Getting ready to drive
Before driving
  • Ensure that you are comfortable with your mental and physical condition.
  • Inspect your vehicle and observe the driving conditions.
  • While driving you should carry your driving licence, registration certificate, insurance certificate and pollution control certificate. Transport and commercial vehicle drivers should carry the permits and vehicle fitness certificates also.
A combination of knowledge, skill and attitude is required to be a safe driver.

Knowledge of traffic rules and driving practices that help traffic move safely.

Skill to care about the safety of others on the road. We all are responsible for avoiding accidents.

Attitude to co-operate with other drivers to keep traffic moving safely. We must be courteous, giving other drivers space to change lanes, not cutting them off and signalling before turning.
Physical and mental alertness
Be in good physical and mental condition before driving.


  • have been drinking alcohol. 
  • taking any medicine or drug that affects your responses.
  • are tired as tiredness affects your driving skills and reaction time.
  • are sick or injured. 
  • are angry or upset. 

You could be risking your life or lives of others on the road.

Know your vehicle

Go through the vehicle owner's manual. 

You should know the features of the vehicle you are going to drive. Example - Anti-lock brakes, 4-wheel drive. 

Ensure you know where the controls and instruments are and what they do. Check that all emergency signals and instruments work. 

You should be able to turn on wipers, washers, headlights, indicators etc. without having to look at them and without taking your eyes off the road.

Seating position

Proper, upright position gives more stability while driving. Make sure you can see over the steering wheel and hood. You should be able to see the ground 4-5 feet in front of the vehicle for proper judgment. 

Sit straight upright in the seat with your elbows slightly bent. Adjust the seat so your feet reach the pedals easily. Place your feet flat on the floor under the brake pedal. You are seated properly if you can do this.

Adjust the head-rest to proper height. It protects in case of a collision. 

Cars with air bags: Air bag can cause injuries if the seating position is incorrect.

Know how air bag works
Have a clear view

You should have a clear view while driving. Make sure nothing blocks your view. The windows of your vehicle should not be coated with any material that blocks your view. 

Know your blind spots

Blind spot is an area on each side of the vehicle that you cannot see through the mirrors. Mostly blind spots are to the back left and back right of the vehicle. In the above graphic, the red car is in the blind spot area of the silver car. The green areas in the above graphic show the blind spots of the silver car.

Adjust the mirrors to get the maximum view and identify your blind spots. You may not see vehicles when they are in these spots.

Position the interior mirror so that the centre of the mirror shows the centre of the rear window. When the interior mirror is properly adjusted you would be able to see directly behind your vehicle. 

The exterior (wing) mirror adjustment should be made while seated normally for driving. Do not set the right-hand extrerior mirror by placing your head against the glass of the driver's door window. Do not adjust the left-hand exterior mirror by leaning to the centre of the vehicle.

Side mirrors show only narrow angles of view, so you have to turn your head to make sure there is nothing in your blind spots.

Check Setting the Wing Mirrors by Eddie Wren. Reverse the 'lefts' and the 'rights' as the write-up is for American drivers.

Fasten your seat belt
Fasten your seat belt before you start. Seat belts are for your safety not just for avoiding challans. 

Seat belts should be worn comfortable enough to keep you in your seat if there is a collision. Put the shoulder strap over your shoulder, never under your arm. The lap belt should be put low over the hips, not over the stomach.


  • Seat belt keeps you behind the wheel and in control of the vehicle in case of a collision.
  • Seat belt keeps your head and body from hitting the inside of the vehicle.
  • Seat belt keeps you inside the vehicle in a collision. A person who is thrown out of the vehicle during the collision has a higher chance of getting serious injury.
Know how seat belt works
Turn on headlights at night and in poor light conditions

Turn on headlights around 30 minutes before sunset and keep them on until 30 minutes after sunrise. Turn on your lights when fog or rain reduces your visibility to less than 100 meters. 

Keep your headlights clean and get them adjusted regularly so that they aim properly. In dim light, use your headlights, not parking lights. Parking lights are only for parking. 

You do not need to use highbeams on Chandigarh roads. If you are travelling on a highway and using highbeam headlights, switch to lowbeams within 150 metres of an oncoming vehicle. Switch to your lowbeams when you are less than 60 metres behind another vehicle.