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Old 17th March 2018, 16:37   #286
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Wonderful and very informative thread. Learned many points that I never thought of. I also switch off the audio while on the hills and open the windows so as to listen horns of on coming vehicles at blind turns.
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Old 25th April 2018, 10:50   #287
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Music should be low while passengers ought to avoid loud chatter.
I received this nice ad as a forward. It was prepared by the Department of the Environment, N. Ireland:


The DoE also have a nice road safety page.
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Old 24th July 2018, 22:23   #288
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Seeing a lot of self-drives and enthusiasts entering Uttarakhand and planning for the much hyped Char-Dham Roads despite the inclement weather and the onslaught of monsoons. It may not complete before 2019! As a caution, rains bring landslides and wash away the kuccha-road tops yet to be made into the much coveted highway. Seemed perfect to bring an update in this topic.

These days we can easily read the local newspaper as E-Paper Edition and lean about weather based incidents like landslides etc. Many self-drives are spotted on the Dehradun-Mussoorie hill tracts. Usually people plan trips with distance calculators and avoid layovers, continuing their hill climbs beyond Rishikesh and get stuck at some landslide for hours, tired and unable to plan an overnighter. It's not tough to spot tourists who mis-planned a weekender rushing back home on Sunday night, to attend office on Monday. Same with Haldwani-Nainital.

I see this often and would like to bring some Hill-Gyaan (Hill Driving Etiquette/Expertise). I'm also including trip planning in the post besides driving know-how.

I mainly talk about hill states like Uttarakhand, the Himalayas and it's lower mountain ranges.

Ghat Aficionados, do jump in! Leh'd? Pour your enlightened responses.

1. Be familiar with the terrain. Do not only rely on Map Apps. Get to know topography as well. Any Trail/Hiking App will help in case iPhone users find difficult to be on par with Google Earth or Elevation view in native apps. Acquire a general sense of what you may cross-by, elevation-wise. You can record your altitudes in X units of Feet - Above Sea Level with your Odometer readings!

Being on the wrong side of telephone towers could mean low-to-no connectivity, or weak internet connectivity if you manage to get a decent signal strength. Having signals and being able to fully use maps, high speed data for apps enables on the fly changes to the trip. While low on signals, even one faulty conversation will impact your trip planning. Being nearer to major districts helps to replan anything based purely on mobile communications. Do not ignore that little hamlet you just passed by, it had mobile coverage!

Learn to troubleshoot issues while offline, I wouldn't advise telepathy. But yes, the local hill folks are helpful if you don't talk to them in GPS coordinates. Higher up, they won't steal your mobile off the dashboard. Humanity prevails.

2. On any given day, a hill will have two sides - Sunny and Shade.

The sunny side may continue for 200 meters or 5 kilometers. The same applies to shade. Connecting these two are what we call 'turns' and they differ from the usual highway fare in the sense that that four wheels are most likely to be on a slightly different plane since the turns have elevation. It's completely different from a turn you take into your neighbourhood lane, or a turn that has traffic lights, pedestrian crossings.

A slight equivalent feeling of hilly turns would be to change lanes every 30 seconds on a dual carriageway for 10 kilometers. Thus discipline, presence of mind and knowing your vehicle's responses is highly sought.

3. For a taste of what it is, let's conduct a simple simulation on a 'highway Vs hill' drive. Take any card out from a wallet, better be your own wallet. Place it on a table. Now move it forward a little, then to the left and continue moving, then take a right turn, go ahead and take a u-turn and continue moving for 5 kilometers. That's a usual highway run. Simple. You decide your own speed. Possibly overtake someone safely and stick to your lane.

Continuing the simulation, now take the same card, move it ahead very slowly (remember we're in Hill mode now) and raise it higher from the table as we go ahead, take a left, then a right and then a u-turn :sly: and then a slight left, hard left and a right u-turn. Don't strain your hand, it's only a simulation, exciting, isn't it?

