Nothing beats a long drive on a highway, leaving behind all the worries and traffic. But, the long drive away from worries becomes a worrying fact for some.
The primary reason so is because of lack of preparation or experience. Here are 10 important tips to keep in mind while you plan a long highway drive.
1. Essentials Check
Step one and the most important — carry or make sure you pack all the essentials like your driver's licence, vehicle insurance, road tax, pollution certificate, vehicle tools, spare wheel, and the car's owner's manual. Also, ensure you have tanked up the vehicle, checked the tyre pressure, and your phone has a fully charged battery. Never plan for a long highway trip at night.
2. Speed Limit
Do a small research, or get to know the route you are taking for the particular trip. Once you have decided the route, make sure you stay within the speed limit. Overspeeding may lead to the police issuing a ticket, impounding the vehicle, or worse — crashing. Stick to the speed limit and it does not matter if you reach one hour late.
3. Watch Out For Trucks
Trucks are still the primary mode of hauling goods from one end of the country to the other and truck drivers often drive long distance without enough sleep. Keep your eyes peeled and concentrate because if one truck manages to lose control and comes your way, your enjoyable trip could come to a stop.
4. Stick To Your Lane
Highways have marked lanes to ensure vehicles follow the right one. The left lane is for slow moving traffic and the right lane is to overtake. Do not overspeed on the left lane or drive slow on the right lane. Also, do not zigzag your way through lanes, which could confuse other road users. Stick to the correct lane according to your speed.
5. Unmarked Speed Breakers
There are a lot of highways in India that have speed breakers at the least expected places, and sometimes they are unmarked. Keep an eye out for it because you might lose control of your vehicle if you hit a speed breaker too fast. Chances are that you could end up on the wrong side of the road or even topple the vehicle, both of which are dangerous.
6. Read The Road Signs
Most highways have clear road signs — read them well. This will help you be aware of upcoming narrow sections, road work, bridges, railway crossings, uphill, downhill, or even a left. As simple as ‘read the sign' sounds, the safer your trip ahead will be.
7. Taming The Twisties
If the road you have chosen to take has winding (ghat) roads, slow down. Keep to your left, maintain a healthy pace, and do not overtake around a corner. If a vehicle from behind wants to overtake, let him go, but signal out to him to wait till after the corner.
Always remember to give way to vehicles coming uphill and if there is a heavy vehicle negotiating a hairpin bend, stop and let the vehicle finish before you proceed.
Feeling sleepy or tired are signs of a human body being healthy. If you feel sleepy or tired, pull up at a coffee shop for a quick refreshment, or stop safely at the side of the road and get out of your vehicle for some fresh air.
One way you can avoid being drowsy is to have good sleep the night before. If situation is such that your are too sleepy, pull over safely and take a powernap. Do not continue to drive if you are tired or sleepy.
9. Breakdowns And The Art Of Dealing With It
Breakdowns are part of the journey if you like it or not. One way to avoid it is to service your vehicle at the right intervals. The other way is to learn basic repairs such as changing a flat tyre or replacing a blown fuse.
If the breakdown is beyond your capacity, pull over safely, turn on the hazard warning lights, call for roadside assistance and wait. Also, every vehicle is equipped with a reflective warning triangle, place it on the road where it is safe, yet visible to other motorists.
10. Keep Calm
Road rage is a common killer, which leads to accidents. Since over 40 percent of highways in India are not properly laid, road users tend to get aggressive or irritated. Keep calm and do not get carried away when another driver gets abusive, just drive away calmly.