Road Safety: Unwritten Driving Etiquette

By Tushaar Singh Gill | on September 2, 2017

We bring you some unwritten driving etiquette that’ll surely help make our roads a better place.

We Indians possess a strong tendency to take the road for granted. The country’s poor law execution, and consequently, our instinctive ignorance towards the specified norms - have always contributed to Indian roads being notorious for casualties. However, just complaining won't make roads a safer place - there is a lot that needs to be done on the driver’s behalf.

Park properly

Granted, the Indian road infrastructure lacks sufficient parking spots - and that can make it hard for the growing vehicle penetration to find a proper spot to rest. However, that should not motivate you to park wherever you like. Make sure your chosen parking spot does not obstruct the ongoing traffic flow. It's always advisable to resist the urge to park ‘just for five minutes’ in unsuitable places.

If, in an unpleasant development, your vehicle has broken down - make sure to push it to the far left of the road, or on the hard shoulder - and immediately call for assistance. Leaving your vehicle stranded on the right side of the road is not legal.

Merge cautiously

Merging onto a highway without assessing the ongoing traffic is one of the leading reasons for highway casualties - and this aspect must not be taken lightly. Again, most of our roads do not necessarily possess the apt designs for safe merging - and this puts even more responsibility on driver’s shoulders.

Always judge your entry and carefully assess the speed of on going cars before merging onto a highway. Merge only when the vehicle behind you is reasonably far away - and isn’t progressing at a rapid pace. It's always advisable to merge onto the left-most lane - as it is supposed to consist of slower going cars. Also, carefully analyse the on going traffic before making a U-turn on a highway.

Know your lane

To begin with, always follow the simple rule - the right lane is only for fast moving vehicles and overtaking. If you prefer to drive slow, always be on the left lane to avoid confusion.

Also, abruptly switching lanes can overwhelm drivers on your sides - and even the ones following you. So, always use indicators, and check ORVMs, and blind spots before switching lanes.

Maintain safe distance

Tailgating is an increasingly dangerous issue. Always practice the habit of maintaining at least a car’s length from the vehicle in front. Otherwise, you are likely to remain vulnerable to a multi-vehicle pile-up incase of an emergency braking.

Remember - the higher your speed, and the heavier your car - the longer will be your stopping distance. Also, always check mirrors to gauge the distance of the following vehicle.

In your limits

The speed limit on a road is there for a reason - it's set as per the road’s quality, construction, and condition in reference to how much speed and load the road can handle. Let’s face it - India is nowhere close to having the finest quality roads - so, the temptation to keep depressing the throttle, is best resisted. Over speeding contributes to a major chunk of road accidents in India.

Hang up

It's understandable if your smartphone is an inseparable part of yours - we’re living in a connected world after all. However - be warned that your smartphone is also a criminal on road. In all circumstances, it would distract you, and force you to take your eyes off the road. Remember, road conditions change with the blink of an eye - and such a distraction may be fatal.

In the event of an important phone call - pull over safely and only then take the call. Also, latest cars come equipped with fully connected infotainment systems - always utilise it if your car has one. If you have an older car and still receive loads of important calls - then its advisable to invest in an aftermarket hands free system - it won’t cost more than your life.

Don’t be drunk

This one has been repeatedly said since forever - but sadly, our country still has an uncomfortably high drunk driving related accident rate. Alcohol impairs your vision and senses - and absolutely no one is immune to it. The sooner we understand it, the better. Avoiding drunk driving is paramount for road safety.

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