unless you are very sure of what you are doing. Best is to stop and wait a few metres before the hairpin bend and let the bus/lorry take the bend.
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Old 19th May 2008, 00:55   #107
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If it is necessary to move to the wrong side to accomodate a bigger vehicle around a bend, utmost caution is needed. Because another vehicle following the big guy may be sticking to the left lane. If in doubt, slow down or stop.
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Old 19th May 2008, 01:24   #108
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1. its not smart to use 3rd and definitely not to use 4th gear during descent.
2. If you are driving a small vehicle, its a good idea to stop for bigger vehicle for pass even if the bigger vehicle is decending.
3. Some time while decending through a steep U or S turn, its okay to stop your vehicle on the wrong side(right side) for other climbing vehcile to pass.
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Old 19th May 2008, 07:32   #109
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Originally Posted by csentil View Post
The government buses do it on cue. I've seen it quite often in Ooty and in Kodaikanal. They just swap lanes and turn without even stopping !!! Some of the local cabs also do it with buses.
If I were to ever come 'down south', I'd suffer a massive culture-shock!
Have never seen this on the hills in the north.
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Old 19th May 2008, 07:46   #110
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Note from Mod : Threads merged
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Old 19th May 2008, 09:38   #111
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Originally Posted by rks View Post
-- On a one-way ghat road, you are better off hugging the middle of the road on straight patches. When you take corners, you can choose that path which will enable you to move quickly and safely (no need to keep left in these situations). For example, if you are taking a sharp right you can hug the right side of the road for safety, say, if the left side of the road is unprotected and goes down a sheer cliff.
Sorry, can never agree with any advice that deviates from keeping strictly to your lane!

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Originally Posted by speedsatya View Post
no ...you should always drive with low beam ...a 90w low beam is more than enough ...but you do come across fools ...mostly car drivers ...who wouldnt dip at all ...its at that time that u need high beams ...also when there is no oncoming trafiic or when the vehicle is not very close ..its ok to drive with high beams ...
On uphill, even your highbeams might not provide you with adequate range. On downhill, even low beam can blind oncoming traffic.
Just a tip, good to bear in mind.

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Originally Posted by mrhap View Post
it basically is upto a person's choice and personal convenience - whether he wants to drive at night or day...
I agree wholeheartedly! I never drive at night in the hills, because I don't want to miss out on the beautiful scenery and vistas!
However, as Khaadu says, it is often 'easier' to drive at night in the hills.
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Old 19th May 2008, 09:42   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplythebest View Post
another thing is that you need to develop a feel for the brakes.

They don't go suddenly. Fade starts, and then hits badly.

When you notice fade, stop/slow down or change your driving style.
I did feel the fade. But I neglected it, didn't have any clue to what it would lead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO - Touring View Post
Dolphin,

It isn't entirely your fault since the Esteem has amongst the lousiest brakes I have come across, specially the mid-nineties models. My '96 Esteem would have 0% braking left after a spirited drive from Nariman Point to Shivaji Park (approx 14 kms).
Is it? I didn’t know this. BTW my Esteem was 1996 model.


The tips and rules being discussed/mentioned here are diverse yet so simple.

Here are some important tips I gathered. Some of them are new and some are closely related to what’s being discussed/mentioned.

Make sure that your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, and heater are in good condition: Ensure that your brake and transmission fluids are filled and have been changed within the interval recommended for your vehicle. Brake fluid, as it ages, takes on moisture and contaminants that lowers its boiling level. Frequent brake use can overheat the fluid and you can lose braking efficiency when it is most needed.
Also check your tyres and ensure that they are properly inflated.

On steep inclines, downshift to a lower gear, watch the temperature gauge in your vehicle, and turn off the air-conditioning if it starts to overheat: If you need to cool the engine, find a safe place to pull off the road, park it and keep the car at a fast idle. Do not shut off the engine, and never remove a hot radiator cap. A faster way to cool an engine is to turn on the heater.

Decreasing radius turns: A decreasing radius turn is a tight turn whose radius decreases dramatically within the turn. The hazard of such turns are in their element of surprise, for when a driver enters such a turn at a "safe speed," they quickly realize he’s going too fast for the situation. Prevention: Drive slowly and be cautious.

Always carry extra drinking water, and drink a lot of fluids: At higher elevations, insufficient hydration can lead to the onset of symptoms of altitude sickness. Even if they're mild, they can affect your alertness.

Slowing down for any reason, whether it's to view scenery or because of a steep incline is acceptable road behavior, as long as you maintain awareness: If traffic behind you grows to more than three vehicles, look for a designated pullout and let the traffic pass.

In the event that weather conditions deteriorate into fog, rain, wind, or snow, slow down, be more observant, and demonstrate extra road courtesy: If other drivers appear to be in a hurry, let them pass.

Alcohol: If you're new to the mountains, and like having a drink or two, be aware that while you may be able to get around on city streets with a couple of beers under your belt, you might be surprised by the lack of control a few drinks can cause in mountain driving.

