Please find the 11th road traffic digest. In this digest we are considering the issue of ‘Dangerous Overtaking’, the second most important human error responsible for road accidents all over the world.
This is the second- most common human errorresponsible for accidents Owing to high speed and full accelerationduring overtaking, the chances of fatal accidentsare much greater.Please ponder over the following facts before overtaking - - -
1.The Need: First and foremost, do you really need toovertake the vehicle ahead? You must have observed that on highways mostvehicles run in clusters of different speeds. Some driverschoose to drive at a slower speed while others choose ahigher speed. So you may find clusters of vehicles atdifferent speed ranges, 30-40 km/hr, 50-60 km/hr or 80-90km/hr and so on. If you are moving at 80-85 km/hr, you are fully justifiedin overtaking a vehicle moving at 30-40km/hr or 50-60km/hr. However, it is not wise to overtake a vehicle movingin the same cluster [speed range].
For example, if you are moving at 80-85km/hr you will notgain much by overtaking a fellow vehicle driving by at 90km/hr except, perhaps an unexplained ego boost.Throughout the journey you will find that various vehiclesbelonging to the same cluster will keep on changing theirpositions and ultimately everyone will reach thedestination more or less at the same time. If you have unnecessarily overtaken such a vehiclethen just to maintain your lead you may have to driveunder stress to keep up. In such situations most driversfeel more comfortable in keeping behind some othervehicle.
If you have seen the fleet ofcars of a VIP, you must havenoticed that the VIPs car enjoysthe middle position and it is thepilot car that is the front runner!! www.tsunamionroads.org
2. Assess The Time: whether you have ample time toovertake or not. It is the difference between the speed of the twovehicles [yours and the one that you are going toovertake] that will determine how much time it will take toovertake. If the speed of vehicle ahead is much slower thanyours, it would take less time to overtake. On thecontrary, if you try to overtake a vehicle that is runningwith a speed closer to yours, it would take much moretime to overtake.
Remember It has been found that in amajority of cases the actual time requiredto overtake a vehicle is just the double ofwhat is estimated by driver !If another vehicle is coming from oppositedirection, judge whether you would beable to overtake without colliding. www.tsunamionroads.org
3. Assess the road:[A] Do you have aclean, straight visible patchof road without vehicles infront of you?[B] Whether the condition ofroad is good with nowater, mud, sand orpotholes, otherwise on applyingsudden brakes your vehicle mayskid.
Ignoring these facts may be disastrous in hilly areas ! www.tsunamionroads.org
4. Assess The Pick-up: Before trying to overtake another high speedvehicle, do check the pick-up of your vehicle, especially ifit is overloaded. It might land you in trouble in the midst ofovertaking. So dont be adventurous with a khatara, aramshackle vehicle.
5. Is the driver ahead aware of your intention toovertake him? Wait for him to give you a pass. Most of us becomeimpatient if other vehicles do not give us a pass. Someaggressive drivers forcibly try to overtake and frequentlymeet with an accident. Discreet judgment is verynecessary.
6. It is risky when you try to overtake forcefullymore than one vehicle in one go. If your attempt at overtaking all the vehicles isunsuccessful, then one of the drivers of vehicles that hasbeen just overtaken, has to create space to accommodateyour vehicle in front of him just to save you. Just imagine what would happen if there is a driver whois not the benevolent type and decides to teach you alesson by not accommodating your vehicle ! X
A similar kind of risk is there if you are overtaking alarge truck or lorry. www.tsunamionroads.org
While overtaking In India always remember twounexpected odds. One is Reverse lane driving and theother one is erratic road side parking of vehicles www.tsunamionroads.org
[A] Reverse lane driving Tractor When you drive on a divided highway, you feelrelaxed that at least you would not face a head oncollision. However, it does not hold true for Indian roads. It is surprising to know that incidences of head oncollisions is more or less the same in both divided andsingle lane highways [around 20%]. There are a number ofbyroads leaving or joining highways and vehicles fromthese side roads join highways from whichever directionthey please.
[B] Erratic parking on Roads : Parked Parked Truck car Irresponsibly parked vehicles on roads[trucks, tractors, cars, etc] are the cause of accidents in20-25% of cases on highways. Although two drivers are at fault here [one whowrongly parked and the second who rams into it] the onewho parks his vehicle in the wrong place appears to bemore at fault.
