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Old 12th May 2014, 22:18   #46
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

I would like to add that

Please!! Please buy safety equipped cars with ABS, EBD, Airbags (minimum 2). Try to go for a lower segment or pre-owned car if you have a tight budget but do not go for a higher segment car with lower safety equipments.

I have personally bought a used car so that I can get maximum safety features. The best way to handle the situation mentioned in the opening post is to equip good brakes in the car. A larger engine gives you adrenaline rush but better brakes give you confidence which the author seems to be lacking (due to instances mentioned).

Personally as a Civic owner its difficult to NOT redline the car. But I always stabilize at ~100 irrespective of what road I am driving in. In a Zen (without ABS & Airbags), I drive at 70-80 only.

Know you car, estimate its capabilities and drive appropriately.
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Old 12th May 2014, 22:34   #47
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Originally Posted by anku94 View Post

Help out a young one here, what's your formula for deciding on the cruising speed?
My few points. I'm now 30, and have done a few long distance stints and many short highway runs.

1. Maintaining 100+ average works for me in the following circumstances:
a) When on an empty 3+3 lane highway during day time such as Bombay-Poona Expressway.
b) Any straight section of highway where I can be confident of seeing obstacles well in advance. Absolute fixed, wide divider is definitely required.
In all other circumstances, I avoid that speed of cruise.

2. The car you are driving is key in this situation. An SUV may not be as stable in an emergency maneuver as a sedan/premium hatch. Further, ABS brakes are absolutely mandatory if you are planning on highway runs. It allows you to 'bindaas' stamp on the brakes and lane change out of harms way knowing that the car is most likely to stay stable. This obviously does not apply in wet weather conditions when speeds should be reduced.

3. Never practice high speed in the dark, wet, fog, or any non-ideal driving situation. Even your own body state such as tiredness or sleepiness counts as a non-ideal driving situation.

4. I practice this a lot actually: When I am doubtful if there is an obstacle in the distance, I lift off accelerator (while remaining in gear) and place my foot over the brake pedal, without pressing it. There is an automatic engine braking effect which lowers the speed by 10-20% by the time I decide to brake or continue. During this phase, the car is extremely stable and allows for braking and lane changing as well.

I drive a Swift Zdi with 185 section tyres and ABS, both suited to the car's weight and try to practice all the points I have mentioned as much as possible.

Drive safe
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Old 12th May 2014, 22:55   #48
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

The question itself is wrong.

Every highway has something called the design speed. This means that the road has been designed in such a manner that any speed over the design speed will not offer proper reaction time, braking distance and overtaking (for a two way) in a safe manner.

Please don't drive above the speed limit, and no Highway in India is designed for more than 80 kmph.

Also, the reaction time reduces by a factor of EIGHT during low visibility conditions(Night driving, rain, fog etc). Therefore, drop your speed limit during such drives.

I really hope we Indians start respecting laws when no one is looking...though I don't know whether that day will precede apocalypse.
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Old 12th May 2014, 23:19   #49
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

With the plasticky,light and highly ductile newer cars (especially the hatchbacks from Maruti, Hyundai and so on) I would never rcommmend that anyone touch the 100 kmph mark on any road, unless the road is an expressway and is walled from its sides to prevent men and cattle or any kind of animal from entering the lanes. These small cars are too fragile and dangerous, should they ever go out of control.

As for the larger and safer cars with adequate safety features, exceeding the 100kmph speed must be done with great caution and barriers at the edges of the road (like expressways) to prevent entry of men and cattle or any animal must be looked for.

Coming to SUV's, the high ground clearence can make them topple if the driver is not quite used to its dynamics. Car drivers graduating into SUV's need to be extra cautious.

Overall, just for the thrill, or to be on time somewhere when one has started late leads to speeding.

The fuel consumption becomes excessive and the tyres are at the mercy of Murphy's Law at greater than normal speeds. Underinflated tyres become prone to tyre bursts at higher speeds.

In the Western countries, especially Germany's autobahns, lane driving at 150 kmph is quite normal and having travelled a lot, I have never felt insecure even with heavy trucks in adjacent lanes. Safer cars, lane discipline and the runway like feel on the auto bahn make it routine to travel at around 150 kmph or more here.

I would never advocate speeds in excess of 100 kmph at least on Indian roads.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 12th May 2014 at 23:21.
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Old 13th May 2014, 07:53   #50
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Personally I feel there is no much difference to your travel time if you compare a travel done in 90/ 100 KMPH to another one done in 120KMPH in real world. I based on my trips on Chennai - Bangalore (6 lane GQ) route have felt that I will be able to cover an additional 10 KM per hour on average if increasing speed to 120.
My preferred plan for any drive is to start early, minimize the breaks and drive sedately.
Could not have said any better:
Plan well. Leave early. Minimize the breaks and drive steadily.