4. Unless roads are made to swerve, turn and u-turn multiple times, it would be impossible to make a road that could take you from elevation A to elevation A+ and finally to elevation B. Thus we have angular departure from the usual plane of obervation (known as the road ahead), an early peek at the nature of route ahead (similar to how we quickly glance at the rear view mirrors, but a lot quicker), estimation of the current inertia, required momentum and adjustment to speed while turning the steering, REturning the steering (the speed assisted auto return does not happen as much on all turns!) and avoiding oncoming traffic while maintaining the minimum speed required to cover a stretch in a given time.

All this while, the chassis, suspension and tires bear the kerb weight of your means of transport. The engine revs to outdo the resistance of gravity, maintain torque and balance out the increased friction from the tires. These parameters are important because the feedback from the vehicle enables the driver to be able to safely move ahead, while adjusting any deficit feedback by changing gears, pressure on the pedals, engine braking (on downhill stretches or even on an uphill climb with intermittent downhill patches) and general comfort.

5. On a long hilly drive (speed doesn't matter), just turn down the music, listen to the engine and observe how our senses minutely figure out many physics-based concepts on it's own. You may take years to single them out, though. Even if you do, you will possibly be driving a different vehicle with different dynamics or fuel type.

6. Due to inclines, distance/time calculators take a hit due to speed. So every kilometer takes more time to cover. An average 70 km/h calculation for the highway is doubled as speed drops to 35 kmph or lesser. I have myself discovered a '24 kmph' standard for good speed vs actual conditions for most hilly circuits. Any faster makes the drives risky, any slower will possible burn more petrol or overheat any modern engine. Yes, there are stretches where you go relatively faster risking safety of others and yourself, then the safety of your vehicle, possibly ruining your trip. My personal average speeds are between 12 kmph - 42 kmph for my own peace of mind.

Thus, you may either double your ETA's. Or learn to multiply by 24 as described above.

7. Since ETA's take a hit, on hills, do not take it for granted that you can easily drive upto 11 P.M., get some rest at your stopover/hotel and continue again at 5:30 A.M. the next day. Don't ever leave a hotel or waypoint thinking to drive through the night. Fog can get too dense to drive, and while you may copy others driving with headlights off-blinkers on, any mis-judgement will result in a mishap. Even finding a spot to safely park is difficult.

Recently, owing to Monsoons, Uttarakhand govt and road transport banned night time traffic except Emergency and Essential Services. This is due to large scale landslides and mud/muck on the roads causing accidents and even deaths of commuters.

I remember, earlier in my college days, my seniors organised an early morning bike trip out to the hills. They started too early, though. So at 3 A.M., at hill-route checkpost, somehow a student's face matched a culprit on the run and the entire entourage was arrested suspecting to be a gang. Something similar happened to a bunch of hostel girls sneaking out at 11 P.M. and going out on a car trip to a nearby hilltop temple, they drove without headlights in a friend's car and some police informant tipped off the next checkpost about a suspected movement since there were no exits on the route, only way up or down. The sense of the matter is, traffic police and disaster management agencies have a greater say on the freedom of movement.

Do not expect roads to have street lights! Even if a map says it is X National Highway.

8. It's a good idea to fool around before actually embarking on a trip. Usually a 2 kilometer round trip before departing can let you know of any niggles/issues with your vehicle. If you're good to go after this test drive/round trip, chances are your trip will go as usual.

9. On stretches where there's a caravan of vehicles moving at snail's pace, you're better off following them. Since curbs are not well defined, stone chips can shear the tires and it's sidewalls and this may need you to discard them at the end of a single trip. Not wise or economical at all. If anyone is overtaking, please bear in mind how you would drive if you were a local resident and had some family issue and had to quickly go somewhere (number plate doesn't matter).

10. Please give way to any essential services transport. Ambulances, vegetables carrying utility vehicles, small JCB's and Military vehicles do need you to give adequate leeway to pass. Not everyone honks unnecessarily to tell you that they have a much larger role and duty to the citizens/nation.