Do not peep out all of a sudden from behind thevehicle being overtaken as you may miss the vehiclethat is coming from the opposite direction. Instead startovertaking well before in such a case. www.tsunamionroads.org
This was about overtaking on high ways. Nowlet us see some interesting facts on overtakinginside the cities. www.tsunamionroads.org
Overtaking in Cities: In our country everyone seems to be in agreat hurry just like the drivers of a fire brigadeor ambulance. Regardless of whether space and conditions permitovertaking, people constantly ask for a pass by blowinghorns. They do not tolerate any delay and overtake in astrange fashion from any side. Quite frequently when youare preparing to give a pass to someone on your right,suddenly another vehicle zooms past from your left sideleaving you bewildered! www.tsunamionroads.org
They say everything is fair in love and war and nowin traffic, too it seems. Perhaps newer technologies will invent cars withwings so that drivers addicted to speeding andovertaking can vent out their frustration in situationswhere they do not get a pass and fly away! www.tsunamionroads.org
Sometimes in India if the vehicle behind you does notask for a pass, then you become suspicious and insteadof thinking that he may be a patient driver, you thinkotherwise, that it may be following you or maybeattempting to kidnap you or something equally sinister,because you are so prone to being pestered for a pass!You purposely slow down your vehicle to allow him toovertake to remove your suspicions. www.tsunamionroads.org
Now consider a situation when you need toovertake a vehicle ahead of you A like-minded driver, if a situation permits would nevercome in your way Sometimes people turn it into an ego problem, andfeel insulted if somebody overtakes them as if they havebeen labeled as poor or lazy drivers. Sometimes if asmaller vehicle, e.g. Maruti 800 wants to get ahead of anSUV, the driver of larger vehicle may feel extremelyslighted [how dare you!] and try to run fasterunnecessarily just to prove that he and his vehicle aresuperior. www.tsunamionroads.org
If you are in a party, having a gathering of culturedpeople, an expression, ‘excuse me’ is all that is needed tolet you pass through, and that, too, with a smile! However, that kind of response is missing on ourIndian roads. Different cultures or education, or probablythe lack of it on our roads may a factor for this. www.tsunamionroads.org
A Few Precautions While Overtaking Trucks :Some facts about Truck Drivers:1. Their thinking may be different, as they are moreconcerned with safety of the goods inside rather than thesafety of public on the road.2. Most of the trucks are overloaded and an imbalance ofsuch a heavy vehicle poses a real problem. Thus driversavoid taking a swift or acute turn suddenly if they aresupposed to do so to save someone. For the same reasonthey do not prefer to take the truck off road in suchsituations. www.tsunamionroads.org
3. Be Visible to Truck Drivers Truck drivers rely mainly on their mirrors and there aresome blind spots to them like on both the sides andimmediately behind the truck where truck driver cannotsee you. Stay slightly to the right of your lane, so you can beseen in the truck driver’s mirror. Never follow so closelythat a truck driver cannot see your vehicle in the mirror. Ifyou can’t see driver in mirror, the truck driver probablyalso cannot see you!www.tsunamionroads.org
4. Most trucks need a longer distance to stop. So if there is a truck behind you, signal your intentionswell before turning, slowing or stopping, so that truckdrivers behind you get more time to apply their brakes. When stopped, especially going uphill, a truck mayroll back farther than a car when a driver releases brakesand engages clutch. Leave at least a distance of one carlength between your vehicle and truck ahead while goinguphill. www.tsunamionroads.org
5. Since truck drivers have lesschances of being hurt in case of acollision, they have fewer inhibitionsin such situations.6. They frequently drink whiledriving. Surveys reveal that morethan 75% drivers consume alcoholduring driving7. It has been found that more than 60% drivers have fakedriving licenses. They are not properly trained and theirknowledge regarding traffic rules is extremely poor.
8. The educational status in truck drivers is very lowespecially in English. Drivers carrying freight have tomove frequently to different States in India, having theirown regional languages. That makes it difficult for truckdrivers to understand road signs. One of the uneducated truck drivers argued, that if inIndia an uneducated or angootha chhap person can beallowed to contest an election to run the entire countrythen why can’t he run a mere vehicle. Who will make thisdriver realize that politics may be a child’s or son’s playbut driving a vehicle is certainly a very responsible job ! www.tsunamionroads.org
Something good about Truck Drivers : So far as road manners on highways for overtaking areconcerned, many times truck drivers have been found betterthan the car drivers. It is quite possible that when you ask acar driver for a pass, just because of an ego he may not giveyou a pass for quite some time. If some how you push inwithout waiting for a pass, you probably may not find anamiable admittance. This is not so usually with truck drivers. Wheneverpossible, they allow you to overtake. Many a time you becomeimpatient if not given a pass by truck drivers and you forciblyovertake it and invariably you find a genuine reason for him tonot allow you to overtake and you will regret your decision.Moreover, till you get the pass, you can keep yourselfentertained by reading some very humorous, witty andinteresting one-liners and rhymes written at their backs.
Like this one“USE DIAPER AT NITE”This leads to an interestingproposition :Something like when emergencyoxygen masks of airplane that dropdown whenever there is low oxygentension - - - - - - probably in the same mannerthese diapers will drop down to thetruck-driver’s seat from top of cabinwhenever there is a poor visibilityallowing drivers to use themconveniently.
 These truck drivers cover their journey in terms of days orweeks as their trip requires freight to be transported to longdistances. This, along with the fact that speed might affect thebalance of loaded trucks, they are hardly ever in hurry onroads [but this does not hold true for the local carriers thatmove in and around the city]. While we, the drivers of cars and other motorized vehicles,even buses cover our journey in terms of hours or minutes.We are the ones who mostly drive in a desperate hurry. www.tsunamionroads.org
- - - in the next digest we will discuss some other‘human errors on roads’ , followed by ‘automobileand road defects’. After that we will take up therole of different agencies to control this malady[like the role of citizens, trafficauthorities, automobile companies, public worksdepts., health dept. , themedia, parents, NGOs, etc in this scenario. www.tsunamionroads.org
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In future, besides road accidents, the following topics will alsobe discussed on this platform :• How to decongest our cities• Vehicle induced environmental pollution• Arrogance on Roads: Aggressive driving and Road rage• Public Attitude towards traffic rules in the City• Problems of pedestrians• Road traffic and global warming• The economics of vehicles• Petroleum Subsidy: Right or Wrong?• Biography of urban roads in India• Traffic Policeman: Problems & Challenges• Drinking & Driving