One accident that completely changed your driving style

I'm happy to say that since that day, I've driven much more sedately and I intend to keep it that way.

BHPian Arreyosambha recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I'm still a relatively young driver, all of 24 years old. I've been driving for over 6 years now (my father was very strict about the fact that I should not get behind the wheel till I turned 18). Despite the warnings from my parents to never speed and engage in rash driving, the thrill of being alone in the car, to have an engine waiting for your every command, to have the open roads to drive out onto was a heady cocktail for indulging in some highly questionable driving in my first 2 years behind the wheel.

However, sometime in 2017, while on my way back from a grocery run to a nearby market, I was as usual speeding my Santro on a narrow road, with residential houses on both sides, travelling at about 60kmph. Out of nowhere, a child rushed out into the middle of the road. I panicked and slammed my brakes, and by god's grace, somehow managed to miss the kid by a literal whisker. The child ran back home, but I stopped my car and had to step out for a few deep breaths - my hands were quivering, my legs were trembling. I nearly broke down thinking of what would have happened if I had perchance hit the child.

In that very moment, I made a solemn vow to never drive in such a manner ever again, where I would be putting the lives of other innocents who inhabit the same public spaces at risk from my driving. I'm happy to say that since that day, I've driven much more sedately and I intend to keep it that way.

That one incident made me revamp my manner of driving completely - curious to know if other members have had similar experiences!

Here's what BHPian nitinkbhaskar had to say on the matter:

First of all kudos for mustering the courage and sharing this incident out in open (especially on Team-BHP, where everyone is passionate about driving / riding). Happy to know that you learnt that speeding should be reserved for apt places (tracks, highways etc.) However, I wish that this learning is somehow imparted to all of us during the license application (maybe a simulation or something).

Coming to topic of the thread - I was driving at 10 km/h within my colony with my son standing on the front seat and suddenly a lady barged into the main lane from the basement parking and I had to slam onto my brakes. My son's head hit the dashboard and he wailed in pain. After soothing him, I saw that the guard came running from behind and told me that he had asked the lady to stop but she didn't listen. So much for high tech educated professionals who don't understand the basic rules and feel the following a guard's order is an insult to their judgement.

That incident made me adhere to following things:

Always and I mean always strap the kiddo to his car seat

Earlier we used to seat him only if we planned to venture out > 2kms from house. Now, for small runs, we pick cycle. Any pleasure drives are always > 2kms where he sits in his seat.

Assume that everyone is an idiot on road and take driving decisions accordingly

A rickshaw flashing a left indicator WILL turn right.

A motorcyclist on left most lane on national highway WILL turn immediate right.

An oncoming car will not switch to low beam.

And so on...

With these 2 learnings, I feel that I drive sedately now. However, every drive provides some learning

Here's what BHPian haisaikat had to say on the matter:

This is every driver's tale who embraced the roads and learnt on the job. For me apart from numerous smaller incidents but one such stand out.

Mine was way back in 2008, it was raining heavily and I was speeding while returning from office on a Sunday evening, my driving experience was merely 9 months back then. I was on a rightmost lane close to divider and a Indica standing ahead in the middle lane with a broken ORVM and no indicator suddenly tried to make a U turn from a cut out and I could not dodge him thereby engaging in a collision. Luckily no person was injured but both our cars were heavily damaged with the Indica's rear axle bent. I learnt hence to anticipate lane changes from other cars way better than before by being more cautious and observant.

Call it destiny, 4 years later, my car was out for service and I availed office drop while returning home, it was an Indica after a long time and I was narrating to my co-passenger (Colleague) about the 4 year old incident. After I got down from the car near my home, I saw the number plate, it was the same car, I remembered the number plate clearly.

Later I heard that after I got down, the driver, who had been listening to our conversation all this time, acknowledged the same incident to my colleague too. So he heard both sides of the story.

Here's what BHPian gkveda had to say on the matter:

Coming from a lower middle class family, when I was driving my 2 wheeler, I always used to think of fuel wastage while waiting in signals, waiting for gate to be opened in front of house. When we purchased 1st car (Esteem) I became more cautious about fuel wastage because the fuel efficiency was very less compared to two wheelers.

So, I used to feel restless till family members came out and opened the gates when waiting in the car outside. Also, another point was, if I bring the car from east and enter the gate, distance used to increase by 600-700 meters more. If I bring the car from West side and enter the gate, this distance used to be saved. So, to save 600m fuel, I always used to bring the car from West side although it was very close shave with the gates to park the car appropriately if I bring the car from West.

After a month of purchase, the gate was opened, and as usual, I brought the car from West and entered the gate. I think I was a bit careless. While parking, entire right side of the car got a line scratched by gate. This completely changed my mind set about fuel savings.

I decided on that day, that going forward I will not -

  • Attempt to save few drops of fuel while waiting for gates to be opened
  • Attempt to save fuel by saving few km.
  • Attempt to drive the car in narrow lanes when broad roads are available.

Here's what BHPian Agarwal_Aayush had to say on the matter:

First of all thank you for starting this thread. I surely hope we all have a tale to tell.

Coming to mine, it was during my trip to Udaipur, we were coming back from our trip and had got late in our drive back, so I was driving at a little above my usual driving speed. There was a Vento in front of me which was doing somewhere around 110-120 and I was not maintaining proper distance to it (my bad), suddenly a calf sitting at the side of the road decided to cross and the Vento ahead of me had to slam breaks hard in order to avoid the baby calf. I too had to break hard and post stopping both Vento and my car were in the opposite side road (it was a 2 lane road without divider). We both immediately moved our cars to the side, got out greeted each other, asked for each other family's well-being thanked god and started driving again.

Lessons learnt:

  • Always drive at speeds you are comfortable with, do not try to compensate for the lost time on road.
  • Always keep good distance between the cars ahead of you as you don't know when the car in front of you will have to apply emergency breaks.
  • If travelling with a child always have them at the back seats of the car rather than the front seats even with someone to look after them.

Had seen many such instances earlier when I was not driving but could only understand when the same happened with me.

Drive safe.

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