How to Drive Safely on Highways
According to the MORTH Report of 2019, India witnessed an average of 51 accidents and 17 deaths per hour and 1,230 accidents, and 414 deaths per day! While the numbers are alarming, they are a marginal relief from the previous data as instances of road accidents have decreased by 3.86%.
The possible explanations for this declining trend can be attributed to the newly implemented Motor Vehicle Amendment Act (2019), increasing awareness surrounding road safety, and integration of technologies like Smart Tyres, Vehicle GPS, etc. And to incentivize this changing attitude, the Government inaugurated the National Road Safety Month on 18th January 2021, with the theme Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha.
Tips on Driving Safely on Highways
Mr Treel wishes to continue kindling the spirit of road safety, so here are some tips on driving safely on highways:
Tip #1: Stick to a Consistent Speed
The empty roads and the thrill of adventure can cause one to floor the accelerator on highways. However, staying within the speed limits is critical to your safety. Overspeeding could expose you to threats ranging from loss of control to tyre bursts to rollovers.
In fact, one should not merely consider the designated speed limit as a benchmark as you would have to slow down your vehicle due to external factors like road type, weather conditions, presence of unmarked speed breakers, etc.
Tip #2: Maintain Safe Distance Between Vehicles
Mr Treel recommends that you follow the 3-second rule to mitigate the damaging effects of unpredictable highway traffic. By this rule, take a stationary object on the route and count the seconds elapsed between the point where the vehicle in front of you crosses the point, and you cross the point. In this manner, you can prevent sudden lane changes, stopping, etc., and avoid accidents in this process.
Maintaining this distance becomes all the more important at night or driving under rainy or foggy conditions.
Tip #3: Be Mindful of Overtaking
The left lane of the highway is earmarked for slow-moving vehicles while the right one is for overtaking. Accordingly, you should stick to the lane, depending on your vehicular speed. That being said, practice care while overtaking other vehicles as judgment or spatial errors contribute a majority of highway mishaps.
Mr TREEL has this 6-step guide for overtaking:
- Maintain a safe distance to ensure visibility.
- Check the rear and wing mirrors.
- Use your indicators to signal the intent to overtake. You can also honk and flash your headlights.
- Accelerate your vehicle assertively. Continue to check your mirrors while doing so.
- Overtake the vehicle while maintaining a safe margin.
- Once the car you overtook is entirely visible in your mirror, ease back into the lane.
Tip #4: Make Occasional Pit Stops
Highway rides are generally long and tiring. And for this reason, it is essential to take breaks every now and then. Ensure that you are well-rested and well-fed, a safe picnic or a quick nap in a safe spot can go a long way in making your journey secure. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights!
While non-stop driving is unsafe for the driver and passengers, it is also unsafe for the vehicle itself. Go beyond dials and gauges and monitor your vehicle health through sensor-based car and tyre care apps to ensure maximum safety.
Tip #5: Maintain Vehicular Health
One of the first and most important tip on staying safe on the highway starts even before you step on it – proactive vehicular inspection. Carry out a thorough pre-drive check on the brakes, tyres/smart tyres, engine, battery, etc. Ensure that the vehicle GPS is accurately calibrated.
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If you have devices like wireless TPMS, you can even check the tyre’s health in real-time through tyre care apps like TREEL.
Once you have taken care of the above considerations, it is only a matter of skillfully navigating through the highways. Stay calm and vigilant, and enjoy the journey!