Lane Discipline on Indian Highways
The BJP government under the leadership of the most famous leader :Atal Behari Vajpayee commissioned the first of its kind Mega project to change the Indian roadways . Almost after 50 years of gaining independence, The Indian government had the sanity to start a project that would widen the existing national highways to 6 lanes .The National Highway authority of India was set up and since then this authority has shown exemplary commitment to build roads of the highest standards to provide seamless connectivity between the cities of India. The Six lane roads have now become a symbol of India’s emergence as a centre of development in the world. It was a pity that no other government previously had the resolve or even a thought of improving the then pathetic National Highways that were barely 2 lane roads without adequate quality. Finally the Karnataka government also depended on the NHAI(National Highway authority of India) to use the existing NH7 ‘s 6 laneroad as the main connecting road to the international airport of Bangalore. Same is the case with the NH7 that runs to connect the Hyderabad ‘s international airport to the city.
Now that we have such good 6 lane roads coming up all over the country , the need to follow lane discipline and the awareness to educate citizens on the lane driving becomes all the more important for smooth flow of the traffic.
Let us examine the salient features of Lane driving on the Indian Highways .
Point 1..When on a 4 ways highway(2 lanes on each side), always stay on the leftmost lane and use the right lane to only overtake the vehicle in front.The driving behaviour changes in case you are on a 6 lane Highway(3 lanes on each side).The speed of vehicles increases as one moves from the leftmost lane to the rightmost lane. Hence the leftmost lane is usually for the slower vehicles such as trucks and 2 wheelers. The safe bet is to be on the middle lane if one is driving a car and use the rightmost lane only to overtake the slower vehicle in front. While driving fast on the rightmost lane could be a pleasure in case you are already at high speed.An important point to note is to give way to the faster vehicle which is coming behind you in the same rightmost lane. In case a faster vehicle comes behind you on the rightmost lane, it is best to put your left indicator and move to the middle lane to give way to the speeding vehicle. This would allow a safe passage to the vehicle behind.This applies only to the vehicles on the rightmost lane. Speeding vehicles behind your car that is already on the middle lane would automatically change to the rightmost lane to overtake.
Point 2. Any lane switching in a 4 lane or a 6 lane highway must first start with the relevant indicator light to change lanes. The general consensus around the world is that once your indicator of the car in front of you is On, the driver in front would change his/her lane within the next 5- 10 seconds. Hence it is all the more important to respect the driver in front of you if he/she turns on the indicator to change the lane. Most accidents on the 6 lane highways occur either because of incorrect switching of lanes or because of slow vehicles travelling on the wrong lane (rightmost lane).Also one must not zigzag his way across from the leftmost to the rightmost lane without watching out for incoming vehicles. It is common in India to overtake a vehicle by honking . One must be careful here because at high speeds honking would ususally not be audible. Hence it is better to flash your headlight and wait for the vehicle in front to give way.
Point 3 .The most important thing to remember is that in case your vehicle breaks down on the highway, it is important to turn on the Hazard warning and move your vehicle carefully to the service lane (leftmost part of the highway). One must be careful to notice any problems in the vehicle before a breakdown and quickly move to the leftmost lane in case of any emergency. Also if a vehicle is moving in front of you with its hazard light on , one must be extra cautious as the driver in front is indicating that his /her vehicle is in trouble and he is bound to move across in any direction.
The above information covers the basic information about lane driving but it is all the more important for the RTO authority of India to include tutorials and tests on lane discipline while doling out driving licenses to people. India is on the verge of entering the fast lane. Kudos to the NHAI..