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Old 3rd December 2019, 22:38   #1
VVN
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Default Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Considering the rising crime against women and also the barbarity in certain cases, this thread talks about tips & precautions when traveling with females on *highways at night*.


1) Avoid night drives on the highway with female passengers

Wasnt easy for me to put this on the list considering that I absolutely love night drives with my better half and also sounds very regressive. But giving the situation and how things are currently, I would absolutely avoid night drives with a female passenger on the highway. Even the most reliable car can break down with some bad luck and there is nothing worse than being stranded on the dark Indian highway with no patrolling.

2) Absolutely no rest stops in the middle of nowhere

Granted that Dhabas and toll booths have plenty of activity nearby to deter miscreants, however, I still feel it is unsafe to stop the car and take a power nap with a female co-passenger. This is exactly when perverts strike. If you are absolutely tired, please stop near a police van at the toll booth or very close to the booths. Plan well in advance during long trips and stay at a reputed B&B for the night. Sing a song, play uncomfortable or hard rock music or engage in an intellectual conversation while driving at safe speeds till you arrive at a spot with human activity.

3) For female drivers driving at night on the highway

Needless to say, carrying pepper spray and some sharp object is a must. Also try and get some family members or friends to accompany you if you plan on driving at night on a highway.

4) Avoid help from strangers

Again, very unfortunate since Indian highways do have some very good people, especially truckers, who are always willing to help. However, the cons outweigh the pros here and I would avoid help from strangers at night if stranded. Emergency numbers are listed on the highway, do call the number and wait in the car with your windows rolled up. Do not trust anyone who approaches to help. Once the police van or the service car arrives, roll down the windows slightly and ask for an ID before letting them take control.

5) Avoid stepping out of the car in the middle of nowhere

If you have a flat tire in a dark or dangerous location, drive slowly to the nearest service station or public place. Even if you ruin the tire, you will not have risked anything else.

6) Stick to well known restaurant chains and brands for snack break

The urge to try local cuisine or take a quick stop to empty your bladder at any spot is high when on the highway. Planning is very crucial here. Try to identify the likes of Mcdonalds or KFC or CCD beforehand if you are planning to drive through the night. In a recent trip from Mumbai to Bangalore with my better half, I had to drive on from 9PM to 2AM non-stop simply because I was not comfortable with the dhabas that were available. I finally managed to find a CCD and although empty, the place look safe, well lit and had functioning CCTV cameras. The peace of mind outweighed the discomfort of driving for 5 hours non stop.

A lot has already been covered in this very helpful article by GTO - https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/drive...ays-ghats.html

The idea of this thread is to keep it female specific since it is the need of the hour. While the tone of this thread seems to be driven by fear, it is not at all meant to be used as a long term strategy. These are just immediate steps for women, men who accompany women at night on the highway till the situation improves. Id encourage all women to take up self defence classes and all parents to teach their sons on how to respect fellow humans. Stay safe and be vigilant. Do share your valuable thoughts, comments & tips.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 23:05   #2
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Default re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Thank you for the very relevant post.
It is a need of the hour to have a discussion on safety, given the times we are living in.

I just did a Bangalore to Calcutta drive few weeks back and on one of the legs, I had to drive in the night. Although the very idea was not appealing to me at all, but because of a faulty plan, I couldn't help but do this. I and my wife were travelling.
The only thought that kept bugging me was what if something happens to the tyres?
I was driving from Vizag to Bhubaneshwar and the road was almost empty except for occasional dhabas.

We decided not to stop anywhere except for toll booths. Although you must keep in mind that toll booths are mostly filled with pimps during the night.
We were also carrying a pepper spray and a serrated knife, just in case.
Carry food and enough water. However keep in mind that the more water you will consume, the more will be the pressure for nature's call.

Also, one more thing that I did was that I never turned off my car. The car was not turned off even for a minute from 2pm till 11pm.

Hope this experience helps.

