It’s a popular notion that women are bad drivers/riders with absolutely no direction sense whatsoever and that machines, automobiles in particular and women are like a square peg in a round hole! I do agree with the former but not entirely. Yes, there are quite a few women out there whose direction sense is challenged and they should never be allowed behind the wheels of a car, but then there are also those who are so proficient with automobiles that they’ll put the skills of men to shame. Why am I talking about this? Because I am a woman who on many occasions has left men tasting dust with my motoring skills and I would like to share my experiences and tips with you as well. I hope through this column you can better you automotive knowledge and your motoring skills as well. So here we go.
Choose what lane to be in depending on your speed
Most women especially when driving slow prefer staying in the right lane. Now sisters, the right lane is the fast lane, if you want to drive/ride at your comfortable pace stay on the extreme left and NOT right. And it’s not just women but there are plenty of men out there who make the same error of staying in the right lane at super slow speeds. We can’t blame them entirely as most driving schools don’t really bother teaching your lane discipline and most RTO’s don’t really care about asking such questions during the driving license tests. The fact that it’s extremely easy to get a driving license just adds to the ignorance of teaching newbie drivers lane discipline.
Indicate in advance and not at the last minute
How many times have we come across people who will turn on the indicator at the last minute making you halt abruptly if you’re trailing them too close. This is dangerous. There are quite a few out there who simply ignore to acknowledge the fact that indicators are present on automobiles for a reason. Use them, don’t just simply wave your hand for a nano second and think the person behind may have noticed and that it is sufficient indication. One should ideally start indicating 10 meters before they take a turn and yes indicators are applicable even while changing lanes. Don’t just randomly make up your mind that “Ok, I’m tired of driving in this lane, now let’s shift to the other one”. No. Sudden lane changing is extremely dangerous for you as well as people behind you - so don’t ever do it.
Give the high-beam a break
Did you know driving on high-beam within city limits is a legal offence? Yes it is. Under the Delhi Motor Vehicles Act “Driver of a motor vehicle shall at all times, when the lights of the vehicle are in use, so manipulate them that danger or undue convenience is not caused to any person by dazzle." Which simply means one cannot use high-beams in the city as it blinds the drivers in the oncoming direction and since in city the speed limits are relatively less than that on the highway it tends to affect the oncoming traffic more. High beams can be used on highways with no streetlight. Which, well to be honest is fair, because most highways and expressways in the country do not have street lights.
Overtake from the right
How many times have you had someone suddenly overtake you from the left leaving you baffled and at times scared? This is pretty much the case when you have a vehicle larger than yours surpassing you from the left. Have you imagined doing this to someone else? Feels pretty ridiculous doesn’t it? Yes, exactly to avoid this, one must ALWAYS overtake from the right and NEVER from the left side of any vehicles. This is one of the biggest causes of road accidents in our country. So please keep in mind, no matter how much the driver ahead irritates you and doesn’t give you way, honk if need be to make them move but don’t rashly overtake from the right.
Use rear view mirrors
There is a reason why manufacturers fitted rear view mirrors on vehicles, so that you can see what is coming from behind and avoid being in its’ path. Rear view mirrors are most useful when one needs to change lanes. Sometimes especially at night it gets difficult to use rear view mirrors if the person behind you is using high-beam, but that doesn’t mean you don’t use mirrors at all. I’ve seen a lot of people who fold mirrors on their motorcycles and scooters citing excuses that it makes parking difficult. Yes, if you’re parking in tight spaces, you need to fold the mirrors but at the point is okay, because the vehicle is stationary, but once you’re on the road, unfold the mirrors and use them. There is a reason why they have existed all this while. It’s not there just for the heck of it. I’ve observed people driving cars too with their mirrors folded. It’s foolish. Please do not do this. You’re just being a hazard for other and for yourself. Image your rear view mirrors are folded, you have no clue if there is a vehicle behind you and without showing any indication you decide to change lanes and suddenly a vehicle comes hits you. Be it a car or a motorcycle the end result will be disastrous or even fatal. So you know there is so much emphasis on indicators and rear view mirrors.
If one decides to follow these basics it’s assured that your driving experience along with that of fellow motorists will be a pleasurable one. And if every Indian driving on the road follows these rules, then we really won’t have any road rage issues, which our country is famous for. This may also contribute to reducing the number of road accidents that occur in our country, hopefully bringing down its ranking as the country the most number of road accidents and fatalities. Think about it.