Tips for Long Night Drive
I love to drive in the night. But night drives are not for everybody. If you like driving and if you enjoy conversation/music then its the best you can have. Its mostly peaceful and there will be more professionals on the road so you just have to follow the rules. Night driving in India is much more eventful and fun than in US of A or for that matter in any western countries.
Since it is more eventful you need to be more careful too. Here are my tips for it. Before you try your first long night drive. Make sure you have done at least 5 thousand kms day drive. You should have done at least couple of 300+kms drives during the day.
Since you are not a professional driver love for driving and experience of night outs helps.
- Plan to reach the destination before 11pm or after 5 am speially if you are not driving back to home
- Make sure your petrol tank is full. In some of the state high-ways you need to literally drive hundreds of kilometers before you reach a bunk. There are very few 24/7 petrol bunks. Most of them close before midnight. So fill the tank as and when you think you need
- Carry enough potable water
- Carry enough music and light food
- If you are driving alone then music is must
- Learn to change the tyre and other minimal repair stuff
- Carry torch
Some small towns wake up very early. Sri Rangam, Tamilnadu.
- Keep the driver side window open but make sure it covers side mirror. Wind keeps you awake and raised glass reduces the glare from side mirror
- Try to drive in low bean ( do bean adjustment). If not reduce to low beam when there is traffic from opposite side. This is very important on state highways and local roads
- Give way to vehicles climbing up and use low beam ( you can use fog lamps if req)
- Use night mirror
- Keep the windshield clean
- Keep the seat backrest straight
- Its good to have somebody to talk to. But sometimes I end up driving alone or with everybody sleeping. So music is much required. Play soothing but not sleepy music
- Most of the state highways are two ways. Try to avoid looking into the opposite headlamps. Try to be on the left edge of the road and drive concentrating on the left side of the road
- Don’t try to speed, enjoy the drive and conversation.
- Drive slowly first 50kms and last 50kms. Most of the accidents occur during this period
- When on state highways try to take a break every 120kms (approx 3 hours). This gives enough rest to your eyes. You can take coffee, tea or water if you like
- On national highways you can take break once in every 200kms (approx 3 hours)
- Average speed of 50kmph-60kmph is very good in night. Top speed of 80kmph on state roads and 100kmph on national highways is very good. Dont try to speed, enjoy the drive and conversation
- Drive cautiously when you pass through cities or villages specially between 6pm to 9pm
- Driving in early mornings (3am to 6am) is of different league. If you are starting at this time then its cool. But if you have already driven for about 5 hours then its tough. Reduce the speed and take more frequent breaks
- I avoid ring road if there is not much traffic due to safety reasons. I usually follow inter-state/district buses when I enter the city
- Avoid overtaking from left. Its only private buses and cars who have disappointed me. Most of the professional drives give you way
- Be doubbly careful while overtaking on state highways. Most of the drives will give you way/hint you when its safe to overtake. Just flash once (rarely you need to honk once) to let them know you need way
- Give way. There are better drivers and professionals on the road. Indicate them to over take when its safe to overtake
Driving in reserved forests
- Do not stop or take a break inside reserved forests. It is dangerous and most of the times its illegal
- Its good to follow ahead a public transport bus. Its simple make sure bus is visible in the mirror (follow ahead)
- In Karnataka and Kerala you will find elephants resting on the road. I met one on my drive back from Coorg. I usually dim the head lights and wait for it. Never honk or get down from car