You probably drive your car on the road every day. But are you aware of what type of road you are driving on? We’re not talking metalled or unmetalled roads here. Within the category of metalled roads itself, there are 5 different types of roads, each with a different set of rules and overtaking permissions. All these roads are differentiated through the colour/pattern of the line going through the middle.
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They are strategically planned by the Ministry of Road Transport and placed across the country to suit the location they are in. The type of road to be used in a particular place is carefully thought out by them to ensure the civilians have the safest driving experience. Living in India, we are well aware that road rules are very commonly ignored by a majority of us. So let’s educate ourselves to ensure we are following the road rules correctly for a safe and sound driving experience.
Around the country, this is the most widespread type of road used. A broken white line gives you permission to change lanes, overtake and take U-turns. But you need to ensure beforehand that the road is clear and it is safe to perform such a maneuver.
A continuous white line is a tad stricter. On this road, you are not allowed to overtake other vehicles or take U-turns. If you are on this type of road, just keep moving straight. Crossing the line is only allowed to avoid accidents or to take turns. These roads are mostly seen on hilly areas where there is a high probability for accidents.
On such roads, overtaking is allowed but only when you are on your side. Crossing the yellow line isn’t permitted for either side. These roads are usually seen in areas with low visibility to establish that you need to stay on your side of the road.
Possibly the strictest road on the list. A Double Continuous Yellow line implies that crossing the line is strictly not permitted for either side. So that implies no overtaking, no U-turns or no lane changes. This pattern is usually seen on dangerous 2-lane roads where there is a high potential for disasters.
Possibly the most lenient one on the list. You are allowed to overtake, take U-turns and you could do both while going over the line (provided it is safe to do so).
Another important aspect that isn’t followed by almost all road users in India is the system of lanes. Each lane in between the road lines exists for a purpose to allow only certain types of vehicles to move over them. Sadly lane rules are rarely ever followed in our country. On our roads, people blatantly ignore all these restrictions and pretty much drive wherever they want. This is a major contributor to the increasing number of road accidents observed here especially on the highways. With the ever improving road structure, people also need to be educated on how to use them properly for holistic improvement of the country’s transportation infrastructure. So let’s take a look at how the lane system functions in India.
In India, we have only right-hand drive cars so we drive on the left side of the road. As a general rule as you move to the right side of the road, the speed you should be maintaining increases. So the leftmost side of the road is only for slow moving traffic. In the cities, you are mostly going to witness 2-lane roads. So when you are cruising at leisurely speeds, you would have to stick to the leftmost lane.
In the event that you have to overtake someone, you first look at the right lane and ensure if it is empty. Then you indicate to the side you are switching and overtake the person in front of you. You must ensure that you make this happen very smoothly and not in an abrupt and hurried manner where the person in front doesn’t get any time to react.
You will also often be faced with a situation where you are on the leftmost side of the road and it is leading to a left turn. So what will you do in case you wish to go straight here? Usually, it is advisable to keep an eye out for such turns and change your lane beforehand into the straight road. By doing this, you are not moving in the way of incoming traffic willing to take a left turn.
Otherwise, all you have to do is indicate to the side you are shifting to and complete the change in one smooth motion. Look out for the traffic behind you and slow down just a bit in case you see a vehicle approaching really fast. Let that vehicle pass and then perform the change. Be at the right speed and ensure you are not making any sudden direction changes.
Highways are the major source of accidents in the country. And again it is mostly because people are not aware of how to drive on the highways. Unlike the city roads, there are no signals here. Nowadays 3-lane highways have become pretty common in our country. So here, the structure works as slow, medium and fast as you move from the leftmost to the rightmost lane.
It is the safest bet to be on the middle lane on the highways. The slower vehicles will mostly be on your left while the faster ones will easily overtake you from the right. In case you are in the rightmost lane and a faster vehicle is behind you, just indicate to the left and give him/her way. You can switch back to the fast lane after the faster vehicle has crossed.
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Another important pointer to keep in mind is the use of the high beam. On the highways, there is a lot of windblast at higher speeds. The honking of the horn might not be audible over the wind noise in such situations. So it’s best to flash your beams at the same time to get the attention of the driver ahead of you. Another really important thing to keep in mind is to never swerve all the way from the rightmost lane to the leftmost lane or vice-versa. For 2-lane highways, the system is pretty much the same as 2-lane city roads.
So that sums up our explanation of the different road types and the lane system followed in our country. We urge you to follow these structures and rules at all times, regardless of the others around you to ensure your safety and well-being.