In about 5 mins on any given road one will figure out what ones comfortable speed is; depending on the time of day, traffic etc. I feel this is a very novice question; No one can tell you what the safe speed for any given highway is. Just by the variety of roads we call Highways in our country this is impossible to answer.
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Old 13th May 2014, 08:05   #51
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

100 kmph is a safe speed. The time of day also matters, afternoons on a working day being a lot better than evening. I always stick to the left lane while going fast, the idiots crossing through the median are at least 1 lane away and not under your car when you see them.

Another reason I have slowed down is that fuel prices are up nearly 50% from when I started using the road. Keeping speed of around 100 is nearly 20% cheaper.

Last edited by GTO : 13th May 2014 at 15:35. Reason: STRICTLY no mention of illegally high speeds on Team-BHP
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Old 13th May 2014, 08:26   #52
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Originally Posted by anku94 View Post
Hi folks!

I'm a relatively new driver (just hit 20 years), and have a couple of inter-city travels under my belt.

In my short driving experience, I had two close shaves.

1. A highway going through a small town/city, I was doing about 80, suddenly a dog came up in my lane. I honked, and it sort-of froze in the middle of the lane. It was a two lane highway, and instead of swerving, I decided to brake hard, and hit him at about 20 km/h. (I was lucky that the car behind me braked just as hard). We felt he was not seriously injured and drove away.

2. Again, a two-lane highway on city outskirts, I was doing about 70 km/h, this time, it was about 11pm. I suddenly saw a man half-lying on the road (he could be drunk and passed out, or dead - I have no clue), with his back on the divider. This time, I decided to swerve and luckily, avoided him completely.

These incidents have shook me out of my naive belief that slow things had no business on highways - especially the fast lanes - and it was their responsibility to get out of my way. I drive at a maximum of 90-110 km/h on highways, but these incidents have made me very hesitant to cross the 80 km/h barrier.

Help out a young one here, what's your formula for deciding on the cruising speed?
I am not 20 rather 26 but there is always this rush of blood when I drive. I just found that it is very important to control emotions since it is not a race track where there are audiences to cheer us and sponsors to pay us.

The faster we drive the higher the risk. I drive in highways quiet often and always controlled my emotions and keep control over speeds. It is our mind that will tell you "yes this is the speed that I can take control even if I need to break heavy". And remember the speeds are pertaining to the location, say a village do not go over 40-50 kmph.

And also I would be tempted to ask this: which car were you driving? Because I feel the control over speeds are very much dependent on cars as well.
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Old 13th May 2014, 10:08   #53
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Speed – it thrills and also keeps you on toes while driving, though for all practical purposes, in Indian driving conditions, the dead paddle has a very limited role to play when the car is moving beyond 90-100 kmph. ABS with EBD are good, but are they present in the car following you? We are still surrounded by vehicles on the roads which are overloaded (rural transport) and MSIL (no offence but this company produces least stable cars (most of their volume sales) and only focuses on "kitna deti hai" instead of "kitni safe hai") - you may be smart (bought a safe car with all modern features) and focused but rear ending by another vehicle cannot be ignored.

I am a sedate driver and am often being told that having Verna is a waste if I am not doing 3 digit speeds. To me the logic has always been simple that destination is just an excuse and driving is only the reason why I go out on the highways when time permits.

Most of my driving happens during monsoons (Himachal mostly) and winters (Rajasthan, UP and MP), while I cover non-derivable locations (from Delhi) during summers, and if I have to enjoy scenic beauty, the car has to be in my control and I should not be in the control of my car. With whatever limited experience I have, I have found 80 kmph as safe cruising speed in plains (National as well as good State Highways) and 50-60 kmph (in hills). I have done around 120 kmph (while driving to Bikaner from Jaipur) and on some of the stretches between Jodhpur – Jaisalmer and Barmer where the roads are managed by BRO (Border Roads Organization) and yes between Ahmedabad and Vadodara (NE1 where I touched 150 and was still being overtaken by Germans as if I am not at all moving).

I generally drive from 4 AM to 4 PM and have mostly covered around 600 – 700 km in a day without any issues (including halts for breakfast and lunch) and keep the evenings to relax, see the destination (well that is always an excuse) and keep myself ready for the next day. I have also observed that if I start at 4, first 4 hours give me maximum coverage and are most enjoyable with least number of trucks / slow moving traffic on road and pleasant weather for car too (less of heat, dust etc)

The long and the short of it is,

Indian roads are still not okay for a three digit speed come what may and it’s always good to give that one extra hour on the road to make sure that both you and the car stay relaxed.