11. A good time schedule utilizes the best hours of mountain time: 11 A.M. - 3 P.M. During this time, you will actually find people on the roads (to ask for directions, waypoints, eateries, fuel? ) and the temperature, haze, fog etc are within good conditions for driving.

12. Since you'll experience asynchronicity and off-grid goodness, it's a good habit to buy/borrow the morning newspaper to read and scan for the national radio (fm rainbow 102.1).

13. If you encounter any unexplainable swerving of the vehicle, if the road has a hill side and a vallley on another, without going into the details of the problem, without wasting a split second, just turn the steering to the hill face. This is also known as ramming into the rocks. Then you can choose to brake, stop, slowly halt and alert oncoming traffic by hazard lamps, headlight etc. This emergency manoeuvre may scratch/dent one side but save precious life.
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Old 20th September 2018, 11:02   #289
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Excellent thread!
Driving an Automatic small sedan on hills can be a little tricky as my Hyundai Xcent tries to go to the higher gear very easily. While driving up, this will show as lugging and its easy to sense this and shift down. I usually go completely manual on a lot of stretches of hills. While coming downhill the xcent tries to go to 4th gear easily. I limit myself manually to 3rd gear and downshift on steeper sections. On sections like hairpin bends, the xcent does well in 1st gear only! Even then, with an automatic, its just so easy and tempting to let the car do what it wants downhill - but you end up losing the benefit of engine braking and burn your brakes without realising it, both of which are dangerous.
Maybe the more expensive automatics manage hills better, but on my xcent I prefer being aware of which gear I am in.
One obvious benefit of an automatic is that it doesnt stall when starting on an incline and it is so easy to prevent a roll back.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 21:55   #290
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Default Long Drives - Is it still fun?

Hi Everyone,

Off late a question has been playing on my mind, are long drives still the same fun as they were say 10 years back. I remember driving from Bangalore to Goa 10 years back and the amount of fun we all had, last year though we opted to take a flight, and everyone actually agreed this was much better.

Now why do i bring this question, probably because of these two threads, i am subscribed to these two threads and some of the images posted on these threads are horrific.

Pics Accident In India (Pics: Accidents in India)

Bad Drivers, How do you spot them (Bad Drivers - How do you spot 'em)

Not that accidents were not happening earlier, but with social media, you get to know about them much more and usually accompanied with pictures and videos. Add to it these days it seems everyone is in a hurry, I read some where once "In India Everyone is in hurry, and no one is on time", and i agree.

The highways though better, are filled with morons. The villagers have still not graduated to common traffic sense, riding without helmets and crossing highways like it is a village road. Wrong side traffic is a menace, and on a highway it can be fatal. Not to forget the drama that follows in case you end up in an accident, even if it is not your fault. People are driving at much higher speeds, disregarding the basic rules of driving, and getting into trouble. I can go on and on with the list of issues, but i guess you all understand where i am heading.

In a chaotic city like Bangalore, it sometimes takes around 2 hours to reach your home after you have entered the city. This kills all the fun you had on a long drive, and by the time you reach home, you and passengers are cursing the traffic, forgetting the good time you just had on a nice drive.

So just wanted to check the pulse of what fellow BHP'ians think and how have your driving habits changed in let's say last five years.

Regards
Aman

Last edited by AtheK : 23rd September 2018 at 22:18.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 22:13   #291
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

A big No , Aman!

For example, I live in Delhi NCR and all routes leading out of this megacity, are mostly clogged and lined with villages or settlements with erratic traffic, with the exception of the YEW which is essentially quite a boring drive devoid of any good scenery. This goes on mostly up to 200+ km on most outward routes.
Even around 5 years ago, the settlements used to thin out within 30-50 kms.

