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  1. Planning: It was October 2016 when we started planning for a long road trip. It was my wife's idea of visiting a cold place (if possible, snow fall) in winter, and subsequently we ended up talking about Manali (obvious choice of transport being, ROAD ). Idea was shot down by colleagues and friends, saying 2200KM drive one-side is no joke. Having experience of driving 17 hours a day couple of times, I knew that 3-day drive to Manali was pretty much possible. When started planning, things started to look easy - one of the key aspect of this journey was choice of stops. Upon deciding stops, stay, and places to visit, there was no stopping. In general, I would love to have best possible weather when I hit the road (my usual search query on Google being "where is it raining in India?"). In this case, we knew that fresh snowfall would happen at most 4-5 times in entire season, and we finalized dates trusting Accuweather data. Places planned to visit: Manali, Shimla, and Auli (tentative). THE reason to travel: To witness snowfall (Yes, we did!) Dates: 20/01/2017 to 01/02/2017 (Based on weather prediction three months before) Drive: Ford Ecosport 1.5TDCi Number of people: 3 (Driver: Only Me! ) Preparation: Being very particular about vehicle maintenance, I got everything checked (also, 2nd service was due around the same time) a week before our drive. One major problem we previously faced was light throw from headlights (OSRAMs) - I finally decided to replace with with Philips X-treme Vision Plus H4 (+130%), and they are amazing! Protective clothing: 2 layered snow-proof jacket, thermals, multi-position headband, two layers of gloves (much needed at sub-zero temperatures). Medicines: Few strips each for headache, cough/cold, fever, indigestion, and vomiting. Food: Figured out that there won't be many restaurants (especially in MP and UP). Hence, carried home-made protein bars, instant-noodle packs, juices, etc. Other things carried: Mini air compressor, 2 umbrellas, hiking pole, whistle, and 25L jerry can (and funnel). Route and Itinerary (NH44 all the way, from Telangana till Punjab) 20 Jan: Hyderabad to Sagar (MP) 21 Jan: Sagar (MP) to Greater Noida 22 Jan: Greater Noida to Manali 22 - 26 Jan: Places around Manali 27 Jan: Manali to Shimla 28 - 29 Jan: Shimla 30 Jan: Shimla to Agra 31 Jan: Agra to Nagpur 1 Feb: Nagpur to Hyderabad Day-1: (Hyderabad to Sagar - 884KM) State: Telangana It was a key decision that we had to make about 1st stop, and the choice was between Chhindwara and Sagar (considering good places to stay). We were all super-excited the night before; woke up at 4am, and hit road by 4.30am. Roads were flawless till Adilabad, and roads turned ugly (not even bad) the moment we crossed Telangana border - it was stark difference, and a badly shaped bridge welcomed us in Maharashtra. State: Maharashtra Road construction was happening on NH44 (for betterment, I'd guess), and it was not so pleasant (at the same time, not eventful) driving in MH. We crossed Nagpur 1.15pm and stopped for lunch as soon as we entered MP. State: Madhya Pradesh Tarmac turned super smooth the moment we entered MP - driving on SH 547 was pleasant experience (we passed some hills in between). No wonder MP has some of the cleanest cities in the country - one could judge the same by looking at their roads. We crossed Chhindwara around 4.30PM, and reached destination (Sagar) by 7.45PM. We could already feel the cold that night (not so much, though); had dinner and called it a day. It was a great day overall (not eventful). It was relatively long day for us in the car (~900KM), and we intentionally front-loaded much of distance on day-1.
  2. Roadtrips... long drives... holiday to the hills driving our car, gives a high to all the drivers. Driving to the beaches or to the unexplored hills with our family or friends is an all-time favorite activity. Driving is fun, but a single error makes it a disaster. All drivers know the feeling - a frightening realization behind the wheel of the car when a wave of drowsiness hits, that you may be too tired to go on. A blink of an eye is all it takes for one to end up trapped inside a toppled car or a badly mangled car in the opposite lane. 20% of the accidents on Indian Highways are caused by driver fatigue says a survey. It all happens in seconds, as said above, in a blink of an eye. Drowsiness is extremely dangerous. Pushing yourself beyond the limits, just to make it on time or just to boast to your friends of your achievements of "non-stop 800kms drive" is the last thing you would want to do. You Can’t Afford to Drive on Through Fatigue Fatigue is a serious concern for everyone on the road. Feeling sleepy makes a driver, less attentive, and affects the driver’s ability to make quick decisions. You need to be able to navigate, merge safely, respond to unpredictable drivers, accidents, potholes or even the sudden appearance of a cattle. Delayed reaction time can mean the difference between life and death – for you, or another person on the road. A tired mind also has more trouble concentrating, making it difficult to judge speed and distance. Entering a trance-like state while driving is a trait we notice quite often while driving on highways at a constant speed, at constant cabin temperature. This is known as Highway Hypnosis. Becoming attuned to your body and its need for rest and sleep will make you a safer driver. Warning Signals that It’s Time to Get Off the Road Driving requires your undivided attention. If you notice one or more of these signs, it is time to get off the wheel and rest. Frequent yawning & fidgeting Frequent lane changes without knowing Tailgating Erratic Braking Inconsistent speed Delayed reaction time Missing on turns and signboards Missing to check on ORVMs IRVMs Missing to use indicators Rolling down the window for fresh air Blurred vision or frequent blinking 5 Tips to Combat Fatigue 1. Surveys show that a short nap can increase alertness and significantly lower the risk of driver fatigue. Take a short twenty-minute nap, preferably before you become too sleepy. 2. Avoid medications that may induce drowsiness. 3. Eat a healthy and balanced meal at regular intervals. Lack of proper food leads to a drop in blood sugar levels which makes us drowsy. Also, heavy meals make us lazy and sluggish increasing the drowsiness. 4. Coffee, smoking, turning up the volume on the radio and fresh air only work for short periods of time. Do not rely on them to keep you alert. (Personal experience, play those songs that give you a good feeling. Not too loud and not too much music. Play it at a medium volume, this will help you cruise at a constant speed making you feel attentive.) 5. Stay hydrated and also keep switching between ‘recirculating’ and ‘fresh-air’ modes on the air-con. A change in temperature helps you stay more alert. (Personal experience, roll down the window and allow fresh air and those traffic sound to enter the cabin. Hearing those makes us attentive and lets us drive till we find a good tree to rest under.) Above all, never forget to take naps at regular intervals. It's not only beneficial to you, but also to your car, its engine, and tires. If you are really tired, never attempt to drive beyond the limits. It's your maturity and safe driving habits that ultimately call you a good driver, not your "800kms non-stop achievements".
  3. Download links Android Playstore This mobile App is for the National Highway Commuters of India, who wish to cross through a National Toll road in a pre-informed manner. The App also prevents frauds by way of overcharging by a Toll Plaza as it informs the user about the fee applicable. While on move, users can know the places of interest & Route to theses places if he/she wishes. The App tells real time waiting time at a plaza as at a particular time. Once the user crosses a plaza, he/she can also give feedback of his experience through the toll plaza. Key features 1. Nearby toll Plazas 2. Toll Plazas en-route 3. Fast-Tag 4. Know your highway 5. Report an issue 6. Report summery (issue tracker) 7. Near by (Hotels, hospitals, ATM and Fuel) Will give more details once I use the app. Overall app is impressive. Adding few screen shots. Home screen Near by works only on GPS, we cannot slect the place manually.
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