Last edited by i74js : 13th May 2014 at 10:15.
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Old 13th May 2014, 10:46   #54
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

My Policy:
6-lane Road : I choose the center lane so that i have good reaction time if some miscreants sneak in from either side of the road. I test my car on these roads and that too only if atleast minimum of 200 metres of the road is clearly visible.

4-lane Road: Drive cautiously with speeds below 100 for sure and keep an eye on the median/divider for a sneak-ins. Again hit the pedal only if you could see the road end-to-end(including the other side) for atleast 200 metres.

No lane Road : No lane road to me is the road with no dividers. However big the road could be, if there is no divider ppl will be all over the place inspite of markers. If there is an option avoid such roads. Else be super cautious, specially while turning, ppl doesn't care for a turn and tend to overtake a slow moving vehicle while turning. The stretch between Palamaner-Ranipet on bangalore-chennai(via chitoor) highway is known for this.
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Old 13th May 2014, 11:01   #55
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Originally Posted by nakul0888 View Post
I agree with what everybody else here has to say.

But I would also like to add that the type of car one is driving is also a determining factor for the "optimum speed".

An example:

I mean 100 kph in a Brio and 100 kph in a BMW will not be the same experience.

In the Brio the engine will be screaming its head off at 4000 rpm while in the BMW then engine will be barely doing 1200 rpm.

So in the brio the sensation of speed is going to be far greater and you have to be an excellent driver to drive it at its limits. (I usually chicken out after 90 kph)

In the BMW it will be a far more relaxing experience. To the other road users you maybe roaring ahead but whats actually happening is that you are simply cruising with your foot barely touching the throttle. Also the BMW has the brakes to match the power.

So you see 100 kph is a much relaxed experience in one car while in the other its a roller coaster ride. So its much safer to drive the smaller car at much slower speeds.

Warning: This does not mean that if you have got a BMW you can drive without paying attention to the road ahead or drive like a complete lunatic.
Does it matter,whats going inside the hood or in the vehicle?
The occupants and engine of the BMW may be relaxed.
But what about the surroundings?,its still at 100km/hr with respect to elements on road,and road is where crashes occur.The only saving grace is that a car like BMW will shed speed more easily than a B segment hatch doing same speeds.

Recently i saw a video of a certain car doing 310km/hr on YEW and it was consistently above 250 for long stretches.The car was capable,but what about surroundings?.Will the odd truck driver or a average hatch driver have an idea that a missile is heading their way at 300+km/hr?

Its always better, to stick to legal speed limit irrespective of the vehicle you drive.
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Old 13th May 2014, 12:19   #56
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

short answer - 100+ kph, NOT REALLY NEEDED (unless you are an ambulance driver and every second saved, counts).

some tips from my experience :

1) 90 kph @ top gear (5th or 6th) is the best way to 'cruise' on indian highways - whatever be the highway (2L/4L/6L) - your engine will thank you for it - you will save lots of fuel - your braking will be far smoother than at higher speeds - others in your car will 'feel' safer.

2) 100-120 kph and above , is highly overrated for 'saving journey time'. Here's why :

=> say you want to cover 500 kms on a 4L highway which has its share of toll booths, slow trucks, tata ACE/leyland DOST type mini carries (who btw are driven by the michael schumachers of the mini-lorry world) etc.

=> over a 10 minute window, you will sustain 120 kph for around 2 to 3 minutes ; plus some cruising at 100-110 for 2-3 mins behind that overzealous tata indica who wants to prove to the private cars that he cannot be easily overtaken ; plus 30 seconds to 1 minute behind that truck who is doing 50kph and trying to overtake a truck which is doing 49kph ; plus some sudden braking to 20kph to avoid the suddenly-out-of-nowhere appearing two wheeler who came out of the bushes in the centre median, pacifying your heart & everyone elses in the car & muttering some unmentionables at the two wheeler rider under your breath, then coming back to cruising speed ; plus giving way to that headlight flashing and incessantly honking 'party flag' carrying fortuner who is on a bulldozing mission on the highway, just so that the 'VIP' in the backseat can get to spend 30 minutes more with his mistress who is waiting for him, 100kms away ; plus honking and flashing for 2 minutes behind that volvo whose driver insists on occupying both lanes because he was so used to being the fastest one on the road before the 80kph speed lock, and now cannot bear that a petty car is overtaking him, etc etc

All the above put together, plus the time lost in toll booths and the idle duration over the rest stops/breaks we would anyway take , would translate to roughly 20 mins max early arrival at your 500 km afar destination.

It's just not worth it.

Last edited by venkyhere : 13th May 2014 at 12:24.
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Old 13th May 2014, 13:17   #57
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Originally Posted by anku94 View Post
Hi folks!

