Offence is not the best form of defence, at least not when you are driving. And especially not on Indian roads. Poor road conditions, low compliance to and awareness of traffic regulations, bad driving skills – no wonder that we have one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world! What’s perhaps lesser known is these conditions not just lead to accidents but also damage your cars, reducing its longevity and increasing your maintenance costs. Be it in urban areas, semi-urban or rural – the conditions are same everywhere.
The way a car works is an interesting example of the laws of Physics. A lot of factors need to come together seamlessly and function cohesively for your car to glide smoothly on the road. Normally, if the car is new and the road is perfect, the friction between the car and the road is good, and the car drives well. Cars are also made strong enough to withstand small faults on the road. But, give even the best supercar too much of uneven road surface or poorly made roads, and it will not respond the way it should. Too many drives on badly made roads can cause long-term damage to the car.
Most of us grew up driving on roads with no lane markings and retain the habit till this date. We have no respect for lane markings nor do we have the bare minimum road courtesy. Speed indicators are not even read by many, and often it feels like traffic signals are made to be broken. Even if you are the best driver in the world, you need to continuously stay alert and keep switching between brake and accelerator, putting undue strain on your car. The situation is of course improving, with traffic cameras and stringent laws and penalties, but there is still a long way to go for Indians to become well-mannered drivers.
Roads that are dug up everywhere, open pits and manholes everywhere, countless red signals, speed bumps that are small hills, and repair work that stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of the road – roads here are a nightmare. Not just for you, but also for your car. And unless the car is serviced regularly, your car might develop a fault that is too expensive to be repaired.
Changing the condition of Indian roads or the nature of Indian drivers may not be in your hands, but remember that the final responsibility for your car lies with you. Since we must make the best of what we have, drive as well as you can, adhere to traffic rules, respect other drivers and pedestrians. Most of all, respect the road and anticipate road conditions. Cars are sturdy by nature, so if they are handled well and taken care of, they will last long.