Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to prevent reduce Driver Fatigue

Two weeks back Eddie Wren from Advanced Drivers of America shared an article on how Mercedes has introduced the system to tackle drowsiness while driving. Mercedes is introducing new Attention Assist system, designed to detect drowsiness on the driver. But technology can only help in creating the tools which we require to make things go our way. To avoid the evils of he drowsiness while driving we should also make the conscious effort ourself. When I asked Eddie to help me in putting up an article on how we can prevent or reduce the driver fatigue (and drowsiness), he shared some really good facts and techniques for the same. These items are collated from empirical research on global best practice. Thus these carry Copyright of Eddie Wren / Advanced Drivers of America. I have added my analytical effort and created these guidelines.


1. The best and first way to prevent driver fatigue is to get enough sleep. This means sleeping for at least good 8 hours before you set out for the trip.

2. Avoid heavy meals before long drives, especially if you are one of those who feel snoozy post dinner

3. Avoid alcohol, which contributes to sleepiness, large meals and any medications that might make you drowsy.

4. Adjust your seat to an upright position so that the base of your wrists makes contact with the top of the steering wheel. Keep the temperature even; driving in a car that’s too warm or too cold can make you sleepy.

5. Stop every two hours or 100 miles (160 Kilometers) of travel -- whichever comes first, for at least a 20-minute break. This is important not only to maintain alertness but also to prevent deep-vein thrombosis. It is bad for your circulation -- particularly your legs -- to sit for too long at the wheel of a vehicle, without exercise.

6. Once you have stopped, if your health factors permit, drink a caffeinated drink (e.g. coffee, tea e.t.c.) then have a brisk walk.

7. If you actually start to feel drowsy while driving, find the first safe place to get off the road and stop, as promptly as possible. This must be a safe distance away from any moving traffic.

8. If you stop as suggested above, you should -- if possible -- have TWO caffeinated drinks (not just one) then take a nap of up to BUT NOT EXCEEDING twenty minutes.
(Use your cell phone's alarm to make sure you awaken before the 20 minutes is up). This apparently random reference to 20 minutes is actually very important and it relates to the fact that a human brain identifies a long nap as being the start of a longer, deeper sleep, and it therefore triggers the release of endorphins into the blood stream specifically to make you go into and stay in a deeper sleep. Clearly that is not a signal you want your body to issue if you plan to continue driving. Those endorphins, once released, will stay in your blood stream for around 8 hours and will make you a major danger to yourself and to everyone who crosses your path during that time.

9. If you follow the directions in paragraph above, you should be okay for another session behind the wheel (but be particularly careful to monitor your own alertness). If you start to feel drowsy again during this next portion of your journey, enough is enough; it is time to stop and find a motel. Continuing to drive might result in you killing yourself or -- even worse -- perhaps obliterating somebody else's children (or maybe even an entire family).

10. Shift-workers -- in particular night-shift workers -- have a much higher risk of crashing due to drowsy driving. Young men, in their teens and their 20's are at a higher risk than other people, too.

11. Be very cautious about driving overnight. At night the brain simply follows the body clock irrespective of your actions and releases endorphins, so if you drive during your normal sleep period, you are putting yourself and all around you at significant risk.

Hope this will help you enjoying a safe driving trip.
Read more!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sure way to avoid traffic on the roads is to start early

In one of my twitter posts I had said "Sure way to avoid traffic on the roads is to start well in time". This will not reduce the traffic on the roads. But who wants to avoid traffic anyways. That's the whole fun of driving; maneuvering through the traffic and then smiling on your skills. What makes you yearn for a lesser traffic is the little time you are left with to reach may be office, a very important meeting, your girlfriend / boyfriend .... (there could be a looong list). The traffic wastes the time and in turn causes the stress. On April 3 published a news "Man beaten to death in traffic jam for not reversing vehicle". Its nothing but the stress. But when you start early you can afford to waste those 5-10 minutes.Just take that opportunity to look around. Did you notice that beautiful garden, or a nice eatery on your office route, which you would have zipped past in a stressed situation. You'll feel as though the traffic has reduced. You can also take your girlfriend there next time you plan a time out.