Last edited by ayankm : 3rd December 2019 at 23:07.
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Old 4th December 2019, 00:59   #3
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Default re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

I agree to every thing you posted above, except for the sharp object or knife part. As in case of a emergency, the same tool if lands in the wrong hands, we ourselves would be bringing more trouble on ourselves. Unless you are really comfortable using it and if you are well built, to avoid getting over powered.
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Old 4th December 2019, 08:33   #4
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

My idea of highway safety @ night is super simple = AVOID highway driving at night . Indian highways are like lawless lands at night. I value my safety way too much to be driving on the highway after dinner time. I'm anyway an early morning person and believe me, Indian highways are fantastic early in the morning (no traffic at all). Mumbai-Pune or Mumbai-Nashik early in the morning takes 2.5 hours. Late evening, it's more like 4 hours.

For daytime trips on the highway when I'm driving my girls around, I'll only stop at safe restaurants / hotels. And as much as possible, I use the backseat curtains to keep my family out of public view.

Last edited by Sheel : 4th December 2019 at 16:24.
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Old 4th December 2019, 09:12   #5
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Have done quite a few regular drives at night with my family but strictly on my regular roads/corridors that I often travel where there is not only thick freight traffic but also regular private traffic. One of the key aspects to this is to never give even the toll booth operator a hint that you are with family.
  • At night, I am the only one in the front row and if I have to make a pit stop, I do so at the toll booth where you already have buses stopped for helping their passenger's relieve. With rest-rooms around toll booths becoming better (yes), it is a regular scene to spot buses stop by for a quick break

  • Refueling should be pre-planned with such drives that you don't have to pull over in the middle of the night to quench the thirst of your car. It better to tank up before 22:00 or after 05:00!

  • Simply avoid confrontation of any sort with anyone at night - Toll staff, other road users, locals etc. Absolutely not worth it

  • Avoid turning the cabin lights on when driving or even when waiting at the toll booth - These are unnecessary but obvious hints to grab attention from strangers

  • Many say, at nights it is safe to follow a local vehicle who knows the roads better - I always avoid this. The local vehicle upon realising that he is being followed would get obvious hints that you are someone new to their area (and a possible prey) or you may totally end up with a broken suspension or a bent rim or two when you end up bumping into a bad pothole or a speedbreaker that the car ahead missed. Safer option would be to follow a bus instead

  • When stopping by at the toll booth for refreshment, be absolutely careful how not to carry your loaded wallet full of currencies to buy that Tea/coffee for 10 bucks. Simply take out loose change, walk out and buy your choice. The world around doesn't need to know you have loads of cards or cash with you. Same with expensive mobile phones too. Trying to be a dude here doesn't help

Lastly, be aware of the perils of driving at night when things go wrong - Unexpected breakdown or a flat tire.

Last edited by paragsachania : 4th December 2019 at 09:15.
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Old 4th December 2019, 10:30   #6
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

While driving always download Google maps for the route you are taking.

Don't trust Google maps blindly. It may take you to unknown places where network coverage might be very poor and will leave you stranded thus forcing you to seek help from strangers. I faced this issue once and now I always download the whole map before starting my trip.

Never ever indulge in a confrontation with any person while travelling. Some people may overcharge you, not return change back to you etc.. don't try to argue with them. Always remember that you are far from your home and help is very far.

If possible prefer riding in groups/convoys with friends. I feel much safer when someone I know is near me while travelling.
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Old 4th December 2019, 10:32   #7
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Day or night, if one has ladies and/or kids as passengers, it is better to have another male traveller. So invite your friends, relatives or family members to join you for the trip! This helps a lot if there is a breakdown, minor accident or tyre issues. One male member can stay back while the other can go fetch help.

If there is no room in the car, travelling together in two separate cars works too.
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Old 4th December 2019, 10:59   #8
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Highways drives at night are fun, however below are things one must consider.

1) Plan the route properly and fuel up in advance. Absolutely avoid Google maps short cuts.