Moreover, with the ever increasing population, God forbid if you are returning on the weekend or especially an extended holiday. I've found myself driving in Delhi ring road like traffic for will over 100 kms. Then of course you have the city traffic eagerly waiting to suck you in.Perfect recipe to kill a vacation completely.

It's quite rare now that I get to do a drive where I can genuinely relax and enjoy the drive. :(

Last edited by roy_libran : 23rd September 2018 at 22:16.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 23:05   #292
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

I'm from the school of thought that varies quite a bit from everybody here.. I do not do long drives for the heck of it.. never have. Something about not having a purpose to a trip or not having a defined route or destination doesn't sit well with me.

Of course if the trip has a reason, including that of doing shopping, or some errand, going to work, dropping a family member or visiting a friend.. sure. I also take longer routes back home when the roads are free but that's about it. I've never traveled interstate by self-driving, I rather take a bus, train or flight depending on the distance.

I'm a quintessential couch potato.. lazy, anti-fitness types. I don't care much for watching trees and rocks pass me by as I drive.. I get to see those even if I peek outside the window of my home. Besides now's the time as good as ever to avoid driving.. Bangalore's traffic and roads are the worst ever and the fuel prices are at an unbelievable Rs.83 per liter.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 23:13   #293
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtheK View Post
Now why do i bring this question, probably because of these two threads, i am subscribed to these two threads and some of the images posted on these threads are horrific.

Pics Accident In India (Pics: Accidents in India)

Bad Drivers, How do you spot them (Bad Drivers - How do you spot 'em)
I think I can refer to my own accident thread . Link

ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats-1.jpg

But still, I love driving. I love driving solo. I love driving with my family. I love driving along with my friends.

I try my best to avoid long weekends and peak hours which helps to enjoy the drives.

And I am happy driving on any kind of roads, Be it 4L/2L/1L/ghats etc.

And I manufacture reasons to drive .
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Old 23rd September 2018, 23:18   #294
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
A big No , Aman!

For example, I live in Delhi NCR and all routes leading out of this megacity, are mostly clogged and lined with villages or settlements with erratic traffic, with the exception of the YEW which is essentially quite a boring drive devoid of any good scenery. This goes on mostly up to 200+ km on most outward routes.
Even around 5 years ago, the settlements used to thin out within 30-50 kms.
Absolutely correct. Getting out of and back into Delhi has become a nightmare, especially on extended weekends. The entire megacity seems to head out for a few days, all of it at the same time The idea of taking a couple of days off to go out to places like Mussourie or Shimla or Nainital and quietly relax has become redundant, simply because the roads and traffic take so much out of you. It is a continuous 200km urban mess in every direction, on whichever highway you take out of Delhi.(except the boring YEW).

My solution:
1. Avoid going out during extended weekends. Avoid it like plague
2. Take the train or flight if possible
3. If I have to drive, I prefer doing so at night. Lesser local traffic and the near absence of bikes, autos and tempos makes things so so so much better and less stressful.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 23rd September 2018 at 23:21.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 23:23   #295
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
Absolutely correct. Getting out of and back into Delhi has become a nightmare, especially on extended weekends. The entire megacity seems to head out for a few days, all of it at the same time The idea of taking a couple of days off to go out and quietly relax has become redundant, simply because the roads and traffic takes so much out of you. It is a continuous 200km urban mess in every direction, on whichever highway you take out of Delhi.(except the boring YEW).

My solution:
1. Avoid going out during extended weekends. Avoid it like plague
2. Take the train or flight if possible
3. If I have to drive, I prefer doing so at night. Lesser local traffic and the near absence of bikes, autos and tempos makes things so so so much better and less stressful.
If i have to drive what i try to do is take weekdays off, and plan a holiday from Wednesday to Saturday. Yes it knocks off 3 days from my leaves, but the drives are less tiring, and entering the city is also ok on saturday as usually traffic is less.

Added advantage is the personal attention you get in the resort you stay as they are usually running on half occupancy. Last time the waiters offered to take care of my son while we had a peaceful dinner, and we got upgraded to a suite.

