Tips For Long Highway Drives in India


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Here is what to do if you have a flat tyre or need to change a tyre for any reason

  1. Take out your jack and wheel-nut spanner and spare tyre (or alloys) from either the boot floor, or under the hood, depending on where it is stored.
  2. Find the jacking points under your car, there will be one for each wheel, and position your jack below them.
  3. Start winding the jack until it just touches the bottom of the car, then carry on slowly and only until the car's weight is off the wheels, but not so much that the tyre is off the ground.


  4. Remove any hub-caps if fitted. Take the spanner and loosen each nut on the wheels for 1 - 1.5 turns of the spanner. We only want to loosen them slightly, and not take them off at this point.
  5. With the wheel nuts loosened, Jack the car up further until the wheel is clear of the ground.
  6. Use the spanner and remove the nuts from the wheel. It is advisable to do opposite nuts, and not just go round in a circle.
  7. Now you can remove the old wheel and put the new one back on.
  8. Replace the nuts, with the rounded end towards the wheel, and tighten by hand as much as you can. Then use the spanner to tighten slightly more. We still want the nuts a bit loose.
  9. Wind down the jack until the tyre is just touching the ground and can't move.
  10. Tighten the nuts with the spanner as much as you can. You don't want them falling off, or the wheel will fall off as well!
  11. Wind the jack down so that you can remove it from underneath the car and stash it away.

Source
Wonderfully detailed, allow me to add a very important point which I learnt after falling in trouble once, it is advisable to carry/have a solid wooden plank or block of say 6inchx6 inch in case the ground to place the jack is soft or soggy, the plank gives a solid platform to have as a base to place the jack.
 
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My big advise for someone doing frequent trips is to change the spare wheel to the stock size and quality. Most spare wheels are space savers these days and it advised not to run them for long beyond stipulated speeds. So, for long trips it is advisable to get the spare wheel to stock size matching the speed rating as well.

It happened, on my Vento that has 185/60/R15, during one of the trips at 10.30pm the left front tyre got a deep cut when the car bumped a big crater in a highway and I pulled to a stop. Later I realised that it is a space saver- 175/70/R14 and cannot exceed 80kms. I had no choice but to drive whole night at controlled speed as there was no tyre shop to be found to buy a replacement stock tyre. As soon as I reached home, the first thing I did was to change the spare wheel to stock size and I was surprised to see that the wheel-well easily accommodated a 15 inch rim/tyre.
 
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Sorry for restarting this thread after so long. But these are very good tips for long drives. I will be going on a long drive from the last week of december 2016. My route will be like this, which will be a total 14 - 16 days drive with stops in various locations:

Bangalore - Badami - Pattadakal - Aihole - Bijapur - Hampi - Kodachadri - Belur (not finalized) - Halebidu (not finalized) - Horanadu (not finalized) - Shimoga (not finalized) - Udupi (not finalized) - Bangalore.
 
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Sorry for restarting this thread after so long. But these are very good tips for long drives. I will be going on a long drive from the last week of december 2016. My route will be like this, which will be a total 14 - 16 days drive with stops in various locations:

Bangalore - Badami - Pattadakal - Aihole - Bijapur - Hampi - Kodachadri - Belur (not finalized) - Halebidu (not finalized) - Horanadu (not finalized) - Shimoga (not finalized) - Udupi (not finalized) - Bangalore.
All the very best for your drive. Please take care while driving towards and throughout Bijapur as i have heard that road condition is worst in that part.

Drive safe and avoid driving in night as much as possible. Do update the road condition of your trip once you come back.
 
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+ One thing is to carry home cooked food which is non-messy, non-sticky - like chapatis and dry vegetables, or mixed rice, etc. which don't upset the stomach. Eating at hotels in the Highway can be a gamble and it's anyway less expensive to pack your own food and stop at a suitable place for lunch/dinner/breakfast etc. The quality and hygienic may be suspect in many highway motels/hotels. Don't want to end up with stomach upset on a long trip with few decent toilets.

+ Another thing: best to have somebody else who can share the driving on trips which involve more than 450-500 kms one-way and especially if the driving involves roads that are not 4-lane separated by divider.

+ Another tip. If you have ladies travelling, be considerate and plan ahead and stop at good places with decent toilet facilities. I always stop only at decent restaurants which have separate dedicated toilets outside for gents and ladies.

+ Drive so that passengers feel more comfortable. Sedate driving is preferable, avoiding sudden braking (except in emergency situations) or sudden acceleration or doing sharp curves at higher speed or overtaking aggressively (especially if you have nervous old gents or ladies on board - the nervousness of passengers can be communicated to the driver, so be especially careful not to upset passengers).

+ Try to switch to "City mode" after a long highway stretch and you are entering into the city. It is tough to mentally adjust and you would need to either get a fresh driver to take charge (if available) or consciously switch your mind to city mode and monitor your speed/overtaking tendency. I have seen many paid drivers continue to drive in the city as though they are on the highway. I myself have this tendency.