2) Carry Electric pump, which can be handy in case of flats.
3) Know in advance if the route has State Transport buses, you can simply dump your car and get in the bus in case of a breakdown, Move your car out of sight in such a scenario( I know we all love our cars, but not worth the risk at night ).

4) Ensure your relatives or friends are well informed of your travel plans so that they can pitch in , in case of an emergency.
5) Try to split up night drive ( Drive till 10-11 pm, stop at a hotel, start again early morning ).

6) If you are out of state, try to catchup with some family ( At good food chains ) to form a convoy.
Always make a note of the emergency numbers displayed on highways.

Do not depend on cellphone network since there is no guarantee it will work.( May try carrying 2-3 phones of different networks ).

7) If all the above still feels risky, send females by bus and drive your car behind it.

Last edited by silverado : 4th December 2019 at 11:07.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:06   #9
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Horrible a thread like this had to appear.

Was once driving down from Mumbai To Kerala and once the sunset the drive was definitely not safe considering the roads were to narrow. When I stopped at a restaurant for a few refreshment didnt feel comfortable at all. Drove non-stop to the next nearest city, stopped at a good hotel and slept for the night.

From that day have completely avoided highway long drives after 8pm. Sadly the moto is now better safe than sorry.

Also is there anyway to make google maps stick to highways and avoid it from that those tiny "shortcuts"

Last edited by sriks : 4th December 2019 at 11:25. Reason: added last sentence
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:11   #10
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Why drive at night on Indian roads at all. Even without the law and order problem, Indian highways and State roads, at night , are probably one of the most unsafe modes of transport in the world. It's a very rare occurrence that we have an earth shaking emergency that leaves us with no choice but to travel at night. A little bit of planning, a little bit of fore thought is all it takes to plan a day trip or an early AM start and still leave us with productive hours at our destination. Travelling with ladies at night in India is inviting trouble. Also driving overnight our bio cycle is at its weakest. More risk.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 4th December 2019 at 11:20.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:15   #11
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

I am a regular highway driver. Mostly I travel with my family (wife and daughter). The highways are the same, if its day or night and its no good if you are male as well. The only difference is in the night there's not much scope of help coming your way if some untoward incident happens. So avoid night unless you are a bunch of boisterous folks on a fun ride .

For safer highway trips (especially night), below are the rules I follow.

- Never challenge anyone. Do not give an opportunity for an altercation. You will never know the kind of person you are dealing with.
- Do not over speed unless chased by a Monster truck. As a Team-BHP community member, I don't believe that anyone would over speed. Motor your car responsibly.
- Carry water/food/first aid/nitrogen in your tyres topped up/full tank and do not stop anywhere. Do not attract attention especially if you are a lady driver or traveling with female passengers.
- Have a dash cam. That's a deterrent for many criminals. If you do not have a dash-cam, you could also convert your action camera to record videos in loops. I use an action cam converted to a Dash cam.
- Carry pepper sprays, and Extensible blades, which can do the damage.
- During the trip keep talking to your loved ones, let them know of your location periodically. Let them also know if you are sensing any danger or if there has been an incident. Its always good to talk to someone on phone when you are at restaurants, pit stops. This will deter the criminals.
- Above all, before the travel starts, think if you can delay your trip to start early in the day. It's always good to avoid an over night trip by car/taxi. I usually start my drives between 3:30am to 4:30am.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:25   #12
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

My only tip to this unfortunate thread would be this -
if you stop somewhere - say a restaurant or a dhabha - which you later on dont feel comfortable with, please move on quickly. Make an excuse, say something but move on quickly - you dont have to follow-through with an initial bad decision.

Safety is more important rather than worrying about offending strangers.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:35   #13
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVN View Post
Considering the rising crime against women and also the barbarity in certain cases, this thread talks about tips & precautions when traveling with females on *highways at night*.
Thanks for the thread VVN, adding to the list from my end.


Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Have done quite a few regular drives at night with my family but strictly on my regular roads/corridors that I often travel where there is not only thick freight traffic but also regular private traffic.
Agree with all the points Parag, however I would like to add the following based on my many 12am starts from home with family.

