Do chauffeurs drive at night ?

#1 Dec 19th, 2009, 04:23
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  • idy is offline
#1
Hello,

We plan on hiring a chauffeur to drive us around Rajasthan. Do you think he'll be OK to drive us at night ie. between 6pm and 10pm ? The reason I'm asking is some friends told us it would be crazy to do so (security, etc.) but we were surprised by this. Don't Indians travel by car at night at all ?!!

Thanks in advance for your tips !
#2 Dec 19th, 2009, 05:22
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Six to 10 pm shouldn't be a problem. Many drivers charge an extra amount for driving later than 10 pm.
#3 Dec 19th, 2009, 05:31
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Security isn't particularly an issue in Rajasthan. Appalling accident rates are. We've driven a lot after dark, but it's not ideal by any means.

If you're staying in the same place for a few days this should be fine, but if your driver has been driving you all day, it is not fair to ask him to drive you in the evening too. The laws restricting driver hours in our country are there for good reason!
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#4 Dec 19th, 2009, 10:16
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Haylo has a point in that risk sharply rises at night if for no other reason than tired, drunk AND drugged lorry drivers are about (I do mean and). Its not something I would recommend..
#5 Dec 19th, 2009, 10:49
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#5
Our night driving experiences (Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Orissa) were not enjoyable. It seemed considerably more dangerous. I think some drivers are reluctant to drive at night for that reason.
#6 Dec 19th, 2009, 10:57
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#6
A reminder: India leads the world in road deaths per head of population. I've heard of a couple of fatal accidents recently where lorries broke down and just stayed in the middle of the road, unlit, and cars just drove straight into them.

Trucks here generally have no barrier or steel work to prevent a car driving underneath them. The first thing to hit the truck, after the windscreen, will be the passengers.
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#7 Dec 19th, 2009, 16:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post I've heard of a couple of fatal accidents recently where lorries broke down and just stayed in the middle of the road, unlit, and cars just drove straight into them.
This sounds unlikely, unless you have experienced the level of illumination of "headlights" on Indian vehicles...

In the UK, vehicles won't pass their annual safety inspection if the headlights don't work, and if they aren't properly aligned. India just doesn't have the sort of standards that we take for granted. When we bought our lovely ambassador one headlamp pointed firmly upwards, and the other pointed straight down, and this was on a virtually new car! Utterly useless for night driving, and far from easy to adjust.

The utterly irresponsible highways department don't help either. As an example, when constructing a new dual carriageway in sections, their method is to divert traffic back onto the old roads by mounding a six foot high pile of earth smack in the middle of the new high speed dual carriageway. No lighting, no signs, no reflective barriers, not even a single cone. Anyone whizzing along the new road could easily drive smack into it before they saw it.

On one night journey we saw two lorries and several cars which were lying abandoned either overturned or on their sides after having hit these earth mounds. Earlier that same day we witnessed dead bodies being brought up from a gorge where a coach had gone straight through the sturdy looking but ridiculously inadequate barriers on the road up to Mussoorie.

I've seen so many people visiting India who worry themselves silly about terrorist attacks, then happily travel about all over the place without giving their safety a moment's thought.

I even know people who wouldn't dream of travelling without a seat belt at home, who somehow think that in India it doesn't matter. It's almost as if somehow being a foreigner means that they are only observers and not participants and therefore nasty accidents cannot apply to them!
#8 Dec 19th, 2009, 19:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haylo View Post This sounds unlikely, unless you have experienced the level of illumination of "headlights" on Indian vehicles...
I think he meant rearending into the back of the lorry. When they breakdown, no flashing taillights or cones are placed to mark them. In the darkness, you can still end up getting crunched. Yes, even with the blinding lights of the car.
#9 Dec 19th, 2009, 19:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Drifter View Post I think he meant rearending into the back of the lorry.
Er... Yes, I know.

I was explaining why people in Indian cars could easily fail to see a broken down lorry. Far from the "blinding lights of the car" that you refer to, my experience is that headlights on many Indian cars are absolutely pathetic.

You are right of course that Indian vehicles do not generally carry cones, or breakdown warning triangles and so on, of the type which are compulsory in many European countries. Frankly, given the usual Indian attitude to safety issues, it did not even occur to me that anyone would think broken down vehicles would use hazard lights or carry breakdown warnings.
#10 Dec 20th, 2009, 05:55
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What are these cone/triangles? How do they function?
#11 Dec 20th, 2009, 06:08
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That proves the point of Haylo

I hope you can identify them from this pic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jusmail View Post What are these cone/triangles? How do they function?
I did not fully understand the dread term "Terminal Illness" until I saw Terminal 1 D of Delhi Airport.
#12 Dec 20th, 2009, 06:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusmail View Post What are these cone/triangles? How do they function?
These triangles have to be carried by law in most European countries, and in Spain you have to carry two of them!

They are highly reflective triangles which fold away into a small case; when they are up they look like this. The idea is that in the case of a breakdown or accident, they are placed in the road 50 to 150 meters before the vehicle, so that approaching vehicles can get some advance warning that there is an obstruction ahead.

Cones
are different sizes depending on the speed limit, but are generally too large to be carried, and are usually only set out by the highways department.
#13 Dec 20th, 2009, 11:10
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#13
In Malaysia truckies place broken branches and several big rocks behind their broken down vehicles.

When they've repaired the truck - off they go - leaving the rocks and foliage behind!!

Makes for interesting highway driving - particularly as they they do this on roads which are otherwise excellent - cars happily belt along at 100km/hr+.
#14 Dec 20th, 2009, 12:45
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#14
Rajasthan is safe in the popular tourist regions, and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is not night. The trucks usually come out in number after this time. Of course, you would be considerate not to work your driver to hard. Hylo has given a very sane advice.
#15 Dec 20th, 2009, 19:50
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#15
My car came with a warning triangle, so I'd guess that all new Marutis do.

Mind you, I have never seen one used on the road.
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