It is a well-known fact that the driving experience on Indian roads can range from extremely irritating to very traumatic. Driving violations are a common occurrence in India. Breaking signals and over speeding has become commonplace. Under these circumstances, let's go over a few basic rules to keep you and your family safe while travelling.
Car Maintenance and Safety
Keeping your car in good shape is essential to your safety. If a crucial part of the car fails while the car is in motion, the result may be catastrophic. It is important that you send your car in for servicing regularly. Test-drive your car after the servicing session to make sure that everything is in order.
Safety Tips While Driving
1) Before you begin your journey, check the tires for wear and tear. Also check the indicator lights, brake lights, headlights, etc. to see if they are working. Check the dashboard to see if any warning lights are lit.
2) Always ensure that there is enough fuel in your car.
3) Before you start your car, make sure your gear stick is set to 'Neutral'.
4) Pay attention to any odours or burning smells in the car, while driving.
5) Always use seat-belts. Indians generally prefer to drive without the seat-belt on, but doing this only endangers your life and the lives of your family.
6) While driving, make sure you use indicators each time you make a turn.
7) If you decide to stop at the side of a road, use the parking lights
8) Observe lane discipline. Do not alternate between different lanes of a road. And stick to the appropriate lane for your vehicle's speed.
9) Follow speed limits. These limits are set by the government for your safety.
10) Always pay attention to road signs. Road signs can tell you about things like potholes, speed
breakers, detours, directions and other critical information. It is not uncommon for road signs to be missing, so make sure you pay attention to the road ahead at all times.
11) Always keep a spare tire in your car. Also ensure you have a first-aid kit and basic tools in your car.
12) Always brake well in advance. Braking at the last moment is risky because your car may skid or not slow down quick enough.
13) Be extremely patient while driving on hills or difficult terrain. Do not drive your car on a surface it cannot handle.
14) Never leave your keys in the car, especially if there are children travelling with you.
15) Never talk on the phone while driving.
16) Never leave children unattended in your vehicle.
17) Never drink and drive.
18) Concentrate on the road and do not get distracted by cellphones, food, co-passengers, music etc. Also do not let distractions along the route affect your concentration.
Safe Driving Under Extreme Weather Conditions
Driving techniques and dynamics are different for extreme weather conditions. Let's see how safety tips vary for different climatic conditions.
Driving Safely in the Monsoon:
1) Drive slowly in the monsoon. You should also make turns at a slower speed because wet roads can make your vehicle skid. This happens because your tires lose traction in the rains.
2) Brake earlier than you would in dry weather. This is because the braking equipment in your car generally responds slowly in wet weather.
3) Do not attempt to cross areas which are water-logged. Only some high performance vehicles can successfully cross these areas.
4) Do not stay in the car if your vehicle gets stuck in a water-logged area. If you get stuck in a puddle or pothole, rising water around your car may pose a threat to your safety. Deep water can cause a failure in the electric system of your car, making it very difficult to get out of the car later. It is possible that this electrical failure may make it impossible to open doors and windows.
5) Always keep a rod or a crow-bar in your car, in case you need to break open a window to get out. Water rises quickly in some areas, in which case it would be convenient to have a rod handy.
Driving Safely in Foggy Weather:
1) Use your vehicle's fog lights if there is thick fog in the area you are driving through.
2) Always keep enough distance between you and the vehicle in front.
3) Preferably avoid driving behind trucks or buses as they could brake suddenly.
4) Use the defog function to clear the moisture from your windshield.
Driving Safely in Warm Weather:
1) Set the tire pressure as recommended by your car manufacturer. And keep checking tire pressure regularly.
2) Take adequate breaks on long journeys in summer. This lets your vehicle's engine and tires cool down.
3) Ensure there is adequate water in the radiator. This applies to other engine fluids as well.
4) Always park in the shade, as this keeps your engine and tires cool.
5) Never leave inflammable items inside the car, like deodorants, alcohol, etc.
Following these tips should ensure that you and your family always have a safe journey. And following these rules will make it safer not only for you but also for your fellow motorists.