My last accident !!(My Road Trips)

road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp
My roadtrip... My last Accident

Mishaps doesn't end with Accident but starts with it!

Road Trip in India is an evolving & fast catching up concept, with lots of youngsters joining the bandwagon. I @ personal level have started embarking on road trips in India more than 15 years ago. This article talks about the turning point in my perception of road trip & how to go about it. To all my fellow Road trippers, mishaps doesn’t end with an accident but starts with it…!!

Morning 10am. Four people in the car, an elderly person 72 years of age (my father), a baby girl of 5 years (my daughter), my wife (sorry, can’t tell her age…๐Ÿ˜œ) & the driver (yours truly). My wife was sitting in the front seat next to driver’s seat (i.e. my seat) with father & daughter in the middle row, the car is Mahindra XUV 500. We were driving from Angul (Orissa) to Kolkata. We have started driving an hour back. It was narrow single lane road running through the villages of Orrisa. There were few 2 wheelers (primarily bikes & bicycles), few auto-rickshaws & handful of cars in the road. The maximum movement in the road was due to pedestrians๐Ÿคฏ. I was driving @ around 60Km/hr. & in next 100 meters there was a small speed breaker. There were 3 more vehicles @ that time around our car. The opposite side was a tempo approaching & on the same side on the left of the car was a scooter, two persons in it. Ahead of me was another car approx. 10 meters in front. Suddenly, one biker from the opposite side (it came from an inside lane of the other side, completely invisible to naked eye), just somehow missed hitting the tempo & came right in front of me in speed...!!!

As a human instinct , I turned the steering on the other side(left side, the road-side adjacent to us) & pressed the brakes….next I know the car was jumping on the construction slabs kept on the road side & it was moving on in spite of me trying level best to stop…then it went inside the grass…among the trees just adjacent to the huts of the villagers….it skidded further…then hit something with a loud sound..!!...& the car tilted around 30 degree to the left..!!
road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp

It hit a pole...the first thing that dawned on me… every passenger in the car alive….wait a sec….those passengers are my core family members….my father, daughter, wife…that moment is probably the worst moment in my life till date….I was scared to turn around…in fearing the worst

Then I heard my daughter’s voice…she started crying…. i immediately turned back to see my daughter lying in between the seats & my father thrown to the other side of the middle row seat (that’s almost 1 meter in the XUV).  My wife, who was sitting beside the driver’s seat (where I was sitting) called out for help…. she has fallen between the seat & the dashboard…all were in bad shapebut still I was relieved….as all were alive

All of them were wounded with cut marks & scratches…. we took almost 5 minutes to get all of us back in place in the car. I realized the car is not idling (in start position) & tried to restart the car, but that was not to happen. Then my daughter called out for me pointing outside the car, I looked outside to see a group of locals (around 50 of them) have surrounded the car. They looked aggressive & were shouting, I didn’t take notice earlier as was more concerned with the passenger’s well-being & the window-pane was rolled up. Then it stuck me, have I hit somebody….is the person dead…!!
road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp

We were quickly surrounded by a group of villagers even before we could disembark out of the car….& definitely they were not so polite..!!...Given the position of the car ( as you can see in the pic), it was very difficult to come out of the car….as the left side doors were completely damaged & locked due to the impact…so we all could somehow crawl to come out from the left side….the side where the villagers have gathered. So, we came out to land directly face-to-face to the villagers.
Just a quick prelude to this accident, we left Mumbai 2 days back for a Road-Trip from Mumbai to Kolkata, nearly 2100 Km. We had covered 1700 kms already & Angul was a detour to meet one of our relatives on the way. Mind what I said, 1700 Kms in 2 days, that’s approx. 850 Kms per day...!!... ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜ฒ and the D-Day was the 3rd day in a row of our travel

How good am I as a driver??...well that’s for the passengers to answer..๐Ÿ˜ƒ add few numbers here…I have been driving for last 26 years ( in fact it’s the 2nd license I got from RTO, after first one lived its life…๐Ÿ˜„, have driven for approx. 10 Lakh Kms….across not less than 100 cities ….primarily India ( the terrain is across urban to rural, covering major variations in road types) & few abroad ( last one is from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur)…driven @least 50 models of cars…(thanks to the local sales team, whenever I travel to any location for market visits as a part of business trips, used to drive the car of the local reps)…
road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp

To sum-up...26 years of driving.10 L Km..100 Cities…50 different car models...!!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ…good numbers for a common man…I would say…!!

