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
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".
Precursor to the Trip:
Mr.Daddy calls me up on Oct 2nd in the evening.
Daddy : I had to work today , who the hell works on Gandhi jayanthi? They don't even sell Liquor today.
Me : Chill Macha , we chose this job. And have to take everything it throws at us.
Daddy: I need some relaxation , plan something for the weekend.
Me : Hmm, lets go to Bhuvanagiri Fort, I have been meaning to trek that fort since childhood.
The plan has been made , but could not be executed the Dussehra weekend, due to the obvious reasons. Our Wives would let us go on a trek on a festival day. And i totally forgot about it , till 12th When Mr.Daddy messages to ask me if i'm available to do the trek on 13th (Sunday). I said yes , and the trip was on.
Hill Fort of Bhuvanagiri:
If you have ever have traveled to Warangal by road or by train you would not miss this small fort on top of the hill. I remember watching the hill for the first time as a kid, from a train window, on my way to Hyderabad. Since then i was always fascinated by this small fort and it was my long lasting desire to trek to the top of it.
The fort is constructed in the 10th century A.D by Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya VI. That makes this fort atleast 1000 years old. In contrast Golconda fort is 400 years old. And Since it is built by Tribhuvanamalla , the fort is called Tribhuvanagiri , Which latter became Bhuvanagiri and with the Persian and Urdu influence of the local kings became Bhongir. The fort was built on a small egg shaped hill, and there were small steps cut into the rock to climb up to the fort.
Drive To The Fort:
I started at 8:30 A.M on Sunday morning , and started towards Mr.Daddy's home in Manikonda, Hyderabad. I picked him up and on the way we stopped at Organic hotel to have breakfast. After having quick breakfast we took the ORR to reach Warangal Highway.
(Organic Hotel , where we had or break Fast)
As there was no hurry , we mostly drove in the middle lane at 80KMPH max speed, The ORR charged us 140/- to get down at Warangal high way, And soon after that we had to pay another toll on the highway, We took a to and fro pass for 140/- and went on our way. The toll has dedicated lanes for fastag , and if you still don't have one Get one ASAP.
As soon as you cross the toll gate and proceed further , you see something like this (Image is taken from Wiki)
With the help of google maps we reached the entry point of the fort. There are two gates to get into , one for regular tourists and another for rock climbing school in the premises. There is ample space to park 8-10 cars. We parked our car , proceeded to the shop next to the ticket counter bought ourselves a water bottle & moved to ticket counter to buy our tickets. Ticket cost for Adults is rs: 10/- per head.
The Rock has steps cut into it , which looks fairly a recent addition to the 1000 year old Hill Fort. We started our climb from this point.
The weather forecast for Bhongir on that day was partially cloudy and with intermittent rains. But Sun god has different plans for us. It was hot and the rock reflected the heat. After a brief walk , we ended up at the first gateway to the fort. There was some shade and i sat there for a couple of minutes.
(The first gateway , where you will find some shade.)
After the first rest stop , there is enough tree cover and it was a little cloudy , we reached the second Gateway in some time.
The distance between the second and third Gateway is not much , but there is a increase in elevation. We soon reached the third gateway , and the the view looked like this after crossing the third gateway.
From here there is no tree cover , and to my bad luck there is no cloud cover either. From here , if you walked towards right from the path , you would find some ruins. This signifies that you have reached level 1. From here the path goes on to the top of the hill. We kept on walking and discussing on how ingeniously the architect of the fort has constructed multiple Dams to conserve rain water.
(Level 1 ruins towards the left of the picture and Check Dams to conserve towards the right of the Picture)
From here the walk way is very steep , one has to be careful. And this can be slippery during rains.
(Steep Walk way , with stairs cut into the rock, Rails installed in the modern era for support, Another Check Dam towards right and Mr.Daddy gauging on how far we have to go)
After this i was completely exhausted , and stopped at every 5-10 minutes on the pretext of taking pictures 😛 , Approximately after an hour we started , we reached the top of the fort.
(Celebratory pic of climbing the hill, My smile will tell you how happy i was on the top, the cannon at the back might be a late addition to the fort , as they were developed only in 15th century)
There are three structures at the top of the Hill , one ruined old fort , and two other government buildings , with Cellular tower on top of one. The other building was build on top adjacent to an old well. (The Pic of the fort).
The views from the top of the hill are simply amazing. Google maps told us that we were 1000 meters above MSL. Below are a few pics of the views from the fort.
(You can spot Bhongir Railway station , from where i first saw this magnificent Hill Fort. Also , at the bottom right , notice how Dams were constructed to save water.)
(Another pond , and the fort wall at a distance)
We explored the whole place for an hour , found a small entrance and a staircase, just out of curiosity i went in and started climbing the stairs , and Mr.Daddy followed me.
The stairs took us to the top of the fort. There is no higher point in Bhongir Than this.
(The fort view from behind)
(Me after conquering the fort, instead of a sword i posed with an Umbrella, modern day weapon to fight the soldiers of the nature)
By 2 o clock we were hungry and decided to descend, as soon as we thought of of it , we could see dark clouds manifest out of no where and weather became cloudy and pleasant. I wonder where these clouds were when i was climbing up the hill.
