6 Smart ways to avoid traffic challans on Indian roads

After being fined by the traffic police for speeding recently, I decided to save my hard-earned money and think of ways to prevent any further violations.

BHPian warrioraks recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Let me start off by calling out very clearly that the idea of this thread is not to promote illegal practices in any way.

What triggered the post was my recent experience with the traffic department and the general sentiment on the forum that challans are aggressively being issued throughout the country. Just go through this recent thread by ‘Emvi’ if you want to read about the experiences of our forum members and you will know in an instant what I am talking about.

Although the government’s efforts to bring some sanity to the roads are appreciable. But at the same time, it seems that the speed limits and the implementation of traffic laws are turning out to be a big mess. There is a growing perception that the government’s intention is to squeeze out people’s bank balance rather than deterrence and road safety. Giving up, most of us have accepted the challans as the cost of driving in the country (what other option do we have anyway?). I think one of the primary reasons for this mess is that Indian infrastructure, speed limit enforcement technology and traffic challan amounts are slowly inching towards global standards (especially Delhi NCR) but laws are still archaic and the speed limits are truly ridiculous. This is leading to a situation where enforcing compliance to a badly drafted law is turning out to be as bad as not enforcing a good law.

A quick look at the steep fines we have in Delhi for a few common traffic offences:

Yours truly was challaned recently for doing 70 km/hour on one of the best roads in Delhi. Since that day, I have been extra cautious not to give away the remainder of my hard-earned money to the government (~50% of it still goes to them through direct or indirect taxes).

Here are a few things I have tried over the past couple of months that seem to have worked for me. These might be trivial for many but I hope at least some folks find them useful.

Being extra aware of board signages

The old me would not even pay attention to speed signs and other boards. In hindsight, this was not a good practice and the transformed me makes sure I now actively lookout for traffic signage.

Carrying vehicle documentation everywhere

In the past, I would only bother about having a license on me but that does not make the cut anymore. I now make sure I have the RC, PUC, insurance, and license with me all time when I am on the road. I have also installed Mparivahan app on my phone with license and RC downloaded in offline mode as an extra precaution. The app is pretty slick till the time is working. The paranoid me now also has a copy of the important documents on google drive in case the Mparivahan app throws tantrums.

RadarBot app for speed camera alerts

Now I am not related to this app in any way but I find it very useful. The app practically alerts you of the presence of speed traps a few hundred metres in advance. It is pretty accurate hitting the mark nearly 70-80% of the time and this has been a game-changer for me.

Undoing customizations

I am not a big fan of customizations but my bike had a non-stock silencer. Not the loud ones you get from Karol Bagh but a sweet exhaust note emitting piece of metal I got couriered from Bangalore.

Gurgaon cops are happy to fine you 10k for anything that does not come from the RE showroom and going back to the stock silencer was the hardest thing I had to do for avoiding penalties.

Collateral damage: My city bike travel has gone down and I am keen to pick the car more often now.

Extensive use of cruise control

Until recently, I thought of cruise control only as a highway thing. But driving an i-Vtec and staying within 50 or 60 km/hour on the finest roads of the country is really really tough (impossible I mean). On top of that, being a spirited driver does not help. As a solution to my ‘pedal to the metal’ philosophy/problem, I have taken to extensive use of cruise control within the city. It helps by keeping my feet off the accelerator and minimizing the chances of accidental overspeeding. Who knew cruise control could be a solution for city driving in India?

Calm mind

I have found this as the most effective way to beat the eyes of our law enforcers. A calmer mind really helps you keep the fort, especially when you see other people brazenly breaking the law – wrong side driving, over-speeding, rash lane-changing, etc etc.

My new mantra is – Keep Calm and Drive on.

Knock on the wood, I have been able to stay in the right sight of the law with these hacks. BHPians – If you have some tricks up your sleeve, then do share!

DISCLAIMER: All pictures are sourced from Google.

Here’s what BHPian VKumar had to say on the matter:

With the threads like this one emerging:

I would say that there is just one way to avoid the challan, and the way is – ‘quit driving’, or take the bus!

Every time in life, I have been challaned only for overspeeding, and this is what I have learned.

Cops actually put their speed guns only in three sections:

  • Sections with unrealistic speed limits
  • On arrow-straight highways, just next to some corner. You always end up speeding, and the moment you see the gun, your pic is already clicked
  • Straight sections, slightly away from a flyover, and some really beautiful pics of your car, atop the flyover, are clicked.

How do I save myself from this?

  • I frequently follow the cars with a local number on highways, multiple times it has happened that the driver braked at some section, and then sped up – and there was actually a speed camera When I recently shifted to Dehradun, I was saved from a challan for the same reason. The local Scorpio I was following, suddenly slowed down from 80-90 kph to 40 kph on a straight forest section, right before entering the city. From the cars that overtook us, most of them were seen stopped just a kilometre ahead (the speed limit is 50 there)
  • Heavy vehicles, buses or trucks. If I am on a 40-50 kph stretch, and I see a govt bus doing 70-80 kph, I start following the bus, by keeping myself biased towards the right, your car can never get captured there!

Here’s what BHPian J4J had to say on the matter:

2 more points I follow to avoid challan are:

  1. Forget about the free left. Many places with divided left lanes for left turns are not free. A new person may not know this. I always think left turn not to be free and stop. Only if there is a visible sign that says left turn is free, I take the left.
  2. When green is active only for 5 to 7 secs or less, and you are 100 metres or more from the stop line. Just slow down the vehicle to stop instead of accelerating. Do NOT assume yellow light will save you.

Just think that there is no yellow light. This can help in the following two circumstances.

  • When there is no yellow light.
  • When someone in the end moment jumps in front of the vehicle and we end up in no man’s land.

Here’s what BHPian Rajeevraj had to say on the matter:

The basics are simple and well in our control. If these are done, then obviously it takes away a large chance of getting penalized:

  • Have a valid license, PUC, Insurance and copy of the RC.
  • Wear your seat belt or helmet if two-wheeler. Including the pillion, even if you are going 500mts from your home.
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Do not jump signals and most importantly do not assume ‘Free Left turns’. It is guaranteed that there will be a traffic patrol ready to pounce on you.
  • Don’t try to race or drive dangerously
  • When you see an empty stretch/section on a generally crowded road, don’t take off. There will be a speed gun at the end of it.
  • Latest one in Bangalore- It looks very inviting, but do not drive in the Bus Lane-You will be challaned.

Where it becomes ambiguous is with respect to parking and speed limits. Speed Limits are mostly not well marked, can be outdated and even impossible to follow. The same goes with parking as our parking infra is very poor and again roadside parking is not well defined. In my view, these are the things that can cause harassment and we need to be doubly careful about it.

I personally double and triple check when I am parking and if I know it is a risk, I don’t take the car. Speed limits are still ‘watch out for the signs and hope for the best’.

At least in Bangalore, you have a much higher chance of getting stopped in a two-wheeler as opposed to a bike, but apart from that the above still holds.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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