Driving on Highways - Do's and Don'ts!!


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Welcome to TAI Mr. Sudhir. Hope you have pleasant stay here and learn and teach good things.

Yes you are right. In turning it is always stick to the middle of the road to avoid any break down vehicles who is parked either side [mostly break down vehicles will be parked either left or right]

Hi Sethu,

About two lane highways.

In turnings, (or even in straight roads), we need to stick to our lane which is on the left side of the road in India and not on the middle of the road. If there are any obstructions in our lane, we need to slow down/stop and cross the obstruction only if there are no traffic coming on the opposite side. This is a basic traffic rule and please do not break this rule. (this applies to overtaking also)

Expecting a vehicle coming in the opposite direction to slow down/stop just because we want to clear the obstruction in our lane by flashing our the headlights is a very rude behavior. (this applies to overtaking also)

Many accidents happen because this basic rule is not followed in highways by impatient/ignorant drivers.
 
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Hi Sethu,

About two lane highways.

In turnings, (or even in straight roads), we need to stick to our lane which is on the left side of the road in India and not on the middle of the road. If there are any obstructions in our lane, we need to slow down/stop and cross the obstruction only if there are no traffic coming on the opposite side. This is a basic traffic rule and please do not break this rule. (this applies to overtaking also)
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You are 100% right. I do the same when I am on straight stretch. I was talking about only the turnings.

What ever I have suggested here is only for 4 way highways. In 2 way highways this will not work.

When everyone follows the rule and does it properly. But in our country most of the lorry drivers never follows none of the rules. and if any breakdown happens they don't even have hazard warning before the zone. Our patrol people on highway are capable of sitting in a tree shade and do nothing.

To safe guard ourselves and our family I wanted to take a caution step. In turnings when you are cruising in even in 80s in turning when you see a truck suddenly before you, you can not do anything. To avoid this at-least in turning come to middle of the road so that you can either take a right or left cut easily and miss the mishap. Iam sure when we are in 80, in turnings no one is going to slow down to 40. We might go up-to 70 or 75 and proceed further. Moreover in nights this will be very useful. Most of our truck does n't have hazard warning in their trucks. No reflectors nothing.

Just a suggestion.

Expecting a vehicle coming in the opposite direction to slow down/stop just because we want to clear the obstruction in our lane by flashing our the headlights is a very rude behavior. (this applies to overtaking also)

Many accidents happen because this basic rule is not followed in highways by impatient/ignorant drivers
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I do not know which one you are mentioning in this.

Vehicle A on left, Vehicle B opposite side coming. In this situation Vehicle C over taking Vehicle B and coming on Vehicle A's lane flashing lights. At that time Vehicle A also will flash lights.

I think what vehicle A does is right and what vehicle C does is wrong. Hope you are mentioning what vehicle C does.
 
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Hi Sethu,

Since you were replying sudhir64's post which wasabout driving on 2 lane highway, I assumed that you were suggesting driving in the middle of the road for 2 lane highways.

Yes I was talking about vehicle C.
 
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Hi Sethu,

Since you were replying sudhir64's post which wasabout driving on 2 lane highway, I assumed that you were suggesting driving in the middle of the road for 2 lane highways.

Yes I was talking about vehicle C.
Sorry for the confusion. Yes in 2 way 200% stick to your lane. I travel to Kundrathur [temple and in-laws place] mostly every week. It is a 2 way road stretch from Poru junction for 8 - 10 Kms with lot of bends. I will never change my lane and never cross 45-50.

Sorry once again.

Regarding flashing lights, yes some times when they do come like that [like how vehicle C comes] I just stop or slow down in a decent distance. We do not know will he have control or not. It is better to go to the side and wait for him to cross.
 
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Guys on the dual carriageways the situations are very much different than what we see on our 4-6 lane highways.
  • There is lesser space and hence any small fault can give fatal results.
  • You need to keep a strict check on your speed.
  • In case a vehicle is overtaking an another one and both are approaching you, then safest choice is to clear the way for both as it's tough to keep safe if anything goes out of plan while overtaking and hence there are chances that the overtaking vehicle may crash in yours.
  • If you are overtaking any vehicle then it's always better if you flash your lights to any oncoming traffic as there are some people who don't pay attention to road but if you flash then your car grabs their attention.
  • State transport buses[evil]...these guys are true devils of dual carriageways, they will not pay any attention to you and will start overtaking by flashing their lights(that also not always). It's always a safer choice to get out of their way if you see them.