Last edited by AtheK : 23rd September 2018 at 23:27.
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Old 24th September 2018, 00:02   #296
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

I have been enjoying the long drives so far. The reasons are:

I start early in the morning to get out of Pune without traffic hassles.

While returning, I plan the journey to reach Pune after 11:30 pm. If I am 125 km from Pune at 6 pm while returning, I take a break and relax at a restaurant or in car, I take a nap if I feel so.

I maintain speeds of 80-100 kmph on NH as well as Expressways and take tea break every 2-3 hours. This gives me minimum fatigue.

Whichever be the direction, once I travel 120 to 200 km away from Pune (I do this by 9 am or by 7:30 if I have to cross Mumbai), the urban and semi-urban traffic on highway thins out. This includes two wheelers, six seaters etc.

I have done the following long drives:
Pune - Surat
Pune - Ahmedabad
Pune - Belgaum
Pune - Bagalkot
Pune - Hyderabad
Pune - Amravati
Pune - Raipur
Pune - Indore
Pune - Indore - Bhopal - Maihar (1250 km)
Pune - Nagpur - Jabalpur - Maihar (1200+ km)
Every trip has been done a few times.


On both trips to Hyderabad, I avoided Solapur - Hyderabad stretch of the NH. I took countryside rote Solapur - Akkalkot - Aland - Gulabarga - Lingampalli - Pargi - Hyderabad. It turned out to be a very good decision, thanks to the advice received on Team-BHP.

So, I enjoy because I choose convenient time for arrival and departure, take minimum driving fatigue and do the homework as much as possible.

But yes, when I see the empty and clean intercity roads (and non-urbanized villages) in the old movies, I realize what we all miss today.

Last edited by Rahul Bhalgat : 24th September 2018 at 00:08.
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Old 24th September 2018, 01:26   #297
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Default Re: Long Drives - Is it still fun?

Oh Yes, why not ? Long drives are indeed fun for me irrespective of the rising traffic or accidents or rising fuel prices !! I absolutely love driving to the core and may be that's why nothing bothers me in this world when it comes to doing that

I am a Doctor ( physician ) by profession and hence there is no concept of fixed holidays or weekends or festive times or anything of that sort in my life. So unlike many others here who have listed out 'situations' that one should avoid while driving outstations like weekends, extended holidays, peak hours etc., I don't have the liberty of planning my drives accordingly. Although I am well aware of the best time slots and days to set out on a long drive, it's very rare that I myself "plan" what time to depart. On a lighter note, when someone says start at 4 a.m and beat the traffic at tolls, I am like - what's that ?!! Due to the nature of my profession and erratic duty hours, most of my long drives are improptu and these drives serve as a stress buster to me. Hence, I just try to grab that opportune moment to drive and once am out of the heavy chaotic city traffic and hit the highways , I thoroughly enjoy my drives.

I live in Mumbai and to get out of this metropolis in any direction is quite a task. Most of my long drives till now have happened on NH-4 Mumbai--Belgaum route ( 500 kms one way ) since Belgaum, Karnataka is my hometown and occasionally Mumbai--Pune/Shirdi/Nasik. Also, my long drives are mostly solo ( I am a bachelor ).

Due to all the reasons I mentioned above, I have started from Mumbai towards Belgaum during all possible time slots of day and night. It's the same in other direction despite being aware of how heavy the Maharashtra highway traffic on NH4 is. I don't really ponder much on convenient time of departure or arrival because when I have to leave, I have to leave as most of the drives are in sync with what time I am supposed to report to my hospital/ or what days and what time I am relieved from my hospital duties - day or night. Overall result is, I have experienced the heaviest of heavy highway traffic as well while driving. However, I still try to enjoy with whatever little best is left in store for me.

