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Highway driving tips by

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The Government of India has been developing the country’s road network and with every passing year, old broken tarmac and dirt tracks are being replaced with smooth stretches of 4 to 8 lane expressways. The roads are the arteries of the country and thanks to the wider pieces of tarmac, more parts of the nation have become accessible to the common man and hence driving long distances is a common thing nowadays. There are certain things that you need to keep in mind before you set off for next highway journey.
1.	Plan: Plan ahead and incase your journey involves driving through small towns and villages, it is recommended to leave early in order to bypass morning traffic and hence save on time. 
2.	Car check-up:Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your car in good shape for the journey. This includes checking lubricant levels etc. and top-up if required. Make sure the air-filter is cleaned off any particulate matter. Tyre pressure should be adequate and make sure the spare wheel has air in it. 
3.	Night driving:  Indulge in night driving only on good 4-lane highways as narrow highways can be tricky due to blinding lights of the oncoming traffic. Infact, most 4-lane highways with dividers have less traffic at night and hence one can make up good distances with ease. However, make sure the lights are in proper working condition and the windscreen is completely clean. 
4.	Speeds: Driving at high speeds of above 120km/h don’t help much. Infact, the car ends up consuming more fuel and the braking distance increases considerably. A cruising speed of 90-100km/h is best for fuel economy as well as making sure you stay ahead of commercial vehicles easily. Make sure windows are rolled up else wind resistance can drop the fuel economy significantly. 
5.	Strap it : Every passenger inside the car should strap on the seat belts. Passengers tend to dose off on long trips and hence in the unfortunate case of an accident, the seat belt can prove to be the difference between life and death. Likewise, if you are carrying luggage on the roof, make sure its strapped properly and not hanging loose. 
6.	Be safe: Use all the three mirrors of the vehicles. While you may be safe, you never know whats coming from behind at high speeds in various lanes. Likewise, keep a safe distance, generally 4-5 car lengths, between your vehicle and the one in front. 
7.	Toll money: Always carry some amount of change in one of the cup holders to avoid waiting for long at the toll booth. Go in for return journey slips in case you are going to pass through the same booth in the next 24 hours – this way you can save money. 
8.	Fight sleep: This is one of the most common causes of accidents in India. Sleep tends to reduce the reaction time as well and the driver can easily get distracted too. Make sure you are fresh and alert. Washing the face with cold water, taking breaks and driving hot liquids like tea can help stay awake and be alert. If you are traveling with co-passengers, talking with them during the journey can help kill time easily. 
9.	Eating habits: While food at most of the highway joints is delicious, over eating can easily lead to inducing of sleep and the driver becoming lazy. Hence, eat light and be alert always. We also recommend sticking to fast moving items like dal (pulses) or mix vegetables as these are sure to be fresh. 
10.	Time to get back: Most metro cities see a heavy rush of commercial vehicles post 8pm when these are allowed to enter city limits. Hence, the bypass of metro cities can be a pain to negotiate at this time. Plan your return journey according to either hit the outskirts of the city before 7:30pm or late night. 
Inputs by Bunny Punia- Associate Editor at

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