A real life experience of mine:
In the last week of july 2011 while returning from a birthday party we people also did the same mistake of over-speeding on a dual carriageway and as a result the car(Honda city it was) ended up bruising a stationary truck(stranded) parked at the end of a turn and then overturning on the road.
All was the result of fast speed as we just left the 4 laned road and car was doing about 110 kph and as soon as the guy saw the truck on the road he applied hard brakes and gave high steering inputs but it was too late for it.The tyres lost the grip on some gravel etc and the car bruised the truck near the front wheels.
 
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Appear minor but very important point ( we had seen one fatality unfortunately). Left turning light is to indicate turn to left in city area but on highway it means you are going to right to overtake vehicle going in front of you. Similarly Right turning light is to indicate to turn right in city area but on highway it indicate you are allowing vehicle coming behind you to overtake you.

Once my friend was going on 1+1 state highway at night. When his village came entour on highway, he give Right turning light to indicate he is turning right to enter village road, while car behind him understand he is inviting to overtake. So he take right turn & rear vehicle try overtaking him & there was serious accident. So conclusion is - often there comes turns to enter villages on highway. So rather relying only on turning light indicators, if you want to take turn - it is better to give indications by speeding down, of course turning lights, steering gestures & possibly open driver side window & waving hand - give sign whether you are turning or allowing rear driver to overtake ( or speed down, see IRVM/ORVM, allow any rear vehicle to pass by & the take turn). Similar, if some vehicle in front of you is showing right turning light, don't just accelerate & attempt overtake, first think & analyze any nearby turn where front vehicle might would like to take turn or front vehicle is decelerating to attempt right turn, if no such gestures, then speed up & overtake.
 
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Appear minor but very important point ( we had seen one fatality unfortunately). Left turning light is to indicate turn to left in city area but on highway it means you are going to right to overtake vehicle going in front of you. Similarly Right turning light is to indicate to turn right in city area but on highway it indicate you are allowing vehicle coming behind you to overtake you.

Once my friend was going on 1+1 state highway at night. When his village came entour on highway, he give Right turning light to indicate he is turning right to enter village road, while car behind him understand he is inviting to overtake. So he take right turn & rear vehicle try overtaking him & there was serious accident. So conclusion is - often there comes turns to enter villages on highway. So rather relying only on turning light indicators, if you want to take turn - it is better to give indications by speeding down, of course turning lights, steering gestures & possibly open driver side window & waving hand - give sign whether you are turning or allowing rear driver to overtake ( or speed down, see IRVM/ORVM, allow any rear vehicle to pass by & the take turn). Similar, if some vehicle in front of you is showing right turning light, don't just accelerate & attempt overtake, first think & analyze any nearby turn where front vehicle might would like to take turn or front vehicle is decelerating to attempt right turn, if no such gestures, then speed up & overtake.
I really hate those kind of self made nonsense rules which mostly taxi walas use. The side indicators are to indicate others that you are trying to go that side ,not to allow someone to overtake or not. I request to all the responsible drivers don't follow these kind of nonsense and try to educate others also. These are so much dangerous. The right way is if you are following a vehicle and want to overtake it just blow horn or flash light to inform him if he remains in left lane then you can go ahead and overtake him and if he himself going to overtake the vehicle he following he will indicate and will go to right lane and overtake during that time you should follow him from safe distance and try to be in your lane (left).Do not try to follow him when he is overtaking other vehicle. Wait for your turn. Be smart and be safe.
 
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Appear minor but very important point ( we had seen one fatality unfortunately). Left turning light is to indicate turn to left in city area but on highway it means you are going to right to overtake vehicle going in front of you. Similarly Right turning light is to indicate to turn right in city area but on highway it indicate you are allowing vehicle coming behind you to overtake you.
In such cases, I personally praise truck drivers for the way they take out their hand and indicate if we can pass or we need to stop based on their next maneuver. Not only this, they also take care if any other vehicle is coming in our way from opposite side and is not visible to us, in such case they indicate us to pass only when its safe for us too. How many other road users do take care of your safety too this way?
I have seen people ignoring their hand indications and then making narrow escapes, getting dents or causing minor jams.

Once my friend was going on 1+1 state highway at night. When his village came entour on highway, he give Right turning light to indicate he is turning right to enter village road, while car behind him understand he is inviting to overtake. So he take right turn & rear vehicle try overtaking him & there was serious accident. So conclusion is - often there comes turns to enter villages on highway. So rather relying only on turning light indicators, if you want to take turn - it is better to give indications by speeding down, of course turning lights, steering gestures & possibly open driver side window & waving hand - give sign whether you are turning or allowing rear driver to overtake ( or speed down, see IRVM/ORVM, allow any rear vehicle to pass by & the take turn). Similar, if some vehicle in front of you is showing right turning light, don't just accelerate & attempt overtake, first think & analyze any nearby turn where front vehicle might would like to take turn or front vehicle is decelerating to attempt right turn, if no such gestures, then speed up & overtake.
Two methods I believe are safe in such situations:
way.JPG

1) Stop and let other pass: Look into your ORVM and let the vehicle pass.
2) Indicate at least 100-200 meters before turning and start moving slowly towards the middle of the road leaving space on your left for the rear coming vehicle to pass. As represented by the green line in the picture.

