Guidelines & Tips for Safe Long Drives

Preparations before the journey

1. ) Vehicle Check Up:

I will skip the regular check tyre pressure, engine tune up, electricals check up stuff which all of us know.

2. ) Get a Good Map

There are various maps & map books available, ideally get map book which will have all the states map which can be used for all of your future journeys & a big map of the state to\thru which you will be going\passing. the map books give you quick reference & an approx distance while the detailed big map will give you more details & almost accurate distances between various destinations. If possible mark your way i.e. the one which you have decided to go with a marker for easy reading while traveling. they sometime also have location of fuel pumps & eat out places (state tourism restaurants) which again can be marked. One such good map books is by 'ttk'

3. ) Schedule your journey:

Yeah using the map schedule your days of journey how much you would be traveling in a day & where will you be putting at nights. You must schedule it in such a manner that you always reach a place where you can lodge (preferably a city) before your sleeping time i.e. avoid being mid way at nights you must be near towns at night.

Stuff to  carry?

1) A long nylon rope:

It will be needed for toeing your or sum1 else's vehicle in case of a brake down, or even for tying any extra baggage you might have acquired during the journey. You must have approx. 20 feet of nylon rope so that it can be doubled for more strength.

2) A pack of engine oil & coolant:

These two are the most probable components which you may run out of in a journey or you may not found the one you use regularly

4) Additional tyre tube:

In case of puncture in an area where you may find a puncture wallah who doesn't have proper sealant for repairing the puncture or if you are in hurry.

5) An air pressure gauge & if possible a foot air pump:

Again very important for obvious reasons

6) Extra toolkit i.e. the one besides the standard ones:

The basic toolkit in cars do not suffice for various problems which crop out from nowhere during a long journey. Also it will be good if you carry small pieces of cloth for washing the vehicle etc. they can also be used to damp the vibration caused by various tools kept in the boot.

7) Some Turmeric powder pouches:

Now most of you must be thinking "carrying Turmeric & chilli powder pouches this is ridiculous, is he mad" Now hold your horses & let me explain in case of an accident where you radiator breaks or develops a leakage put some turmeric powder in the radiator it will act as a sealant. remember its only for cracks & not on breakdown of the radiator

8) A rod steering lock:

May or may not be required but gives an additional protection since your number plates invites thieves (they tell the people you are not a localite)

9) Music:

Try to have cds\ cassettes of those songs which do not induce you to sleep & which keep you active. Try not blasting music in areas where you will be putting up coz this way you will tell the thieves you have got something of their interest

10) Duplicate Keys:

Always carry these & don’t keep it in suitcases or in bags which are kept in the car while you leave it for snacks etc, it should be with sum one other than the driver just case the driver forgets the keys inside the vehicle.

11) Mobile phone with roaming facility:

Helpful in contacting any one in case of distress

12) Some Weapons of small destruction:

This is again very important if you are covering a patch which is dacoit prone ( yes there are some patches like these in states like MP & UP wherein you have to move in convoys at night under police protection) so the thing which u should carry along with you could be

- Small chilli powder pouches to throw in attacker’s eyes or some chilli spray etc
- a lathi or preferably an iron rod ( not big just a feet or two long with a bent sharp edge)
- a gun only if you have a license

Remember all of this must be reachable at the time of an emergency I mean rod in the boot won’t be of any help, keep it preferably in the gloves compartment & the rods by your seat's side i.e. between the door & your seat.

Tip: In case you are in a convoy at night try to drive between two trucks & that too which are together ( check there no plates & overall looks, most of the time you will find trucks from same transport company going together). The reason being they will be together & will be riding at constant speed & will help in hiding you from a direct view also the dacoits very rarely loot the trucks ( nothing for them) & the truck don’t stop come what may. & once you feel that you’re out of the danger zone you can just overtake the front truck & zoom ahead

See Also : How to tune a car engine

On the Road

1) Follow the signs: Very important especially in case of road diversions.

2) Driving at Nights:  As said try driving at night only on the roads known to you( by that I mean where you have been before). Driving at night has its own advantages & disadvantages here they are


- Engine at its best less heating hence can be revved more so less time more distance
- Minimum number of two wheelers & bullock karts, again less time more distance
- Good signaling with headlights without honking, you know whose coming & who’s behind you


- Most dreaded you may fall asleep
- May miss important road signs & end up at an altogether different location
- May hit pedestrians or vehicles which do not have proper indicators or reflectors
- Very dangerous in dacoit prone zones

So decide accordingly

3) Clean all the mirrors & glasses regularly: try to make it a point of washing all the mirrors(rear view) & the front & rear windshields every time you halt & especially before it gets dark.

Washing tips: Always dry the glasses after washing by a paper & preferably a news paper as the print ink acts as polish for the glass & they don’t leave water marks like cloths.

4) Take proper halts: It’s necessary to give both the vehicle & your self regular break, you’re not on a racing circuit so enjoy the scenery on the way & make your trip more memorable

5) Keep checking the fuel level:Very important check fuel level & refuel it as & when possible unlike in city where you fill up at 'E' mark, also keep asking people how long is the next fuel station.

6) Use proper signaling:The signaling on the highways is in way or the other different than that in city.

Some of the signaling techniques used on highway

a) Most of the bus\truck drivers who are going at constant speeds keep their right indicator blinking, this means that the person from behind may not need to honk & can simply overtake that bus\truck

b) Never overtake any vehicle without getting a clear signal from him the signal could be either a right go ahead signal or a right indicator, he may also ask you not to overtake & that could be due to various reasons such as an oncoming vehicle, he might himself be trying to overtake a vehicle in front of it

c) After overtaking try to give a left indicator if you are going back to the left most lane this is necessary specially in those cases where your overtaking a vehicle & the oncoming vehicle is nearing you fast.

d) An exemption to point b could be that sometimes when you can see that there is no oncoming traffic & the vehicle in front of you is not giving you any pass signal to go ahead, you can safely overtake it as he may not be giving signal due to no oncoming traffic

e) Use headlight pass switch for overtaking & also for stopping or slowing an oncoming vehicle which is overtaking & you feel is coming direct towards you

f) Use proper high or low beam while driving

g) You may keep your headlights on in daytime if you are on a road where you have to overtake frequently

h) Do not honk unnecessarily if the vehicle in front of you gets pissed then he may not let you overtake.

7) Maintain a trip log: Again good for cherishing the memories & very helpful for future journeys & can be used as reference by you as well as others, the thing that can be recorded are

- Fueling at respective odo readings ( will help in finding cost per Km or mileage)
- Places to eat, refuel & watch out for beautiful sceneries
- Road condition on different patches
- No of national highways covered.
- Time taken between various destinations & for the whole journey

Source :

See Also : 

How to tune a car engine

Is Idling Good or Bad for your engine? Myth vs Reality

10 Important Tire Buying Tips

How to Find and Fix Air Leaks in your Tubeless Tires

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