Category Archives: Driving

Auto Expo: A Brief Introduction

The Auto Expo is Asia’s largest biennial automotive show held in Greater Noida, NCR, India. Conceived in 1985 and making its debut in 1986 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, the expo is focused towards introducing new technology, concepts, innovation and designs in the auto industry.

Jointly organized by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the Auto Expo’s path-breaking debut show was a window for technology transfers representing how the Indian Automotive Industry was absorbing the new technologies and promoting indigenous research and development for adapting these technologies for the rugged Indian conditions.

Over the years, the show has only grown stronger. By 2006, it began to see huge overseas participation, with new concepts, launches, as well as trade dialogues. In 2008, it was accredited by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), cementing its reputation as one of the world’s most premier auto shows.

In 2020, the 15th Auto Show aimed to not only focus on the static display of motor vehicles but to also focus on the ‘Entire Mobility Eco-System’, enveloped by the theme of “Co-Create, Co-Exist and Celebrate”. Despite the slowdown in the Indian motor industry, the expo had several big brands take part in the event showcasing multiple new concept cars, with electric vehicles taking centre stage.

Today, the Auto Expo is eagerly anticipated by brands and fans alike.

Low Beam vs. High Beam: When to Use These Headlights

Headlights are designed specifically to cater to the safety and convenience of the driver and ensure the visibility of other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, animals, as well as other obstacles on the road.

Headlights come in two specific modes — low beam and high beam. The main difference between low and high beam headlights is that a low beam is used for normal night-time driving; whereas high beams are used for driving on roads that have little to no light.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE YOUR LOW BEAM LIGHTS?
Low beam headlights illuminate the road better in certain conditions and allow other drivers to see your vehicle without blinding them, ensuring fewer accidents. They are also ideal for all weather conditions or anytime your visibility is less than 150 metres. As a lower\ beam lights up the road at short ranges, you’ll mostly use them in the city with well-lit roads and areas. Low beams are designed to aim light down to the ground and towards the side; this way they don’t blind vehicles in the opposite direction or those in front of you.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE YOUR HIGH BEAM LIGHTS?
High beam headlights are only suited for use in poorly-lit urban roads and rural areas. They should have limited city usage as they tend to blind oncoming traffic due to their bright, long-range illumination. They’re usually used on highways and areas without much traffic. Because high beams are so bright, be sure to switch to your low beam when you’re approaching a vehicle from behind so you don’t blind the driver ahead of you.

While high beams increase your visibility to 350 to 400 feet and help increase visibility when driving on dark streets or highways, you should never solely rely on high beams; nor should you use them on city roads amongst traffic. Never use high beams during unfavourable weather conditions as they cause glare and momentary blindness, making them extremely unsafe.

Over time, headlights tend to get dirty with accumulated dirt, and this can cause lower illumination and visibility on dark roads. Remember to clean your headlights occasionally as a necessary safety measure.

Make sure you adjust your driving speed according to the road and traffic conditions and always be considerate of the other drivers around you.

FASTag: What is it?

In an attempt to reduce traffic at toll plazas, the Government of India has mandated electronic payments at all toll plazas across India. To this effect, the government has introduced FASTag.

What is FASTag?
Operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), FASTag is a simple to use, electronic toll collection system and reloadable tag, which enables automatic deduction of toll charges. It is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly, letting you pass through the toll plaza without stopping for a cash transaction. It is linked to your prepaid account of choice, from which the toll amount is deducted. The FASTag is affixed on the windscreen of your vehicle after the tag account is active, allowing you to drive through toll plazas without the need to stop for a cash payment.

What are the benefits of using FASTag?

Easy payment – It removes the necessity to carry cash for payments.

Saves time – The instant payment saves you from waiting in those long toll booth queues; as well as saving you the hassle of waiting for your change and knowing how much you need to pay.

Cashback – Payments made through FASTag offer a cashback of up to 2.5% on all tolls for the year 2019-20.

Online Recharge – FASTag can be recharged conveniently through multiple online options: Credit Card/Debit Card/NEFT/RTGS/Net banking and Point of Sale (POS) locations, with the most recent feature update adding a Google Pay UPI option as well.

Ease of Tracking – You get regular SMS alerts to your registered mobile number each time any transactions are done using the tag, for low balance, etc. Periodic statement of account may also be taken from the online portal website.

Online Portal – To view transaction statements, wallet balance, raise queries, recharge, etc.

The FASTag App:
To accelerate the transition to the electronic payment mode, the road ministry, National Highway Authority of India and Indian Highways Company have launched a My FASTag app. The app allows users to buy FASTtags online, find point-of-purchase locations offline, recharge their tags, and make payments. The app also provides access to a list of operational FASTtag toll plazas across the country, 24×7 highway toll-free hotline and banks’ helpline numbers.

How much does it cost?
FASTag has a one-time fee of ₹200. The refundable security deposit depends on the vehicle type. With a reissuance fee of ₹100.

Specific lanes:
The toll booth lanes will be divided by those paying cash and those with a FASTag pass. The FASTag will work only in the lanes assigned for it. Take note that if any vehicles without a valid FASTag enter the FASTag lane, they will be charged double the applicable toll amount in cash.

FASTag is currently operational at 180 toll plazas across national and state highways with more toll plazas being brought under the program in the future.

Learn more about FASTag here

Safety Tips When Driving in the Hills

Travelling to the hills and driving there can be just as thrilling as it can be dangerous. There can be blind curves and hairpin bends and the driver needs to know how to navigate these. There are some necessary cautions and hill driving etiquette that need to be followed at all times.

Here are some tips to follow while driving in hilly regions:

Go Slow:
Do not exceed the approved speed limit while driving to any Hill Station. Watch out for the road signs that instruct you on the ideal speed for the location you are in. Speeding is dangerous on mountain roads and not the place you’d want to test out how fast your car can go. Gravity will work against you whether you are driving up or downhill. Slow down on all curves and descend at the same speed that you used while going up, and drive below the speed limit on curves.

Overtaking:
Overtaking is a risk even on the plains but tenfold on mountain roads. If you must overtake, always check traffic signs for bends, if the road is wide enough, and watch the vehicle in front of you for any signs of change in speed or swerving. When going uphill remember the traffic against you is moving faster coming downhill. Be smart in your judgement before you attempt it.

Know the types of roads:
Before you start your trip, do research on the type of road you will be driving on. Whether it is a typical narrow hilly drive or a well laid dual carriageway. Roads could vary from a good 4 or 6 or even 8 lane expressway to an off-beaten, bumpy path, it is always safer to be mentally prepared for different kinds of roads that are in the area you are travelling to.

Know your driving skills:
You should know just how much your car can take. Does it have the power to climb those steep roads? Will it carry a full load? You should also know how to handle your car to get the best out of it on those uphill pulls. The steeper the road, the more you will have to use lower gears to climb them, as well as lower gears together with accurate braking techniques while descending. Be vigilant about your tyres, your braking and your steering, especially on wet/damp roads.

No matter how much you want to, it’s never a good idea to try out those Fast and Furious drifting manoeuvres you’ve seen in the films. As adventurous as you feel, safety is still the priority.