DON'T: Stop, indicate and turn without looking back as shown by red line in the picture.
 
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Two methods I believe are safe in such situations:

1) Stop and let other pass: Look into your ORVM and let the vehicle pass.
2) Indicate at least 100-200 meters before turning and start moving slowly towards the middle of the road leaving space on your left for the rear coming vehicle to pass. As represented by the green line in the picture.

DON'T: Stop, indicate and turn without looking back as shown by red line in the picture.
That's why it is posted on highways - Better late than Never.
 
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Nice thread. Even I had been planning to write something like this, but now would be happy to add on to some beautiful thread. My experience is based on (first 23 years of life) travelling on highways for school and college as a passenger and observing others. The rest doing long drives myself.

The first thing I notice is that every tom dick and harry who thinks can steer well in city limits can drive on highwyas. Driving on highway is a different ball game all together. It needs more alertness, more patience, planning and controlling your urge of doing stud-giri. Indian roads have improved (in patches) and the cars have improved in leaps and bounds over the years, but one thing that has not changed is the mindset of people using Indian roads. For villages settled around the highways, they consider it as their backyard road and you plan to zoom on it.. Beware.. hell gates are near. Either you will get involved in an accident that may be fatal or else if by gods grace you survive the villagers will have a field day on you.
then there are idiots who drive the wrong way, dogs and cattle crossing the highways, a bike squeezing across at the last moment. So be alert and watch out.

Regarding how to drive, here are my 2 cents
1. Always prefer driving in day light and when you are alert. Carry enough liquids (hot / cold) or take breaks for refreshing. Never overload your stomach as you may feel sleepy.
2. Avoid driving in nights. reason is not your bad driving, but because people park on wrong sides, make sudden manouvers and all. This leaves you at a higher risk and lesser time to respond. Also people driving drunk is high during nights. You may fall for their tantrums on road.
3. Always blink eyes every 5 mins, as things start look stationary with tired eyes. If driving at night, use high beam low beam high beam combination every 5 mins, for the same reason. Doing this keeps eyes alert
4. Even you feel alright, take a break after say every 2 hours. Walk around your car, have a tea, wash your face. Something, but stop and step out of car. This also helps cooling the tires and the engine a bit. Remember a hot tire has more chances to burst, and a hotter engine is tired so reduces your mileage (my friends have debated on hot engine giving higher mileage, but i am a petrol head and my car behaves as this.. so)
5. Never tailgate. Always follow the 2 sec rule for any speed you travel. 2 sec rule is that for any particular point, if the vehicle in front crosses at "X" time, you should cross the same not before 2 sec of it
6. If driving on 1 side driving, drive in the middle lane, as anyone can step into the highway from either side at any instant. Driving in middle gives you that essential extra micro second to react
7. If driving on 2 ways highways, (our standard state highways) never go for overtaking near a village/town, near curves, or in a scenario where you are not able to have a view say 200-300 meters ahead of you. Plan your overtaking. Longer the vehicle to be overtaken, better should be the plan and timing of overtaking.
8. You car may support 140+ speeds, but on Indian highways always prefer to not exceed 80-100 kmph. You know you have a good car, but other localites and animals on road dont.
9. If possible always give hand signals. Idiots on roads are not that good with blinker and light signals. Highway signals are a bit different. A right indicator for instance means come overtake, but some think it is for turning right, and vice versa. Better safe and perfect.
10. On a 2 way highway (state highways), never drive on extreme left. The vehicle coming in front may eat up the rest of the road, pushing you down a drain. or else can also give a suggestion to the oncoming traffic that a overtake is possible. Drive on road, and give only enough way for the oncoming traffic to move smoothly. But be alert, as some idiot may still want to overtake and push you down the road. So be prepared.
11. Never let your tires leave the tar of the road at any speed >20. The road is unknown to you and you dont know when which pothole will sink your car and throw you out of the road.
12. Be it day or night, while overtaking a truck / bus which are regular on highways, use headlight flash followed by horn. Now there is a different way of flashing based on different length of vehicles. This comes with experience or observation. After 30+ years on highways still i find it difficult sometimes to convey my intentions to vehicle in front. my bad or else the driver ahead is the dreaded idiot.
13. Never drive a friends car / new car on highway just because you know driving. Drive cars which you are very familiar and comfortable with. High speed reactions require you to react without thinking. A different machine may not behave same as your set of wheels. Always talk to your machine. never push it
14. While driving on highways keep your racing instincts , revenge feelings at home before starting. idiots will come and tantalize you. but you are on highway either because of the love for it or because you need to reach somewhere, and in either scenario the idiots dont have a place in your schedule
15. Listen to soft songs, and cooling songs. A high noise or high volume songs unintentionally increases your heart rate and forces you to become aggressive on road. best is talk to your fellow passengers. It keeps you awake and alert.
16. Always slow down near approaching junctions or curves. You dont know what will pop out in the last instant.
17. Driving not only means looking ahead, but also involves keeping a tab on rear view mirror. Never keep anyone on tail. let the vehicle move ahead at first instance. And never follow a rashly driven vehicle. Never tailgate. And if you see a vehicle approaching too fast let it pass by. But if it is coming on your lane only, no need to change lane at last moment to give pass, as he may have committed himself to a maneuver much ahead at that speed, and your sudden lane change may cause in a crash
18. use lot of horn, while overtaking, while crossing a small village, while approaching diversions. And slow down as well (other than overtaking :P) in above scenarios
19. A dog crossing road with tail up will cross the road be what may. A dog with tail between legs may go anywhere. Cattle and pigs may not move, so the moment you see them come down to your 2nd gear.
20. Always give way to bigger vehicles. And never be around larger vehciles. the moment you see yourself between larger vehicles in your front / back/ side, try to get away from them as soon as possible. And till the time you are stuck there, use lot of horns. remember the truck behind you has a less powerful brake and will take longer distance to stop than you. So use brake cautiously and not suddenly.
21. Also never overtake a line of trucks going at a particular constant speed and try getting between two just because you had not planned the overtake properly, and you need to give way to oncoming traffic at last moment. You may get rear ended. (I have seen such an accident. I was following a long trailer as I was not getting a proper view for overtaking. A swift guy came and overtook me and next moment overtook the trailer. the moment after overtaking he realized that there is a bigggg pothole and he applied sudden brakes. To avoid rear ending, the trailer guy had to maneuver away and as a result fell of the road. He survived the accident, but the biggest irony was the swift guy was laughing at the accident and he didnt realize he had only caused it)
22. Never make turns at higher speed. You may understeer or oversteer. Always bring your speed down.