+ Try to avoid being too conscious of time-table or schedule. Most of us like to boast "it took me only X hours from A to B". But we need to be careful not to be too aggressive in driving to race against time.
 
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Recently I did around 1100km Rajasthan road trip in i20 in around 4 days. Overall it was a blissful ride and the car behaved well. Top speed I did was 130kmph. My advice would be yes firstly avoid night drive especially if you're not aware of the road. And secondly don't blindly follow Google route. 2-3 places the road was almost like driving in sand with no clear road. And one place there really was no road and Google expected me to jump a 5 ft high railway track and catch the highway. If the beginning of the road is itself bad and its too narrow, continue with the wider road. It might be longer but it would be safer. Also Google miscalculates time sometimes so don't blindly believe it. A small turning hardly 10m was showing 2hrs slower to me.
 
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^^ To add more thrill which I have gone through and hope no one should go through it.

Since I got my car(2012) I did Delhi-Mumbai Trip(4k-5k km road trip) every year as we go for vacation to Mumbai for 1-2 months.

First trip was incident free and rest others except 2nd trip where we thought lets change old route and try new route. Normally we go through NH-8 but on our second trip we thought lets do some diversion and we choose NH8 & from Indore NH3 as we wanted to visit Shahada Town in Maharashtra. Which where we believed google will take us without issue which it normally use to do and still doing.

We reached around 12 midnight to Shendwa District(M.P.) and google took us to place where road doesnt exist and no car or bus or bike goes in night at all without police protection or convoy. There are thieves and gangs who never let go single vehicle without looting. Somehow our bad luck we missed first check post which is at end of city(shendwa city) it was open and no one was around so we didnt think much and moved. Within 2-3 km road turned from tar to gravel to just muddy patch where only truck or buses which has tons of ground clearance. I have Honda City now you can guess and yes there was no lights or nothing except jungle. I thought may be due to monsoon season ending so road work might not have started. But after going around 10-12 km I thought now we are in danger as not single vehicle passed nor single village, not even dogs or any sign of life. Now my heartbeat started to pump and now me and my wife got into survival mode. Now we have choice to go back 12-15km which we successfully traveled or go head thinking we will find some town/village etc may be stay there for few hours till morning and leave.

We were thinking about it and then we see some deem lights near by, thought lets go there instead turning back. Which we thought safer that time, turn out of safer as it has another police check post and tea stall running at 1.30am. We stopped to ask why check post is closed before I say something he asked me how you reached here? why last checkpost didnt stop you? you are extremely lucky? its kind of miracle I got safely etc etc. Then he started to tell me events that happened in past why these checkpost and everything then I released how we were lucky to reach there safely.

Basically no vehicle is allowed after 8-9pm on that route. Only one bus which goes in night time has police car for protection from gangs. If there any car or vehicle need to go they make convoys of vehicles and add more police force and send it. Somehow we missed it or police may be sleeping or dont know. Bus comes around 3am so we waited and then rest of journey we were extremely frighten and thinking how lucky we were. All thanks to might Google maps where we trusted blindly and not only that life of my wife and mine were at great risk. Since then I chart all roads and routes before leaving home and always stays on national highways as much as possible even if I need to drive little extra.

Life lesson - Never drive at night on unknown roads even if google showing there is road or shortcut. Specially if you are with family/female with you. Complete no-no.
 
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@kuwaronline true that. Even the places I went were very scary and inside jungle but still being day it was much better. There was earlier an incident where was going with my BIL searching for a school and Google took us outside of Bangalore in some place which was deserted but school was not very far and we could find it. And recently the hotel which I booked in Jodhpur, someone marked it on the outskirts of Jodhpur and it was good 2hrs wasted after driving for 5hrs. Never blindly believe Google Tagged places.
 
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Google maps? Hahaha...
Even within the city it has led me into to a maze of narrow lanes from where I had to back out my car and find the main road.
They better fix their navigation. I always check and double-check route with the locals, as is the best method since time immemorial.

@kuwaronline, yes, you were extremely lucky. Thank god no bad incident occurred and luckily you found the checking post.
 
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Hi Guys,
I see lot of good information shared here. Kudos to everyone :)

I am planning to drive from Chennai to Pathanamthitta (Kerala) for Christmas. Points to be noted is i am beginner with 2017 model Swift, I am driving alone and this is my first long trip till date. I dint tell about this trip to my wife (on post maternity leave in kerala) yet, coz i know she will never allow.

Please advice me how safe it is to drive. What all precautions i need to take? I am thrilled as well as scared :|[confused]
 
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Hi Guys,
I see lot of good information shared here. Kudos to everyone :)

I am planning to drive from Chennai to Pathanamthitta (Kerala) for Christmas. Points to be noted is i am beginner with 2017 model Swift, I am driving alone and this is my first long trip till date. I dint tell about this trip to my wife (on post maternity leave in kerala) yet, coz i know she will never allow.

Please advice me how safe it is to drive. What all precautions i need to take? I am thrilled as well as scared :|[confused]
Know your car properly. Check all important things like fluid levels, pressure in tires etc one day before leaving. Keep all documents in place.

