When You Don’t Respect Your Mean Machine

A couple of days back I read about this gruesome accident on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway where three members in a four member family were killed in a car crash. Preliminary investigation revealed that the driver couldn’t control the car speed around a turn as the machine was above 140 kmph which is certainly not the speed at which you can take a turn.

I recalled the amazing piece of advice, one of my colleague friend gave me when I purchased my car. He said,

“Treat your car like a wife/girlfriend, not like a prostitute”.

Lot of times, I wonder, why people become so careless about one thing that keep their lives on the move. In the rapid pace world, your automobile is your best friend that will never ditch you when you are in trouble, if you take care of it properly. If you don’t believe it, just imagine the amount of safety you will feel when you are in your car/bike in a dark deserted road compared to if you were on the feet. Just recall yourself driving in an A/C car in a scorching heat but you don’t feel a thing inside. Recall yourself driving a bike through the traffic jam like a snake through the grass. Today, millions rely on their own vehicles to reach anywhere.

However, not many show even a hint of respect to the automobile they own. If you’re doing any of the following, you’re among them.

1. Over speeding

Just like the guy who had no respect for the car to drive it at a decent speed and be careful around the turns, a lot of us enjoy the thrill of high speed rides. However, not many really care about the load it puts on the engine and the tyres when you are speeding your machine at 130-140+.

How many people know that you have to have less than ideal air in your tyres when you are driving on highways to avoid tyre bursts? How many do a basic sanity check of their oils, coolants and air pressure before long journeys? How many drivers understand the meaning and reasoning behind doing wheel balancing and alignment?

Unfortunate are the cars, whose drivers don’t even bother to get the tyres and the engine checked with the mechanic after hours of such torture when it takes less than an hour to get the things checked.

2. Laziness with Gears

Many people without a professional training on driving in India have this habit of screwing up their engines due to laziness of changing gears. Changing gears is something, a lot of people hate, especially when they have to slow down the car while driving. So, the compensation is made by keeping the clutch pressed till they have to keep the car slow and then applying more acceleration when they have to speed up again.

Those who understand the concept of torque, should read “The Transmission” section in this link, to understand why it is important to have car in the right gear at all times.

One of the basic concepts about driving that I learnt was that you always have to keep one hand on the steering and another on the gears. This helps in better control of the car in case you need to apply your breaks and shift the gears down. It prevents your car from stopping. These days, power steering is a norm that makes steering very easy to maneuver with just one hand.

3. Car etiquette – seat belt, cleanliness

Along with the driving lessons, it would make more sense to have some basic car etiquettes lessons as well. For many Indians, seat belts and helmets are obstacles to amazing driving experience rather than protective gears. Also, basic cleanliness of the car and maintaining the car well is something not so much embedded in the minds.

A filthy car is a direct result of a filthy owner.

Many Indians love Jason Statham and the Transporter series. Perhaps they should take this piece more seriously than just the car chases and the stunts.

4. Parking with tyres not straight

One of the things that personally irritate me when I see it is a car parked with tyres not straight. Aesthetically, it looks pathetic to any car in this world. Apart from that, when you are backing up, it increases the risk of banging into some other car parked nearby due to reduced predictability of the car movement. It also shows how serious the driver is about parking the car in the right manner.

Parking with tyres not straight will have minimal effect on your car’s mechanics and electrics. However, it shows how you treat your car.

5. Not Taking the Driving Lessons Seriously – Biting Point and Parallel Parking

Unfortunately, India is a country where ensuring proper driving habits is not a culture. A lot of Indians are pathetic when it comes to driving. However, they end up getting license through hook or crook as India’s RTO agencies leave many loopholes. One of the reports said that Mumbai’s two of the three RTOs had zero rejection rate. This means anyone and everyone who applied for a driver’s license, received it. As ridiculous and impractical it sounds, the truth stands that it will be the story across the country if it is so in the largest metropolitan of the country. So, when you get access to something (driving) so easily, you don’t value it. Add to it, the lenient traffic control system where you can get away with anything and everything.

The two most important things, at which most of the Indians struggle when it comes to driving, are the biting point and parallel parking. With biting point being a challenging task, lot of Indians avoid it. So, on the road, it results in far higher reliance on the accelerator and the breaking, resulting in either inefficient engine performance or a traffic jam. Parallel parking, seemingly difficult, is not a rocket science. However, not many Indian drivers understand it perfectly and struggle with it.

Ultimately, how your car treats you, depends on how you treat your car. You screw it up, it will screw you up.

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