Till now it was the physical incidence..!! it was bearable….trust me it was….compared to the mental torture..!!...I vividly remember few moments before the impact….i was thinking about the 2 passengers sitting in the middle seat…one a 72 year old senior citizen & the other a 5 year old child…also equally scared about running into somebody in the bush…as the visibility seconds before the impact was practically zero..!!

Well, to tell you it was the beginning of a very nervous and in many instances dangerous next 12 hours…!!
As we disembarked from the car, I realized I haven’t hit any human…there was an enormous relief. The villagers, primarily middle-aged males, surrounded us. The leaders of the group encircled me and started to speak in harsh local language. My mother tongue being Bengali, I could decipher partly the local Oriya language, they were threatening me to beat up if I don’t pay them. Wait a sec…pay them for what….!!. I kept on asking them the same question…. pay you for what...??...They kept on demanding money.

During this time, I noticed few of the other villagers, trying to open the car. I rushed to stop them, when one of the leaders got hold of the collar of my t-shirt…. i was shocked๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜จ My father & wife jumped in to stop the villager who has holding me by collar, few other locals also came in quickly & pushed the villager back…. he then left my collar. By this time, there were almost a couple of hundred people who have gathered, all spectators, few clicking photos & shooting videos of the car & us…. but nobody came forward to help…just nobody. We four were stranded in the middle of hundreds of very hostile locals.

I rechecked whether the car was locked & took my family to the nearest road-side tea stall, on the other side of the road, few meters away from the place of accident. The leaders of the villagers followed us, but much of the crowd stayed near the car, peeping inside, trying to open the car.

We all had some water & freshened up, when It struck me that I should call up my relative for help (whose house @ Angul we were coming from). After debriefing my relative, I asked for the number of local police station from the shop owner of the tea-stall, but he didn’t have it. It was clear to me, the best way out from this ordeal was to get help from the local police station. I was feeling slightly better now, having spoken to my relative over phone & was expecting him to be with us in an hour’s time. This time, my wife pointed out blood dripping from my leg & hand…I was hurt…didn’t realize it because of the situation. It was deep cut @ hand and a very long scratch in the leg. We had the first-aid in the car, but I didn’t want to go there as it was still surrounded by those locals.

This is the time, when one gentleman, came up to us & spoke in Hindi…. the guy looked local (Sunny- named changed to maintain privacy) …. around 25 years of age and better dressed than the villagers. He had the first-aid with him. He offered me the first aid. It was around 12noon by that time, 2 hours post-accident. Suddenly, we saw the local police van approaching, somebody was kind enuf to intimate the police.

The police quickly made us sit in the van & took us to the police station. The way they did it, swiftly and silently, made my feeling stronger that we were not so safe out there in the accident spot. Sunny followed us in his bike. It was a small police station, with one lock-up @ the backyard. As we entered, one cop took me away from my family (literally dragged) and made me sit just outside the lock-up….!! Till date never in my life I have seen a prison so close…it was scary…. trust me it was. Things started to run in my mind…. what if I am put in prison…? what will happen to the family…what will happen to me… car…all sorts…& all negative thoughts.

After some time, the head of the station called me. As I went inside his cabin, first thing he asked “Why did you drive while you were drunk?”…..I was taken-aback๐Ÿ˜ฎbefore I could reply came the 2nd question “How many people did you kill by your car?”….now I was speechless…..I re-grouped & answered him in as little words as possible” Sir, I am not drunk. No human was hit in the accident, the car hit a pole. I have my family who were also travelling with me in the same car”. I think the last point about the family helped, he immediately called out for my family, took a glance @ them & then told the constable to go through the process & release me.