On the other hand when you are driving fast, you may also hurt someone (or worst kill) on the road. I know that the fuel cost don't pinch your pocket, but if does; just consider the fact that driving fast burns twice as much fuel as driving at a constant and controlled speed.

Driving fast don't even look cool. A high speed action only look cool in the films. Those sitting with you and those who see you driving, while you are at the top of your speed, understand exactly who is driving. Is it you driving the car? or car driving you. The car is not Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Sessanta nor you are in NFS track. That was last night when you spent most of your time playing that high speed action and earned yourself those dark circles. By the way, how many times you met with accident in that game. Someone said "Speed thrills but kills". Don't play with your and especially others life. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

Even if you are one of the best drivers, everybody else is not. People can get scared seeing your speed and loose their control. Then you would have no right to fight cause you actually was the trigger for the accident. Do share your thoughts , experiences and whatever else fits fit in this Blogs context. Till then START EARLY, BE SAFE.
Read more!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Park Heavens Added to Twitter

Starting Tuesday, June 2, 2009, Park Heavens posts will be available at Twitter also. Follow me at @lochanrajeev Read more!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Horn Not Ok Please

The other day I was reading that Merc, BMW, Lexus and few more big automobile companies are planing some critical modifications in their cars। They are ging to do away with a few of unnecessary accessories used in the today's cars. This will not only reduce the cost of the cars but also provide some relief to th people which find all this jing bang an extra load. Okay let us now talk about the accessories they are planing to remove.

Brakes: Merc believes that the brakes are really not required in the cars
Accelrator: BMW is planing to remove the Accelerator pedal from their cars
Indicators: Lexus is in no mood to install either accelerator or the side indicators.

They all believe installing a simple horn can serve the purpose all these accessories। The base behind this theory is a study done by an agency RNL Enterprise. This study confirms that horn is used most out of all controls installed in the cars. If the car moving ahead of you slows down, you blow horn before you apply the brakes. People Want to cross the car moving ahead of them but even when allowed the space to zip past, they just go horn happy and keep waiting till the time car ahead pulls down the road leaving the entire road width for their perusal.

The other day I was reading the writeup of a fellow blogger who gave the figures of the sound pollution on the Delhi roads। According to his blog, while the permissible limit of the noise on the roads is 60 decibels, we experience the noise upto a level of 80 Decibel on quieter roads and upto 100 decibels on high traffic roads. It really hurts our ears. Delhi Traffic Police did observed No Honking day on the first day of this year and challaned 770 people on one single day. But still there is no taming of these honking monsters (Oh am I being to LOUD?). I guess Delhi Traffic Police should observe many more such No Honking Days (may be 300 days a year). People would definitely learn some discipline when they start paying out rupees 100 (that's the penalty for unnecessary honking in Delhi). Delhi Traffic Police will also have to allocate some budget towards the educating campaigns for the public. Consider using offline as well as online medium for advertising. Online could be a very cost effective medium. We should use radio also to spread the awareness about the honking disadvantages.

It really is not difficult to find people who honk every few seconds out of pure reflex. A century ago when Henry Ford attached the first Horn (a double trumpet attached to a rubber bulb) he was looking for an equipment to softly alert vehicles to make sure they don't swerve suddenly. Now I am not saying just throw the horn out of your car neither I am suggesting you to attach it with your car battery to give you a shock every time you try it. But use it when only when it is absolutely necessary. Believe me you will find a lot of chances to do that. But please have some mercy on t he people who are going deaf because of all that noise we make on the roads today.
Read more!

Monday, April 20, 2009

More buses, Carpools, Behaved Autos and strict enforcement will reduce traffic problems

Blame it on my laziness or the amount of workload I was dealing with. But yes, the promised post on the measures to reduce the load on roads is delayed. Anyways here it goes. To decrease the traffic on the Delhi roads, apart from raising the traffic penalties and the parking charges, I will suggest following measures also.