One more thing worth mentioning is that, all the highways that lead out of Mumbai and Pune in any direction are highly scenic, thanks to the beautiful Sahyadris / Western ghats that these roads cut through. Long drives, beautiful highways and scenic surroundings - perfect recipe for me to relieve all the stress.
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Old 24th September 2018, 10:39   #298
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

If you do NOT enjoy long drives anymore, it is time to change the car! Sell whatever you are driving and buy a reasonably quick automatic transmission car. That pretty much solves most of your driving issues.

Bonus: Without changing your driving style, you get to the destination faster
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...on-faster.html (Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?)
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Old 24th September 2018, 10:42   #299
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
If you do NOT enjoy long drives anymore, it is time to change the car! Sell whatever you are driving and buy a reasonably quick automatic transmission car. That pretty much solves most of your driving issues.

Bonus: Without changing your driving style, you get to the destination faster
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...on-faster.html (Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?)
Already own a vento TSI, if not for that, I would have probably pulled of half my hair in bangalore traffic.
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Old 24th September 2018, 11:38   #300
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Safe Driving on Indian Highways & Ghats

I loved long rides. I used to take my bike and set out for trips ranging anywhere between 50 kms to 750 kms each way. My parents were never happy about this hobby of mine. Given the road conditions, traffic and my tall frame (back and neck problems), they urged me to dump the 2-wheeler forever and drive a car only. Their logic, car is more stable, has better brakes and also protects from the elements. They also thought, given the higher running costs, I will reduce my trips. They were wrong.

Now, I love long drives. Over the years, I kept increasing my range based on stamina and comfort levels. Whenever I had to visit any place, my first thought was - is it doable by road and do I have enough resources (money and time) to do it? Mostly the heart has won on most occasions. My parents thought once I get married, I will tone down a bit. They were wrong, again. Now my parents and my in-laws are the worried lot while me and my wife enjoy the trips.

For me, a road trip has been special. Since my childhood, I have been fascinated by the route, the greenery (or whatever is left of it), the changing topography, the vegetation, the people, their living style, the cuisines and so on. As much as the destination is important, I also want to get a glimpse of the places between the source and destination. It's a big relief that my wife also appreciates this thought and hence, has starting loving these trips.

Till date, I have done the following self-drive trips>300 kms:

Bhubaneswar - Phulbani
Bhubaneswar - Bolangir
Bhubaneswar - Hyderabad (4 times)
Hyderabad - Bangalore
Hyderabad - Vijaywada - Hamsaladevi
Hyderabad - Bangalore - Mysore
Hyderabad - Bangalore - Munnar - Kodaikanal and back
Hyderabad - Indore
Hyderabad - Bhopal
Hyderabad - Goa
Bangalore - Goa
and few trips of Hyderabad - Nagarjuna Sagar/Srisailam

I hope I get to cover most of the states in India, slowly but steadily.

Traffic is becoming a big bother with every passing day. On these long trips, I try to ignore the traffic as much as possible and enjoy my trip. But on any ordinary day, I try to plan my work in such a way so as to avoid peak city traffic , if possible. Also, I think about taking a cab if I don't have to visit multiple places in a single outing. Maybe it's time I need to get a 2-wheeler after all.

On all my long trips, I try to do the following:
  1. I take leaves and travel on working days. It does help a lot at the destination as well since I don't like crowded places. And then relax at home on holidays or even work if required.
  2. If it's a known and safe route, then I travel in the evening or night.
  3. I am a manual guy and never convinced by an automatic car. I am following the above to keep driving a manual as long as possible.
  4. When I travel with my wife, I do anywhere between 500-700 kms per day or 10-12 hrs of driving.
  5. Always prefer a route which is scenic and roads are better, even if it's much longer.
  6. I don't set targets or book in advance so that we have the flexibility to stop when we are tired or continue if we are not.

I agree there is a risk involved when we venture out onto the highway. But for now, I am prepared to take it because of other attractions. Hopefully, things will improve in future (just like the condition of our highways) and it will be slightly less risky.

Last edited by ashis89 : 24th September 2018 at 11:44.
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