My relative along with his friends have arrived by then. Sunny was also there constantly interacting with the police to make the process smoother. We checked up to see the nearest #MahindraServiceStation to be approx. 150 Km away...!๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜ฑ @ Cuttack. We had an #RSA (Road Side Assistance) with #Mahindra signed up. I called up the call center of the RSA, only to know that the RSA service was also located @ Cuttak.150 Km from the accident spot๐Ÿ˜ฉ. After a few calls (it took almost couple of hours over phone, speaking to people @ various levels @ call center, service station & Mahindra), to my pleasant surprise… they agreed to send the pick-up vehicle all the way from Cuttack & drop it back @ Mahindra service station @ Cuttack…( i.e. 300 Kms up & down)…this was the first positive actual incidence since the accident in the morning…..I was relieved…that things are falling back in place…..but that was not to be.

The process took its own time @ police station & approx. 6pm (that’s around 6 hours @ police station), things got over. We decided to go back to the accident site expecting the localities to have gone by then & also anticipating the toeing vehicle to arrive @ the accident spot.

We drove in #Kaushik’s car to the spot while Sunny followed us in his bike. It was dusk with around 10 villagers sparsely spread around the car, it looked no harm to me. We parked Kaushik’s car around 200 meters away from the accident spot & walked across the road to my car. Everything seemed ok. We decided to have a quick grab, as none of us had eaten till that time of the day, while waiting for the toeing vehicle to arrive.

In next 45 min, approx. 7pm the toeing vehicle was there. Four of us, myself, Kaushik & his friend &Sunny went back near to my car. The toeing vehicle took 15 min to be in right position to pull the car up. We all were witnessing the process.

Suddenly, from somewhere (I even don’t know from where), a group of around 15 people came running….in that darkness (as it was the road was not well lit), I could identify them as the same leadership group of villagers that was there in the morning. They directly came & surrounded me...!!...5 guys encircled me & remaining 10 guys were busy ensuring no other person can intervene…. Kaushik tried hard to push in but all in vain…!! Those 5 guys who surrounded me were drunk…. I could smell it…. One had a rod in hand…. the other 2 hold my both hands. I was clear it’s not for an easy ending here.

Suddenly one of them started speaking in broken Hindi. ๐Ÿ˜ต. In a nut shell this is what he had to say…U can’t run  away before paying…..don’t be smart enuf to come in the darkness & take the car away….pay before you take the car….don’t take help of police…..we won’t let the car out from here….what u thought….we have left….no we didn’t….we knew u will come only during night to take your car….so pay now….INR 10K….suddenly one hit me….one tight slap & a punch on face.

 Before I could react…. I heard Kaushik shouting…. I AM READY TO PAY…...!!

Immediately, everybody left me & surrounded Kaushik. He was smart enuf to tell them, he will discuss IF & ONLY IF I can leave….to my surprise they all agreed instantaneously. So, I was deported from the accident spot to the place where Kaushik’s car was parked by, approx. 200 meters on the other side of the road.

 I was worried…worried….as those villagers were drunk…. I had my family & friends to think about…. & …. worst is every time the villagers saw me…. they went aggressive…which effectively meant…I was of no use to handle the situation. I left it to destiny & sit down in the car. ๐Ÿ˜ซ
Post this I became a far-away spectator, witnessed all Kaushik, his friend Sunny going through the difficult task to manage those drunk villagers….I am still ashamed about it & would continue to do so for a long time to come.,…as I couldn’t contribute in anyway…although it’s me finally….who did the accident….. Starting from the accident happened…!

Four of us-myself, father, wife & daughter sat in Kaushik’s car in a pensive mood, nobody uttered a single word. Then Sunny came back to tell us they negotiated with the villagers for INR 4000. Now everything was under control. In next 45 min my car was on the “flat-bed toeing van” ready to travel 150 km back to Cuttack. We left along with car & reached back to Kaushik’s house by around 10pm @ night.

I just thanked god for things finally to end. It haunted me for few months to follow, although I started driving after 15 days once my wounds healed. Getting back to wheels was more to tell myself that I continue to be a good driver & get the confidence back. We got our car back after 2 months.