Other distractions: Cell phone use, changing CDs might seem pretty safe on city streets, but if you're on an unfamiliar road in the mountains, and you lose concentration, you might miss an important turn. Remember those airborne car scenes in the movies? Don't let it be you!

Night Driving: In the absence of oncoming traffic, always use your high beam. This will make any potential hazards more visible, such as animals. Do not hamper with the oncoming driver's night vision by using high beam, it is very dangerous.

Brake Failure: If your brakes fail while driving downhill, try the following, they MAY save your life.
• Make sure everyone's safety belts are buckled
• Do not turn off your motor—you want your power steering to work
• Pump your regular brakes or apply very firm pressure
• Shift into lower gear
• Try your emergency (parking) brake (Give it some time to work)
• Scrape against a rail or the side of a hill to slow down if not going very fast, and—IF all else fails, crash into something soft before you gain too much speed, such as a pile of road sand or a group of small trees.
Shocked by the latter suggestion? Well, you can't afford to get into a situation where you start going so fast that you lose control and no longer have any options.

Source: Safe Mountain Driving
Colorado Safe Mountain Driving and High-elevation Health Tips, Part VII
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Old 19th May 2008, 09:43   #113
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Hi

Reading the maruti esteem experience was pretty frightening to say the least!
Am glad that nothing untoward happened.

I ve been driving hill roads most of my formative years and have learned driving on ghat roads including things like heel and toe method and all that, because in the old days our Ambys, Fiats and Mahindra Jeeps didnt have the best of handbrakes!

Well, a few little suggestions.
1. When you do not know the gradient or have never before driven on a particular ascent or descent like the Kalahatty Ghat, it is better to judge the steepness first with your eyes and senses, using the lowest reasonable gear - and while descending, perhaps in 1st or 2nd while keeping your foot OFF the accelerator, lightly tapping on the footbrakes occasionally when needed and not riding the clutch at all.
2.Use the natural braking effect of your lower gears to the maximum.
3.When you feel the vehicle beginning to rev hard on the downhill or strain on the uphill, since all the new cars are synchromesh, quickly downshift to the lower gear.
4.Whichever the gear you use, while going uphill on a particular gradient, the same gear should ideally be used, while coming downhill. This can only become known to you, when you are able to judge the gradient in front of you - there is no ready made solution except that generally as a thumb rule, it would be either 2nd gear or 1st gear on steep gradients.
5.Always try to maintain a constant momentum/ speed on an uphill stretch, to save your car and to ensure a comfortable drive for yourself and for your passengers - sudden acceleration, overtaking and braking will frankly not give you much gain in terms of time at all. It will also waste fuel.
6. On any steep descent, never use high gears simply because, as you know, as the gear cogs get smaller and smaller, as you move to higher gears, there is virtually no "braking effect" or "reining in" effect coming from the gears themselves and this causes you to stomp the brakes hard in panic - very bad idea. (Just imagine the pressure that the brakes have to deal with, in a fully loaded vehicle trying to stop within a small confined space when it has to also fight against the effects of gravitational pull apart from inertia of motion and its own speed!)
7. Apart from burning out your brake pads or melting your clutch, you can also very easily lose control around a hairpin bend, possibly bash into someone coming in the opposite direction and/ or go off the road - all these are highly avoidable.

It might seem very macho and cool to zip down these steep roads but it all too often ends in tragic circumstances either for you or your vehicle. ( I dont want to preach but since I was very young, Ive been seeing evidence of this on the Ooty Ghats, the Munnar Ghats and the Anamallais Ghats, in the form of lorries, buses, even cars and bikes.) Many people, without realizing the risk or in order to save gas!!!!????!!, used to try and coast down in neutral, with the engine off! And would come a cropper around one of the bends, either due to brake failure or complete loss of control. Or they would drive too fast in high gear and get into trouble again due to brake failure or in those days, a broken axle!

Try these few tips, drive reasonably and safely and enjoy your hill trips - come back safely and share your experiences and photos of the many beautiful things that you will see when you are there.
cheers

Last edited by shankar.balan : 19th May 2008 at 09:47.
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Old 19th May 2008, 09:54   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
3.When you feel the vehicle beginning to rev hard on the downhill or strain on the uphill, since all the new cars are synchromesh, quickly downshift to the lower gear.
If you read the bold print, I think it needs a wee change.

'On downhill, first use the brakes to reduce speed otherwise the engine will go into a horrendous scream'!
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:10   #115
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correct - but while coasting along in say third or second, when the engine is beginning to squeal a bit, its useful to tap the brakes, engage lower gear and continue - i suppose that would have been the right way to say that!

ive got some more tips which i ll add now
more to do with courtesy etc while hill driving
cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
If you read the bold print, I think it needs a wee change.

