Navigating through heavy traffic during a long weekend road trip can turn into a stressful ordeal for both you and your car. The Mumbai-Pune expressway, notorious for lengthy traffic snarls, witnessed a particularly challenging situation during the Christmas 2023 weekend, with reports of cars breaking down and causing a 12-kilometer traffic jam. To ensure you don’t find yourself in a similar predicament, consider these tips to safeguard your vehicle and maintain your peace of mind:
Keep a close eye on your engine temperature gauge. If it approaches the ‘H’ mark or exceeds 100 degrees Celsius, or if you observe an engine temperature warning light, pull over immediately, and turn off the engine to prevent severe damage. Overheating could stem from issues with the radiator, coolant pump, or thermostat.
Kill the Engine Power
To prevent engine malfunctions in prolonged traffic, turn off your engine when stuck in congestion for extended periods. If your vehicle is equipped with an idle stop/start feature, leverage it to minimize engine running time during traffic halts. Keep an eye on the engine warning check light for potential issues.
Roll Down Windows and Moderate AC Use
In heavy traffic or uphill stretches, turn off the air conditioning and roll down the windows. The additional strain on the system in congested conditions can contribute to engine overheating. Consider using the AC sparingly to enhance fuel economy during traffic jams.
Shift to Neutral and Engage Handbrake
Minimize clutch usage in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on steep terrain to prevent engine overheating or clutch damage. Regardless of your transmission type (manual or automatic), shift to neutral and engage the handbrake when your car is stationary.
Take It Slow, Maintain Distance
Exercise caution in long traffic snarls by maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front. This precaution is especially crucial on inclines or when trailing a large vehicle that obstructs your view. Adhering to this rule can prevent potential rollbacks or abrupt stops.
Perform a Quick Pre-check
Before embarking on your journey, conduct a proactive check or service your car to ensure all components function correctly. Pay attention to engine oil, various fluids, battery health, tire pressures, and brakes.
Patience Is the Key
In the midst of traffic, patience is your greatest ally. Avoid attempting to maneuver between lanes or maintaining an overly precise distance from the vehicle in front. This not only promotes efficient driving but also helps you respond appropriately to unexpected situations.
In conclusion, follow these essential guidelines for a stress-free and smooth road trip through traffic. Prioritize both your well-being and your car’s health, ensuring an enjoyable and memorable journey. Safe travels!