Thanks all who helped...
I would again thank #KaushikDey, his friend & Sunny, without them, god knows what would have happened. Special thanks to the #Mahindra Service centre manager Mr. S..eer B….(name confidentiality maintained) who helped us right from getting the insurance claimed, proper repair of the vehicle and getting it transferred to Mumbai. It was an amazing gesture from the entire team of #Mahindra of cuttack service centre while I could only sit and watch remotely from Mumbai. And last but not the least, the RSA of #Mahindra – I know we had an #RSA (Road Side Assistance) with #Mahindra signed up but trust me this was probably the one of the better RSAs I have availed till now (I shall be coming up with another article on my experiences with RSA service)

Road Trips--- Revised Version
Before I embarked on the next Road trip post the accident (Mumbai- Hyderabad), I first did sit down & thought through what went wrong in the last one & how could the entire things could have been made better. I have tried to summarize it below:

Defensive Driving: This concept is widely used globally & is making in-roads among drivers in India also. In fact, few corporates also do follow it as a part of their HSEQ (Health, Safety, Environment, Quality) policy.
road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp

  1. Drive for (1.5-2) hours & then take a break of (15-20) min. Follow this without fail, even if you feel you can continue driving after 2 hours. Research shows, the rate @ which the fatigue sets in to the driver, increases exponentially with increased hours of continuous driving…. Which effectively means the fatigue for first 2 hours of driving will be far less than last 2 hours…!!.... We road trippers feel it, but rarely take precautionary measure. Keeping in mind the accident that happened, one reason can be also the long hours of drive for continuous 2 days prior to the accident.
  2. Safe distance from the vehicle in front: What is the safe distance & how do we know?? keep it simple & understandable….take any stationary object on road….say one pole…just after the vehicle in front of you have crossed the pole…start counting 1001, 1002…your vehicle shouldn’t cross that pole before you have counted those 2 numbers. In case of wet roads, the count should be 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004. It’s impossible for you to hit the vehicle in front if you follow this…as by this process….the speeds are relative speeds between the vehicles & not the absolute speed ๐Ÿ‘…probably the accident could have been averted had I maintained  safe-distance with the car ahead, as I would have seen the bike coming before & would have got more time to react….may be could have stopped my car.
I changed my driving time in road trips. Unlike earlier, when I used to start after breakfast & drive late till night, I made a habit to start early morning after sunrise, have breakfast in between & stop driving with sunset. This gave me time for proper sleep @ night & also made the entire trip more fun filled.

I ensured we always have some snacks in the car. We Road trippers generally do it, but there is also a habit to “lets pick up from the next stop”๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‰…. there is no “next-stop”, pick it up from that-particular-stop. We probably won’t have starved on the accident day, had there been some snacks in the car.

I learnt all the traffic signs all over again…& me…once I tried to learn….I came to know more than half I didn’t know..๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฏ..those traffic signs are far more useful in highway drives(road trips) than city drive….the accident day…the bike came from an inside lane….what I didn’t understand was the signboard just before that said that there is a lane that connects ahead….I would have definitely reduced my speed had I knew to read that signage.

Last & not the least--- Drive with less speed--- old clichรฉ—right๐Ÿ˜œ……wrong๐Ÿ˜ ….it’s very true….speed is the single most biggest reason for accidents….had that day my speed been @ around 40km/hr.…..maybe I would have controlled the car….may be the accident could have been averted. I follow a simple equation….if I feel the conditions are good enough to drive @ 80km/ hr.…..I drive it @60km/hr.… more point ……which I believe many will agree….if you drive fast…u tend to wear out faster….because you need to brake regularly…&..need to concentrate more….a research done on Mumbai-Pune express way has thrown this data….if one drives as per the speed regulations...which is @ max 80Km/hr...vis-a-vis…one drives as if he/she is fleeing from a chasing dinosaur ๐Ÿ˜„, the difference in time is only 15 minutes to cover the entire expressway stretch..!!
road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp

Rest we Road-Trippers are “Born to Drive” ….
road trips, RSA, accident, car, Mahindra, driving. driver, road, road side assistance, XUV500, safe driving, defensive driving, HSEQ, driving signs, safety,durga puja,teambhp

Keep driving๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘ …hope to  drive together for the next destination…. ๐Ÿ‘ but as of now, if you have anything to comment, please fill in the below box and subscribe for all my upcoming articles

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  1. Oh my God ! It was really scary but thank God it ended well... Keep the spirit of driving up.

  2. Quiet a thriller...

  3. �� Wow! What a story! Must have been one hell of a day! Nonetheless like you pointed out, great learnings and lots of God-sent people! Looking forward to hear about more of your escapades!

  4. Seems quiet a close miss. Thank God, no human was hurt. It was really scary to read through


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