'On downhill, first use the brakes to reduce speed otherwise the engine will go into a horrendous scream'!
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:28   #116
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A few tips on courtesy while hill driving:
1. Uphill traffic gets right of way all the time, every time
2 Never overtake around bends and on bridges - you may regret it for the rest of your life, if you live.
3. If there appears to be a pileup of traffic, ahead of you, please be patient and do not break your lane - thats absolutely the silliest thing you can do and which can cause an inextricable jam. This wont make you the most popular chap around.
4. Always stick to the left as per the Indian Driving Code - dont take the path of least resistance by weaving from right to left with the curves as you see on a racing circuit or in James Bond movies - normal hill roads are not racing circuits and neither are you nor I, desi James Bond's.
5.When you are stuck in slow traffic behind a bus or lorry, please be patient and dont lean on your horn to pass him. Put yourself in his place, with his load, and imagine the effects on him, of loss of momentum on a steep stretch uphill. Also he will usually let you pass as soon as the road is wide enough.
6. When you are shown courtesy by other hill drivers, they may wait/ slow down for you or allow you to pass them, acknowledge the gesture by blipping your horn twice as you pass. This is an unwritten rule of courtesy.
7. During day driving, blip your horn and downshift one gear as you approach blind curves.
8.Night driving is easier to judge if you watch for headlights or reflections of oncoming traffic headlamps.
9.Please use only low beams while going either uphill or downhill - you will tend to dazzle other road users with high beam usage, causing accidents.
10. Use your gears effectively during hill driving rather than stomping on the brakes every time.
11. Avoid excessive use of horn, unnecessary short spurts of acceleration and braking - better to stay with a constant momentum.
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:36   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaadu75 View Post
Pls , I dont think any break is required if one knows how to drive properly -- !! And if you don't know how to drive properly then I guess you shudn;t be anyways driving in such situations cause you could be a hazard to others .

Cheers
Thanks for telling me not to drive. I don't know what kind of mountainous terrain you've driven and for how long and what altitude, steepness etc.,

Please don't misguide people who are here to gain the right driving knowledge.
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:39   #118
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Good points, Shankar.
Alas, there are too many 'offenders' in the hills these days (summer holidays) and not surprisingly they are mostly PB, HR, CH or DL numberplates (all from the plains of northern India)!

The deviant ways of Delhi traffic are inexorably getting to our mountains!

It is so reassuring to see 'road courtesy' being discussed.
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Old 19th May 2008, 11:21   #119
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thanks anup

its a pity really but its not a phenomenon peculiar to Delhi and Northern India per se - even down here in the relatively peaceful environs of Southern India, the complete lack of road manners and etiquette from most city and plains drivers are manifesting themselves in the peaceful hills.

in 2004 April, there was a silly nutcase with a KA 01 (bangalore) registered Lancer or some other car, who, on seeing a long line of traffic piled up on the left on the road to Ooty, simply broke his lane and sped away to the very front. (He didnt know that the traffic was piled up and going slowly because a very large tree had fallen down).

Well anyway, when he reached the beginning of the line, tooting his silly horn, he was forced by all the vehicles in queue to reverse his silly car back all the way to the end of the line and wait his turn.

nowadays even while driving through National Parks and Sanctuaries where one is not supposed to stop and picnic,nor litter, nor honk, nor smoke, nor drive fast, there are an increasing number of people flouting all these rules.

Bringing their fast paced, instant gratification led, time schedule-driven, hurried city ways with them and shattering the peace, quiet and cleanliness of the hills.

I ve personally had to pull up several such offenders these last few years - a couple of taxi drivers and even some private vehicles - it appears that even "educated" and "well off" people break these rules very easily.

But if one takes these people to task, in a polite manner, they arent willing to mend their ways. It is only by a show of might, by a bigger vehicle or sheer physical intimidation, that one can get them to see the error of their ways, it seems.

Or maybe one should just bring out a large, furry and growly Alsatian from the depths of one's jeep and terrorise such offenders!

Maybe we should start a new thread - Road Manners and Etiquette. What say MODS?



Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
Good points, Shankar.
Alas, there are too many 'offenders' in the hills these days (summer holidays) and not surprisingly they are mostly PB, HR, CH or DL numberplates (all from the plains of northern India)!

The deviant ways of Delhi traffic are inexorably getting to our mountains!

It is so reassuring to see 'road courtesy' being discussed.
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Old 19th May 2008, 12:03   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin View Post
Was thinking what would have happened if the brakes had failed somewhere in the middle of the descend!
Friends,
Dolphin's experience comes straight out of any bhpian's nightmare. I was thinking of the same thing that dolphin has set out.
Pals, do throw some light on what should be done in such a situation.
I would think:
Shift to the lowest gear. Turn on hazard lights, flash at oncoming vehicles and honk like hell. Use hardbrakes to achieve the final stop when the gradient is not too steep, do not wear off the lifeline right away. in any of the slight short plain strips of road, shift to neutral and use handbrakes stop and pray to god! if no plain strip comes, negotiate on the terrain on the first gear and look for the best chance to stop.
i can not think of anything else. using a curb or a tree at a low speed to stop would not be advisable as it would deflect the direction of the car and would render it totally out of control.
by the way, what was the problem in dolphin's car. had the brake pads melted due to the heat?
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