1. Increase the DTC bus fleet on the Delhi roads: For adventure's sake try to commute by DTC bus service just for one day. I am sure that you will have to wait at least 20-30 minutes before your bus arrives and then you will find it too crowded to make you put your idea to take bus aside. The current fleet of roughly 6400 buses (3600 New Low floor buses and 2800 old busses) is not sufficient for Delhi roads. The government will have to at least triple the busses to provide a service every 5-10 minutes. Also the buses should allow only a fixed number of passengers. A commuter is more likely to ditch his car/bike for the bus service if it does not keep him waiting and provides sufficient comfort.

2. Improve the other means of public transport: Nobody likes to be heckled by the Auto / Taxi drivers. The government will have to ensure that Auto drivers have enough discipline to a) Not to refuse the passenger without any reason b) Always go by the meter. I am sure people will stop taking there beloved cars out of their garage. Read more about the "Psyche Of A Delhi Auto Driver" in this blog by Maryann Taylor

3 Encourage Car pooling: This is one point that I guess has already been acted upon. Some days back I used to hear this radio advertisement which appeals you to car pool forgetting any differences if you might have with copassengers.

4. Ensure stricter implementations of law: There is an urgent need to see that whatever fines or penalties are decided (the current or the proposed hikes) are implemented strictly. There should not be a case where people know hey can get away by bribing a constable.

After writing all this I still believe that there is a scope to add few more suggestions here. I will be more than happy to see suggestion coming from you about the post.

Read more!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chalans and penalties not only solution for traffic voilations

A lot of readers of my blog have suggested me not to restrict the blog only about the parking but write about the traffic and traffic safety. This also sounds like a logical extension of the topic. Today after reading the news about the new bill for higher fines for traffic violations, I found it right topic to start the traffic related posts.

Motor Vehicles Act 1988The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 is being amended to raise the penalties for the vehicles violating traffic safety regulations. Plans to hike the parking fees enough to force people to be more careful on the roads are also there. But will it really do the job? The data collected during the period, when the similar penalty hike was done in March 2007 provides the answer to the question.

Delhi government submitted a status report in Delhi High Court. It mentioned that, from fines and penalties till October 15, 2007, the Delhi traffic police earned Rs. 82,66,73,650 as revenue. This is over Rs. 33 crore more than the total fine (Rs. 49,24,11,750) collected in 2006. However, another report submitted by Delhi police to the Bench led by Justice Mukul Mudgal, had said 622 commercial vehicles were involved in fatal accidents in the Capital as of September 30, 2007 — merely 50 vehicles less than that in 2006...
Now, I am not discussing about the idea of increasing the traffic safety violation penalties. But interesting point is that, similar numbers of fatal accidents (infact more since the 2007 figures were till September only) took place despite the penalties being revised upwards. Does this suggest that some critical traffic safety measures are missing?

Okay for a moment let's talk about a different issue that most of us faced last year. The inflation was high and prices of the essential commodities were soaring high. But did someone start eating less? I did not. Now you would be wondering why all of a sudden my blog talks about inflation and the household budget. This is simple; the same situation can be related here also. When the traffic violation penalties are increased the people will not stop driving on the roads, neither will the traffic situation improve. There will be still as much traffic and as much delay in reaching your office. The people will still keep driving zigzag or jumping the red lights. After all who wants delays because of heavy traffic, become the reason to get fired?

So what is missing in the complete plan? It is the road space. The Government will have to either increase the road space (can we demolish some of the buildings to create more road space! Not really). The other solution could be, decrease the number of vehicles on the roads. Though high traffic penalties and parking charges will be deterrent for commuters love affair with their cars, but then they will have to think ways to reach their destinations. It is really hard to find an auto or taxi that is willing to charge as per the card rate. If you dare the DTC buses they are too less in number. Moreover these not only result in a very suffocating experience but add a long delays also. Moreover I still doubt that there is at least one DTC bus plying on every possible rout in Delhi. I have a few points in my mind to decrease the traffic on the Delhi roads, which I will share in my next post. Your suggestions
are welcome and I would include those i my next post. Meanwhile I'll direct you to another blog which talk about the same issue. Please read Siddharth Bhasker's post here.
Read more!