Why checking all the things is important before going on a highway drive? Well.. I will narrate my story here happened to be before a year. (Pretty long one. Hope it conveys a message)
I was busy working in office to leave soon at 7.00 PM for catching the train to Karaikudi(train departs at 8.30 PM). Finally left by 7.30. To my horror, traffic started to build up everywhere and I didn't noticed the time and my friend who boarded the train in egmore called me to say that the train left. I am still stuck in traffic in Kathipara. So I asked him to get down in tambaram and wait for me, so that we can go by car. My car was with a known local garage for removing a dent. So I called him and asked him to ready my car for the drive. He accepted as the work was not started, checked the car and gave it to my home. So I went home at 9.30 PM and took the car and picked my friend and started to Karaikudi.
Here the shock begins. I drove in NH - 45 which is pretty good with lights at most of the places. So I was continuously driving and while nearing madhuranthagam(60 to 70 kms from Chennai) I realised that the beam was not good. So I tried switching to high beam, still no use. I smelled something fishy and stopped the car in a nearby petrol bunk and checked the lights. To my horror, the right headlight bulb is missing and in the left side bulb, only the low beam is working and high beam is not working. It was around 11.30 in the night and I am in the middle of the highway and couldn't find a mechanic or a spares shop. I called my mechanic and asked him and he casually answers that the boys in the garage would have missed it.(Then I learnt that they took both the bulbs and changed it to another car in garage and installed one defective bulb alone). I was helpless and drove with a single bulb and fog lamps(Thanks to the powerful fog lamps) till trichy and halted there till morning.
So what I learnt from this incident.
Check all the bulbs, fluids, fuses, tyres etc before leaving for a highway trip.
Its better to avoid a sudden plan of a drive at night and travel by bus instead. Lot of energies saved.
If you are not sure of the car condition, its better to get it checked by a ASC a week before the trip and get all the things sorted out.
Have spare bulbs, tubeless puncture kits and a good air compressor. Also its advisable to check the condition of the spare tyre too.
If your car's service is due in a couple of weeks after the trip, its better to service the car prior to the trip.
Use the trains or bus, if you are not comfortable on the day of the trip(both physically or mentally).
Don't drive after a long day in office. You will be so tired for sure.
If you have other friends who can drive, make sure that they are comfortable with your car. (A person owning a SUV will find it difficult adjusting to your low slung sedan.)
Finally,(Not sure if I can post it in this thread) never give your car to a outside garage if you are not sure of their work.
That was a bad experience for me and I don't want my fellow TAI
members to experience such things in a highway trip. So please plan things in advance and have a safe trip.... At last, mistakes are always the best teachers....