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.

We reached Rameshwaram quite late. Night driving in Rameshwaram island was fun. This is the end of highway which ends in front of Ramanatheshwara temple in the ocean.

Preparation

  1. Plan to reach the destination before 11pm or after 5 am speially if you are not driving back to home
  2. 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
  3. Carry enough potable water
  4. Carry enough music and light food
  5. If you are driving alone then music is must
  6. Learn to change the tyre and other minimal repair stuff
  7. Carry torch


Some small towns wake up very early. Sri Rangam, Tamilnadu.

While driving

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Give way to vehicles climbing up and use low beam ( you can use fog lamps if req)
  4. Use night mirror
  5. Keep the windshield clean
  6. Keep the seat backrest straight
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Don’t try to speed, enjoy the drive and conversation.
  10. Drive slowly first 50kms and last 50kms. Most of the accidents occur during this period
  11. 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
  12. On national highways you can take break once in every 200kms (approx 3 hours)
  13. 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
  14. Drive cautiously when you pass through cities or villages specially between 6pm to 9pm
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Avoid overtaking from left. Its only private buses and cars who have disappointed me. Most of the professional drives give you way
  18. 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
  19. Give way. There are better drivers and professionals on the road. Indicate them to over take when its safe to overtake
This is on pamban bridge. A bus zipping on the bridge.

Driving in reserved forests

  1. Do not stop or take a break inside reserved forests. It is dangerous and most of the times its illegal
  2. Its good to follow ahead a public transport bus. Its simple make sure bus is visible in the mirror (follow ahead)
  3. 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

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9 Responses

  1. Good tips, but having driven in the night in India and in the US, my advice would be to stay away from night driving. Night is for resting and sleeping, and you don’t really save anything by doing a night drive except may be the heat in summer. It is an unnecessary risk especially on undivided highways on our roads. Instead start early and reach your destination before noon.

  2. sandeep says:

    Spot on … Thejesh. Covers pretty much everything.

    May be I would give more emphasis on honking less and using the lights more

  3. Ashly says:

    Good & useful post. My few cents :

    1. Get an eyewear with anti-reflective coating.
    2. Have coffee ( I love to have strong black coffee/Espresso Americano.)
    3. Get a Gulf Inflates and Repair. This would be handy, if you have a flat tire in the middle of a forest @mid night. You don’t have to change the tire.
    4. AVOIDE KERALA FOR NIGHT DRIVES

  4. Very good article. Not many haven’t talked about this and this is special when it comes from a person, with real experiences !

    @Ashly
    “4. AVOIDE KERALA FOR NIGHT DRIVES”
    Ha Ha. Justifiable as you never know when you’re gonna bump into something !

  5. Thejesh GN says:

    Sujit sent some tips by mail after reading this post
    1. Carry a medical first aid kit
    2. make sure spare and jack is in working condition.

    Thanks for the tips Sujit.

  6. George says:

    An extensive and useful list.Really covers all areas well.Good job.

  7. hariharan says:

    Nice tips…thx for sharing

  8. Palak Mathur says:

    Liked the tips. Driving can be fun if done carefully and pain if one shows carelessness. While driving think others are fool and drive safely. Don’t think that the others will try to avoid an accident. Maintain it yourself.

  1. January 4, 2010

    […] the initial plan was to use it only inside the city, I have done many long drives and including whole night drives without any problem. I haven’t faced any problem on highway or inside the city. Its been […]

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