Know yourself. Carry enough water and keep yourself hydrated throughout the journey. Check for first aid / medicines in your car. If your drive is crossing 10 hours then do plan to halt . Always start at wee hours of morning and cover as much as distance till evening. If possible avoid night drives. Always select good restaurant for your breaks.

Select proper route up til your destination. Try to be on National Highways most of the time (enough facilities throughout). Always select a good four lane road wherever available. Keep track of Kilometers and Time which will help you to plan for halt.

The key for long drive is to keep driving (fast / slow dose not matter). Be calm on your accelerator and don't continue for long in triple digits. Wherever you feel uncomfortable then don't hesitate to stop and relax yourself.

At last, don't get sacred. Take this trip and you will learn more about it. Always remember "Destination is not important, but how you reach destination makes difference". Drive safe and enjoy your journey !!
 
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Hi Guys,
I see lot of good information shared here. Kudos to everyone :)

I am planning to drive from Chennai to Pathanamthitta (Kerala) for Christmas. Points to be noted is i am beginner with 2017 model Swift, I am driving alone and this is my first long trip till date. I dint tell about this trip to my wife (on post maternity leave in kerala) yet, coz i know she will never allow.

Please advice me how safe it is to drive. What all precautions i need to take? I am thrilled as well as scared :|[confused]
As per google maps, Chennai-Pathanamtitta is 670 kms/12 hours. As someone rightly pointed above, it is better to halt somewhere. I was in similar situation as you few months back and i have done quite a lot of long trips ever since. here are few tips for you:

1. Take it slow : Don't overexert yourself. During the first long drive, most part of body including thumb, ankles and leg will ache. Its important to take breaks every 100 kms and stretch yourself and ensure that you keep yourself hydrated. Like everything else in life, it takes time and patience to build stamina for a long drive. During my first long trip, i took breaks every 50 kms to stretch due to ankle and shoulder pain. Now i can drive without a break for 300 kms. Ideally, you should have done a couple of 150-200 kms trips before embarking on a 670 kms drive.

2. Start as early a possible: Chennai traffic can be maddening during peak hours. It is important to get out of Chennai city limits before 6:30 am. If you are comfortable driving at nights, try to start your journey by 3-4 am.

3. Research and plan your pit stops/ food breaks : This becomes very important especially when one is travelling with ladies and kids. research all the good restaurants with washroom facilities en route and try to mark them on your phone. These days every restaurant worth its salt is reviewed by someone in google so finding good restaurants is not a big issue.

4. Southern part of India is comparatively safe but try not to halt at deserted places especially during nights. If you need to pull over for a nap or breaks, petrol bunks and toll plaza is a safer option.

5. This point is specific to Kerala single lane highways. Be very careful if you driving on the Kerala roads for the first time. Do not attempt any overtaking move unless you are 100% sure and be wary of KSRTC/Private buses.

My personal suggestion for you would be to take a bus/train this time unless you really need your car in Kerala. 670 kms a quite a lot of distance for a first timer on the highway.


Regards
Sumesh
 
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I recently had to do some long distance rural state-highway night driving (not the whole night, but between 9 pm and 12 midnight - 12:30 am.). But this was after around driving 200 - 220 kms in the daytime. It is not pleasant to drive at night, no matter how experienced you are, especially on state highways with 2-lane traffic coming on opposite direction (especially there are local goods carrying vehicles and buses which never dim their headlights). Also it is safer to stick to known routes at night, because you never know when Maps might lose GPS/connectivity and lead you astray. also in night time, there are fewer people to ask directions and also small towns/villages become eerily deserted at late hours (dogs also tend to chase your car at nights in remote villages).

Sometimes it is unavoidable, luckily I had my wife and her family travelling with me and my father-in-law can drive. But I would best avoid it in future.
 
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Generally I drive Hyderabad - Vijayawada road where lot of 4 wheelers drive at extreme speeds. Its a presteige issue saying it takes only 3 hours, 4 hours to travel 280 KM. So, many drive at extreme speeds and with many risky over takes. While driving recently found out that its better to prevent other vehicle to come between slow moving vehicle and your vehicle. It helps in safety for all involved. The trick is to be on edge line of slow moving vehicle but not too close to it but just sufficient for other vehicle not to come between two.
 
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Generally I drive Hyderabad - Vijayawada road where lot of 4 wheelers drive at extreme speeds. Its a presteige issue saying it takes only 3 hours, 4 hours to travel 280 KM. So, many drive at extreme speeds and with many risky over takes. While driving recently found out that its better to prevent other vehicle to come between slow moving vehicle and your vehicle. It helps in safety for all involved. The trick is to be on edge line of slow moving vehicle but not too close to it but just sufficient for other vehicle not to come between two.
Similar sort of problem is on Mumbai Pune expressway. Everyone wants to speed up just to complete expressway within 2 hours. In ghat section the heavy vehicles takes more place to turn and these small cars pass inches between them at high speed. Half of the 4 wheeler drivers don't stick to their lanes while turning. I always use slow lane to keep driving continuously without slamming breaks.[:D]
 
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