Use lot of signals, if possible hand signals. Be calm, overlook the idiots on road. remember someone is waiting for you at home, and for the others too for whom you are creating a havoc.
 
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19. A dog crossing road with tail up will cross the road be what may. A dog with tail between legs may go anywhere. Cattle and pigs may not move, so the moment you see them come down to your 2nd gear.
A very nice write up icecool. you have almost covered every detail .
But I liked the point 19. [:)] never heard of this trait of dogs.
 
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'Guys on the dual carriageways the situations are very much different than what we see on our 4-6 lane highways.'


A**dual carriageway is a class of highway*with*dual*for*traffic travelling in opposite directions*separated by acentral reservation
 
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Man, how come you aren't an Honored Member yet [;)]? Your contributions are great. Thanks for the article. I do not think I will be contributing my "2 cents" here [:)].

Thanks again,bud.
 
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19. A dog crossing road with tail up will cross the road be what may. A dog with tail between legs may go anywhere. Cattle and pigs may not move, so the moment you see them come down to your 2nd gear.
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Amazing tips. I want to add something to #19. If you see a cow or buffalo standing in middle of road, try to cross them from tail side. It is less likely they will take a sudden U Turn.

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It is true that indicators are used in city to indicate turns but in older days when there were only 2 lane or single lane highways, blinkers were used as pass signals. Time has changed and you we don't need to bother about oncoming traffic while overtaking but lot of people are still confused with blinker notification on highways. Some think it is for turning and some thinks that it is pass signals.

Every regions has their own unspoken laws. For example on Mumbai Pune e-way, cars stick to their lane and you can overtake them from any side, however story was very different in Vadodara - Gandhinagar e-way. Cars behind me kept flashing their head lights unless I went on left lane.

In Punjab and UP do not bully with trucks, cars. In Maharashtra do not overtake someone even if a biker is coming. There is always a fight for real estate no matter how much road tax you have paid.

In UK / USA, honking is near to offence, in India, no honking could be life threatening.

On a junction in western countries; let vehicle on your right pass first, left one will wait for you. In India, rely on your gut feeling and be ready to throttle or break with quickly changing situations. [lol]

A good driver is who don't rely on thumb rules and quickly adopt to regional spoken / unspoken laws.
 

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