1. Ensure multiple people in the car know how to change a tyre. Even if 2 can do it, it takes much less than 5 mins if you know what you are doing - learnt this the hard way when had a flat in rains and I was the only one with experience of changing tyres.

2. Having male members would be advised. Further, I keep magnetic curtains on rear windows to keep out peeping eyes. At times folks in the backseat are sleeping when I need to make a tea / stretching halt.

3. Do the night trip only if you have done that road in the day recently or are familiar with it.

4. Keep toll and petty cash separate - esp, for tolls and tea / coffee breaks.

5. If possible, know the halts of overnight buses on the route and aim to take a break where they halt. Eg. departing from Mumbai, you can easily catch up buses leaving 2-3 hrs before you. These places are generally busy, have good food and clean restrooms.

6. Update friends and family on your trip. They might be of help incase you need it. Personally, when I had an accident 2 states away, a friend of a friend had come to pick us up from the ASS just as we reached it with the damaged car. I'm sure that without him it would have been a bit problematic in an unknown city.

That said, in all of my night drives, never had any issues or worrisome incidences any more than day drives. On the other hand, most memorable trips started at midnight for me.

Last edited by blackwasp : 4th December 2019 at 11:39.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:47   #14
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
My idea of highway safety @ night is super simple = AVOID highway driving at night . Indian highways at like lawless lands at night. I value my safety way too much to be driving on the highway after dinner time. I'm anyway an early morning person and believe me, Indian highways are fantastic early in the morning (no traffic at all). Mumbai-Pune or Mumbai-Nashik early in the morning takes 2.5 hours. Late evening, it's more like 4 hours.

For daytime trips on the highway when I'm driving my girls around, I'll only stop at safe restaurants / hotels. And as much as possible, I use the backseat curtains to keep my family out of public view.
I agree 100% with you. Night drives are dangerous due to mutliple factors like fatigue, limited vision and also emergency situations in middle of nowhere. It is a VERY BIG NO with female passengers traveling with you. I always plan my long drives to start around 4AM. I plan not to push myself beyond 10pm. If I have to face an unforeseen delay, I book a nearby hotel or find a friend's place, crash for the night and then start early next day. It absolutely makes no big difference to your next day plans but I feel safety beats everything, I feel most of us agree.

I am from Hyderabad myself and the toll booth where the incident took place is an International Airport exit to Bangalore Highway and has at least 2-3 police patrols with hundreds of vehicles buzzing around. But as expected most of our police would be resting in their newly acquired luxury Crystas, caring a damn about what they are supposed to do - 'PATROL'. I would never dare to take even a power nap near a toll booth or a dhaba, lest drive a bit more in fatigue to find a safer place.

I may sound regressive here but given our current day situation, general public or the government can not educate the whole population at once/fast pace on how to behave, attributing to their brought-up and backgrounds. It will be a gradual process and also bring in strictest of punishments to the culprits(like in most of middle eastern countries). Punishments in public area should be broadly telecasted, I feel that would deter people from thinking about such crimes, lest committing them.

Till these things fall in place and our country becomes a safer place, all we can do is give our best to safeguard our loved ones.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:48   #15
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Default Re: Highway safety at night for female drivers & passengers

Some of them are comfortable doing over night journey. That being the case plan your start time well in advance. Irrespective of whether one is driving solo or accompanied by female passenger, the most important aspect is in case the driver is feeling drowsy, stop the car near a big restaurant on the highway so that you can refresh yourself. Also the co passenger can make sure the driver does not fall sleepy by engaging in small discussions.

Last but not the least, never drive on SH post dusk. This comes from the advice of a person like me who drives more on SH than NH. I have not encountered any unpleasant incident like robbery on the SH as we do have lot of villages enroute.
The only hiccup would be in the event of vehicle breakdown post dusk (God forbid), no one will be around to help you.

Last edited by suresh_gs : 4th December 2019 at 11:56.
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