Who doesn’t want to get away from the monotony of city life, every once in a while? A long drive along the highway, towards the outskirts of the city, sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? Especially after a long tiring week, it sounds like bliss to simply take off and unwind. But is your vehicle ready for that long highway drive? Follow these quick tips to prep up before you hit the highway.
To begin with, ensure that you carry ALL the following essential items without fail, whenever you take the highway:
● Your vehicle's registration certificate (RC)
● Vehicle insurance
● Pollution certificate (PUC)
● Your driver's license
● First-aid box
● A spare wheel
● Car owner's manual
Ok, now that that's been covered, let's look at the next critical aspects:
Your vehicle is your foremost companion. So, you must ensure that it is in top condition to tackle the highway roads. To do that, simply follow these steps-
● The engine powers your car. Hence, its upkeep should be your prime concern. An engine with an accurate oil level reduces friction and makes driving effortless.
● Check the oil level and quality using the dipstick. If you find that the oil is dirty, it's time for an oil change. If the oil is clean but below the level, add more oil.
● Head to a garage in case your engine has any other issue besides the oil level.
● Your brakes determine the quality of your vehicle's performance under fast-paced settings. You don't want your brakes to fail you when you need them the most.
● Damaged brakes can prove lethal. Check their efficiency with your mechanic. Replace them immediately, if necessary.
● The wheels give your vehicle stability, grip, and ensure a comfortable driving experience. So, you must ensure that they're ready to roll at any time.
● Start with the tread depth of your tyres. Keep an eye out for bulges or deep cuts. If you find that the tread depth is below the recommended level (1.6 mm is the minimum), replace the tyre.
● And if you spot a bulge or a cut, go to a professional. The expert will guide you to replace them or suggest a repair job depending on the state of the damage.
● If you're looking for a replacement, you can visit the nearest tyre dealer or buy tyres online. Car tyre prices have become very competitive these days, and the internet offers a wide range of car tyres online.
● Tyre inflation is the next step in proper tyre care. You can't tell the tyre pressure by merely looking at a tyre. Use a pressure gauge or go to an air filling station to ensure that the pressure is at the correct level.
● Sufficiently inflated tyres can take the pressure associated with high-speed driving. Highways are all about maintaining the speed limit, usually on the higher end of the scale.
● Adequate tyre pressure levels assist in better control, vehicle stability, and braking. They also contribute to fuel savings, so keep your tyres sufficiently inflated, for both the highways and the city roads.
You're finally ready to hit the road. But the highway is like the wild. It comes with its own set of rules. And anyone who ventures into the wild, or in this case- the highway, must abide by these rules!
1) Be steady, not speedy.
● It is tempting to max out on the speedometer  on the highways. But before you decide to speed, remember, you're not Michael Schumacher, and this is not a racing track.
● Stay within the speeding limit consistently, and you'll face no trouble navigating the highways safely.
2) Learn the 'lane'guage.
● On the highway, different lanes are designated for different vehicles. If you want to move faster, stick to the right-most lane. Pick the extreme left side of the road if you prefer driving at a slower speed.
● However, don't tamper with the working of the lanes. Refrain from driving slowly on the right-most path or speeding on the left side of the road. This may confuse the other motorists around you, and lead to collisions.
3) Maintain proper distance.
● Remember school assemblies where teachers were always telling you to maintain a one-arm-distance between each other while walking? You found out exactly why you were told to do that, after running into the student ahead of you :) Driving on the highways is a lot like maintaining that one-arm distance. But this time, the stakes are much higher than just a bump.
● The average speed limit on the highways is high. Hence, maintaining an adequate distance from the vehicle in front of you will give you enough time to react right. For instance, in case of abrupt braking of the vehicle ahead of you, you will have ample time to stop smoothly, to avoid something as serious as multiple-vehicle collisions.
4) Signal your next move.
● Highways are meant for fast driving. So, it's imperative to alert the cars around you whenever you're switching lanes or pausing to take a break.
● Use the indicator lights to warn other drivers and turn on the hazard lights before stopping your vehicle.
5) Overtake with caution.
● Overtaking is a normal phenomenon on highways. But it's essential to understand the speeding pattern of the vehicle ahead of you before doing so. Judge the speed of the vehicle ahead of you and overtake accordingly.
● You may also alert the driver to let you pass by using an indicator.
6) Read the road signs.
● Pay attention to the road signs on the highways. Reading them gives you an idea of what's coming forth on the road.
● Signs may include falling debris, median ahead, road work, school, bridges, railway crossing, uphill, downhill, etc.
● Driving on the highway is a tiring activity. Pit stops can be far apart, so the driver has to keep going without a break for a reasonable amount of time. So, the first thing you should do is commence your highway drive with a fresh mind and a good night's sleep.
● Secondly, once you're on the road, don't wait for exhaustion to take over completely. Watch for upcoming pit stops. These are generally advertised on the roadside. If you can't go on, stop at the nearest designated resting area, take a nap, or wash your face to freshen up.
● Do not drive in a drowsy state, no matter what.
8) Don't let breakdowns break you down.
● Vehicle breakdowns are a possibility, especially if your vehicle is not meant for the fast-pace of the highways.
● However, regular servicing can reduce the breakdown chances of your vehicle considerably.
● Should your vehicle stop mid-journey, alert the other drivers that you need to go off the road and turn the hazard lights on. Use the reflective neon orange triangles to increase the visibility of your vehicle to other drivers.
And ta-da! You can drive on the highways easily by following these simple steps. Happy highway driving, folks!