I'm a relatively new driver (just hit 20 years), and have a couple of inter-city travels under my belt.......
1. I was doing about 80...........

2. Again, a two-lane highway on city outskirts, I was doing about 70 km/h....

Help out a young one here, what's your formula for deciding on the cruising speed?
Ok Fellow Bhpians who are over forty here(and there are quite a few incl. me) do we have the sagacity to advise young Ankit here? We grew up on Ambys and fiats which cannot and will not stop at 80( the speed limit) but that did not stop us from pushing it to its max.
Our Fellow Bhpians over 30 were the lucky ones to be 20 when the new powerful beasts were launched and controlling one's hormones and the impulse to break free was quite overwhelming.
Now we have Ankit here who does 80 (in the day I assume) and 70 in the nite. What more can you even dare to expect from him compared to the present 20 somethings who are always on a mission to meet their maker. I see present college kids driving like rossi on steroids in our traffic signals and new first time car owners totalling their cars on the highway and here comes Ankit asking if 80 by day and 70 by nite is ok.
I salute you Ankit and I seriously wish there were more like you on our roads ,
The only thing that I can add on is never try to time your ride on long distance journeys. If your journey is time bound, the urge to try to get on time/beat your previous time gets to your head and that always reflects on your speed.
The rest(advice that you needed) has been covered by our fellow bhpians extensively and I need not add to that.
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Old 13th May 2014, 13:26   #58
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Speed has been scientifically proven to be gauged differently, depending on your own speed. For instance, a pedestrian crossing the road and seeing a car approaching, will not be able to tell whether the car is approaching him at 80 kmph, or 120 kmph. The same thing works at the other end of the spectrum, which is why stationary and slow-moving vehicles often cause accidents on fast highways.

My advice :
1. Gradually increase your top speed. On your first few highway jaunts, discipline yourself to stay under 80 kmph. Once you are confident with the way the car handles, and the way the road and traffic unfolds as this speed, feel free to ratchet the limit up by 10-20 kmph. It's a gradual process, and should remain so.

2. Slow down whenever there are units of traffic (for e.g.: cyclists, bullock carts, pedestrians, etc.) that are travelling slower than you. They will find it difficult to judge your speed, and you theirs, but your judgement will get better the narrower the gap between your respective speeds.

3. Watch your mirrors constantly, even while cruising. If there is a hell-raiser approaching you at a speed faster than yours, be sure to leave enough space for passing. Compensate for other's lack of judgement.

4. Be seen. Flash headlights while overtaking. Toot your horn if you still remain unnoticed. Watch the wheels of the vehicle you're overtaking to ensure that it is not planning a rapid intervention into your path.

Stay safe. Cheers.

Last edited by Ice : 13th May 2014 at 13:26. Reason: spello
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Old 13th May 2014, 13:57   #59
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

To the original question - Avoid if you can even if it looks doable.

The maximum speed I've driven at is 180 kmph but that was during my initial days of driving on Indian highways. With just 4 years of highway driving experience, I'd rarely hit 100+ speeds now. I'm an over-cautious & a very defensive driver.

While approaching villages, city or anything which looks remotely populated, I slow down to very low speeds (30-40 kmph) and turn on the headlights while honking liberally to tell the world that I'm passing by.

I've had some very close shaves and if there was just one advice I could give to a driver anywhere in the world it would be - Drive like everything that moves (or doesn't) is out there to hit your car and maintain the lowest possible speed that you can manage!

And every once in a while we get tempted to overtake that car which just overtook us or indulge in speeding just for kicks, its all fun till the time nobody gets hurt but you start playing with probability and only increase your chances of getting in to an accident.

Anybody who understands probability will agree that on Indian roads, the moment you become an aggressive driver or any other kind BUT defensive, you just increase the probability of getting in to an accident.

Of course there are situations where in if one was driving faster they could've actually averted an accident but the probability is still high when one drives fast.
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Old 13th May 2014, 14:07   #60
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Default Re: Indian highways: When to hit 100+?

Unanticipated hazards in this form while driving on Indian Highways is inevitable I suppose.

I frequent HYDERABAD-BANGALORE highway very often and this is indeed my greatest fear. I already happened to bang my friend’s RENAULT FLUENCE into a SHEEP/GOAT– poor thing would have succumbed to internal bleeding – such was the impact. This set us back around Rs.50-60K for damaged parts replacement.

After that I have made several trips on my SKODA RAPID on the same highway and haven’t fortunately encountered any untoward incident. I drive at average 100-120 Km/hr speeds.

Although it is best to remain at controllable speeds – I would suggest if there are no vehicles around, stick to the middle of the road so that you can quickly duck any hazard coming from either side of the roads.
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