Before Start

Things to Watch Before Starting to Drive

Before starting to drive ensure that you are capable, mental and physically prepared to drive. There are certain preparatory measures that applies to both two-wheeler and four wheeler driver and there are certain checks that applies only for the car drivers, for example adjusting steering, seats or checking wipers etc. As a responsible driver you must always keep necessary document along with you when you are driving. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India have provided provisions where motor vehicle owners or drivers can keep verified documents in digital format in mParivahan mobile app. Things to watch, before you gear up for driving are described hereunder:

  1. Stay Mentally and Emotionally Calm
    Just as physical health, mental health is also required to drive safely. When we are upset or emotionally disturbed, it affects our driving behaviour. Therefore, drive when you are mentally and emotionally stable.
  2. Choose the Correct Attire and Shoes
    It is always advised to wear proper clothes and footwear when you are driving alone or with a passenger. We have seen example of accident that are caused due to loosen clothing such as tangling clothes in bikes chainwheel. Professional bikers drive with utmost care and wear all the safety gears such as jacket, gloves, knee caps and boots. Never drive a vehicle wearing slippers or flip flops.
  3. Check Tyre Pressure
    Gauge the tyre pressure regularly. Driving with under inflated or over inflated tyres is always dangerous and may lead to a road accident. Also regularly top up air pressure in your tyres and maintain the optimum pressure. Choose to do so fortnightly or when refueling at the fuel station. If the tyre is flat, replace it with the spare tyre and get the flat tyre repaired.
  4. Walk Around Vehicle to and Check Nothing is Obstructing
    Before getting into your car, walk around the vehicle to ensure any sort of obstruction such as stones or potholes near your wheels. It is also a good habit to check beneath your vehicle. At times stray animals such as dogs etc. find shelter beneath your vehicle. Your path should be free of obstacles so that you can clear out driving safely. Remove the stones or the fallen leaves on your windscreen before you get inside the car.
  5. Check All Fluid Levels
    Keep a check on all types of fluid levels such as engine oil, brake fluid and coolant etc. There is no need to check them on daily basis. You may do so once in a fifteen days or in a month. Top up the fluids whenever you feel it is necessary.
  6. Make Sure Windscreen is Clean
    The front and the rear windscreen, rear view mirror and all other glass areas should be clean and dust free. Dust particles may settle overnight. It is a good practice to wipe out the dust from all glass surfaced to have better and clear visibility. Before starting your journey clean them properly.
  7. Adjust the Rear View Mirrors
    Adjust the rear view mirrors for the most optimal view. You should be able to see the small portion of the rear end of your car along with the lane next to it on your outside rear view mirrors. The cabin rear view mirror should look through the rear windscreen and should guide you as to what is exactly behind you.
  8. Adjust Your Seating Position
    This may be more frequent when you are not the only driver. When a vehicle is driven by some other driver, he might have done the adjustments according to his physique. It is always preferable to adjust the driving seat according to your height and physical build. Start your journey when you feel comfortable on the driving seat. You should be able to reach up to the pedals without having to stretch your legs, while your hands should not lock when holding the steering wheel. You should also be able to reach to the other controls of your car when on the driving seat.
  9. Adjust the Steering Wheel
    Just like seat, also adjust your steering wheel according to your requirement if your steering wheel is adjustable. The steering wheel should face towards your chest and not the face. Your arms should be bent and thumbs should be on the rim of the steering, hold the steering at quarter to two or three position.
  10. Adjust the Head Restraint
    Head Restraint or Head Rest is a very important safety mechanism that most of the people do think about it. The position of the head rest should be appropriate such that in an event of a crash it supports your head and neck. When brakes are applied aggressively or your vehicle is hit to an object your head deflects forwards and then strike back. When the head rest is at appropriately adjusted it will prevent you from severe neck injury or whiplash injury.
  11. Wear Your Safety Gear
    Before starting your vehicle ensure you wear the required safety gear. It is seatbelt in case of a car and helmet when starting to drive a two wheeler. If your car has a seatbelt alarm, it is good, otherwise make it a habit of using safety gears before turning or switching your ignition key. Irrespective of the distance to be travelled the safety gear should always be used. It is for your safety and your loved ones. Wearing a standard safety gear is also mandated by the law.
  12. Check all the Warning Lights
    There are multiple warning and information lights provided in the instrument cluster of your vehicle. If your engine is showing you any warning lights, please do not ignore it. Engine light ON would means it is required to take the vehicle to the service station, or the oil warning light could mean, you are running on old oil and it is time for replacement. If the car is heating up too often, make sure you top up the coolant before starting your journey. Also check that the odometer, speedometer, temperature gauge and fuel gauge are working properly.
  13. Check Brakes
    Before you set out on your journey, make sure to check the brakes and see if they have the needed stopping power. If you feel the brakes are not effective enough, first head to the service shop or get the brakes repaired. Ignoring your brakes can result into a life threatening situation.
  14. Ensure to Carry Required Document and Emergency Kit
    You must always carry the required documents with you. As per the laws you must keep the original documents with you. Check the documents that can be kept in verified digital format on your mobile phone. Saving files on your mobile as JPG, PDF or any other format is not considered a verified document. You may use mParivahan App launched by NIC to digitally store your vehicle registration and driving license virtually. When you store your vehicle registration certificate, the other information such as insurance and PUC status will be fetched from the database and will be visible in the app. Keep a standard emergency kit with sufficient supplies in your vehicle.

Follow these steps to have a smooth drive no matter how big or small the journey is. Keeping in mind these steps will also result in regular maintenance of your vehicle.

Do Not Drive If You

  1. Have been drinking alcohol.
  2. Taking any medicine or drug that affects your responses.
  3. Are tired as tiredness affects your driving skills and reaction time.
  4. Are sick or injured.
  5. Are angry or upset.
  6. Feeling dizzy after having meals. Have proper rest and then get ready to drive.