We climbed down, and there were 6 other cars parked in the parking. We went to the shop next to ticket counter had another bottle of water. Went to a nearby restaurant in Bhongir and had our lunch. After and uneventful lunch , we started back to Hyderabad , and it started raining just as we were ready to leave Bhongir.
Tips for Trek to the Top :
Carry your own water one bottle per person. Carry an umbrella , Sun or Rain it will help you a lot. Avoid Summers , It was tiring to climb in October Sun. Imagine April Sun beating down on you.
Suggest to go in groups, Half of the time i was engrossed in deep conversations with Mr.Daddy , and didn't feel the tiredness.
Wear shoes and avoid Slippers and Flip flops at all costs
PS: For those who are wondering , why i call him Daddy , You can find the explanation in my previous write up
This Dussehra holidays we planned a long road trip to Coimbatore in our EcoSport.
Thanks to India-Drive members, especially @sagar @Ranger for suggesting trip route and staying food options along the route.
We started around 4 AM from Miyapur, Hyderabad. Drive till Anantapur is quite familiar to me, as i have driven this route many times.
Drive was excellent with good pleasant weather, around 9:30 AM We reached Anantapur for breakfast at Club RuRu.
Food was good as well as the service and atmosphere. After some nice breakfast we started towards Bangalore, as we approach the outskirts of the city traffic made us slow down, and also the fear of over-speeding and getting fined made me cautious, kept at 60-80 speeds reached Devanahalli around 12:30 PM.
Our EcoSport flyaudio gave us this route which bypassed the traffic areas of the city (silkboard, electronic city) and took us to the sarjapura main road and joined on the NH just after the electronic city. The route we took to bypass the city is quite scenic and some places were narrow roads. and in some parts very rough roads (2-4 KM) with construction work is ongoing. I am attaching the route map for reference.
Around 2:30 we reached Hosur outskirts, despite being a Sunday afternoon the road is filled with heavy vehicles occupying all the lanes and made us slow down, managed to reach a good restaurant which serves good tamil meals by 3:00 PM.
The food was good and hot. after staying so long out of Tamilnadu we always look forward to eating in Tamilnadu hotels, glad we could make it for lunch.
After lunch started the journey towards Salem, Roads were quite good and smooth but not as wide as Hyderabad-bangalore highway. Not a pleasant experience as the vehicles seems to be in hurry and not giving space occupying all lanes, had to be very patient to outmatch the city buses.
Kept a average speed of 60-80 KM reached Salem, thought have a break at Salem, but due to some politicians visit (i am guessing its CM visiting his native Town) the roads were filled with cops asking us not to stop and keep left. At some places the cops were confusing us with their directions, over all a confused environment, but good thing is they reroute the heavy vehicles like lorries and trucks to some other route, so we had a clear road ahead of us.
The only catch is we couldn't stop for the tea break. And it started drizzling once we past Salem, it's almost 7 PM, and those rerouted trucks joined us back while we are nearing Coimbatore making our last leg of journey more interesting At Komarapalayam we stopped for some hot Badam Milk and much needed break.
After that it was nice to drive to the coimbatore city with with lit wide roads, reached around 9:15 PM to Sungam cross roads, Coimbatore. After parked the vehicle and went inside the house all of us were feeling that still we are moving. From morning 4 to night 9 this makes my longest distance driven in a day. (960 KM says speedometer)
We visited the famous GeDee Car museum, Coimbatore. the beauty of the museum is we can see so many vintage cars at one place which are maintained so good.
Checkout few pics:
It was 1 of August I was browsing TripAdvisor for resorts and planning my road trip to Bhandavgarh when I received a message in the WhatsApp group from @PrashantKMathur sir. I never miss his messages, and so this one. I was surprised and happy on seeing the message about the most loved SUV and most awaited drive from Ford. I immediately cancelled all my meet-up plans for the weekend.
Fast forward to 3 days, it was Sunday, the drive day. I woke up early in the morning, took my camouflaged rain jacket which I bought for the monsoon drive meet-up but never wore and begin driving towards Chevella. The traffic throughout the drive was almost nill and I could constantly maintain 60kmph enjoying the empty road, drizzle and my TDCi engine's roar.
The area is 70kms away from my house and I reached the venue by 10:00 AM starting at 8:15 AM with 20mins break waiting for my friend who never turned up.
I was the first person apart for Team Ford. Was received really well by Vibrant Ford AGM and team where I get my car serviced and by Modi Ford team where I bought my car.
20 minutes later after finishing all the formalities and coffee break I was into the huge and beautiful Off-roader the ENDEAVOUR.
I was accompanied by Mr. Sarath Ford's off-road trainer and he took me for the first round. The track was really good with lush green trees surrounded and even more tricky due to continuous rain and drizzle the night before event. He explained me everything about the capabilities of the vehicle, different drive modes and showed me how it performed in 4low with ease and how it struggled in 4high.
The track and the experience was so good that I wanted to go on another round and he agreed for it.
Finished two rounds of the drive and the time was 11:00 AM when I met @Jag's. Few minutes of discussion with the trainer and AGM Vibrant Ford sales I was back into my car carrying all the memories and small souvenir (Ford Hat) from the trainer going back home.
These obstacles were really scary to see.
A small souvenir from the trainer (Ford Hat) on the music system.
He's the trainer Mr. Sarath.
'Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar , Panchgani' - Monsoon Drive Meetup
Hyderabad to Koilsagar - Overnight BBQ camp under the stars - Report