Friday, November 24, 2006

A driver's instincts

Driver’s Instincts

In this post I’ll tell you something about driver’s instincts.

Few of us enjoy driving while most of us prefer to sit in the back seat. In present Indian roads driving isn’t much of a pleasure; hence many prefer to avoid it.

If you’re a driver, you’ll learn lots of things other than just how to drive your vehicle.

Here are some of them.

1. A driver might not have studied vectors at school or might not have much knowledge on laws of motion. But if someone is crossing the road, driver’s mind works faster than a super computer and by analyzing the direction and speed of the moving object the driver will determine whether he can proceed with present speed, or should he slow down.

2. Driving is one job where one can take hundreds of independent decisions every minute, however small it is. Every second driver has to decide-should he speed up or slow down, when to change the lane, when to use horn, indicator, to overtake or not to over take, should he ignore the cop who’s trying to stop him or should he pull over. You don’t get to take so many decisions in any other job!

3. A driver knows exactly how many milliseconds he can afford to spend on “Something beautiful” on the roadside.

By observing for few seconds how the other vehicle is run a professional driver can come to a conclusion about the other driver-is that driver skilled and professional? Is he rash and negligent and may make some unpredictable move? Is he amateur and needs some consideration.

Good drivers will have good memory-One should be able to remember the route between two places after first journey. If you keep asking how to go to a place again and again, you can’t be a good driver.

If you’re using same vehicle since long time, you might have noticed that your vehicle and your body get synchronized. Your hands and legs respond to a situation before the brain issues a specific command to that effect. This helps you develop a strong emotional bond with your vehicle and is mutually beneficial.

Why accidents happen?

Youngsters are often blamed for driving at high speed. Speeding is not wrong, provided the driver maintains the safe braking distance (SBD). The safe braking distance is the distance traveled between the time driver senses a danger (and applies brake) and the vehicle is brought to complete halt. Safe Braking Distance varies depending on the speed, speed of vehicles in front of and behind you, nature of road surface,available vision and braking abilities of the vehicle. SBD needs to be maintained both between the vehicle in front of you and the vehicle behind you. If you don’t maintain SBD you won’t be able to stop the vehicle in time, hence accidents happen. Simple.

Universally known, a driver shouldn’t be under the influence of alcohol, as it reduces judgment abilities and vision.

Similarly avoid driving if you’re not in sound state of mind. If you had a heated argument with your boss or a fight with your wife, driving with a disturbed state of mind can be fatal.

Failure to anticipate disaster and being in a state of unpreparedness:
Drivers should always keep an eye open for potential dangers. He/She should keep himself/herself prepared for various eventualities. Most often its not Speeding that kills people-it’s the drivers lack of alertness that causes problem. For example, if I’m alert and responsive to other vehicles on the highway, I can drive at 100kmph and reach home alive, while on the other hand, even if you’re driving at 20 kmph, if you fail to notice the right turn indicator of the vehicle ahead of you, you may invite trouble.

Risk Mitigation:
A sensible driver comes up with risk mitigation strategies as and when he anticipates a mishap. It may not be possible to avoid a danger all the time. A driver’s judgment decides what best can be done with remaining time and distance so as to reduce the damage to the life of himself and the passengers. It’s a split second decision which makes or ends a life.

These are some of the reason why I enjoy driving-bigger the vehicle more the fun.

While a driver's job is attributed with a low profile semi skilled labor, he certainly deserves a thanks when he safely drops you at your place.

Let me know what you think of this topic.
Below is the slideshow of photos taken during my visit to Golconda fort. The post on this can be found here:

(Tried to add this slideshow in that post itself but facing some technical issues)
Tips and Tricks for minimizing inconvenience with traffic cops * Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore on Self drive * eNidhi drives tractor