How was your last ride? Did you crash in something just because you marked it “redundant”, I believe you must have cursed that moment like hell. Well, trust me, I did the same when I was just out of my shell. Hence, I just compiled a list to help my fellow riders or some amateur, while & after a long drive. Hope it delivers a high end message to first-timers about how to prepare for a long ride
Preparations Before The Journey
1) Vehicle Check up: I will skip the regular check tire pressure, engine tune up, electrical check up stuff which all of us know.
2) Get a good Map: Ideally get map book which has the maximum information, quick reference, and location of fuel pumps & eat out places.
3) Schedule your journey: Use the map to schedule your days of journey. 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.
What Stuff To Carry?
>> A long nylon rope: It will be needed for toeing or even for tying any extra baggage you might have acquired during the journey.
>> 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
>> Additional tire tube: In case of puncture in an area where you don’t have any mechanics
>> An air pressure gauge & if possible a foot air pump:
>> Extra toolkit i.e. the one besides the standard ones:
>> Swiss Army Knife; You may need it, you never know
>> A Proper Riding Gear
>> Music and extra battery: Gotta Keep those ears plugged!!!
>> Camera: Just in case, when you feel like to go click-click
Tip: Learn some basic repair like adjusting chain slackness, puncture repair etc. If something goes wrong in the highway and there are no mechanics nearby you don’t have to panic. You can do it yourself with the tools you carry.
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
- 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
3) Clean all the RVMs & glasses regularly:
4) Take proper halts: It’s necessary to give both the vehicle & yourself 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) During Night rides use the headlamps to pass 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