A heavy vehicle speeding on the slope from “dari pul” bridge area flouting notice board instruction appealing to drivers not to turn off engine or put on neutral gear, on Monday.(RAHUL RAUT/HT)
A heavy vehicle speeding on the slope from “dari pul” bridge area flouting notice board instruction appealing to drivers not to turn off engine or put on neutral gear, on Monday.(RAHUL RAUT/HT)

Navale bridge accident: Drivers use neutral gear, or cut engine on slope to save fuel, observe traffic police

DCP and other senior officials of Pune traffic police department conducted a review of the accident spot on Monday.
By Dheeraj Bengrut | Hindustan Times, Pune
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2020 05:51 PM IST

Pune: The Navale bridge stretch has turned into an accident prone spot as it sees a lot of speeding vehicles. The Pune traffic police have launched a study to spot check the road and come up with solutions to slow the traffic after three people died and six were seriously injured in the accident caused by a trailer whose driver lost control near the bridge on Sunday evening.

The police have observed that drivers taking advantage of the slope shut down the engine to save fuel causing break failure and accidents. The authorities, a few months back, have put up roadside boards near Navale bridge alerting drivers to not shut engine or put on neutral gear.

“This is a vulnerable spot as heavy vehicles speed from ‘dari pul’ bridge on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway at Katraj and while entering the service road do not slow down as other vehicles are also moving on this stretch. One of the reasons for yesterday’s (Sunday) accident could be either shutting down the engine or driving on neutral gear. The driver finds a slope after ‘dari pul’ bridge and puts the vehicle either on neutral gear or shuts the engine to save fuel. So, when these heavy vehicles reach an exit to service road it either gets out of control or brakes don’t work leading to accidents,” said Rahul Shrirame, deputy commissioner of police (traffic).

Shrirame along with other senior officials of the Pune traffic police department conducted a review of the accident spot on Monday. They also spoke to the local residents.

“We have installed boards appealing to drivers not to close down the engine or put on neutral gear. Now, we plan to making some changes in vehicular movement and infrastructure with the help of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on the stretch between ‘dari pul’ bridge and Navale bridge,” Shrirame said.

Several residential areas, including Narhe, Ambegaon Budruk, Dhayari and Vadgaon Budruk are connected to this stretch.

Nilesh Girme, Shiv Sena leader said, “Many residents pass through the service road used by the heavy vehicles. The administration should come up with a traffic solution as it has become an accident-prone spot.”

Taking risk to save 3-4 litres of fuel

Swapnil Pangare, area sales manager of KGP Auto Ltd, Ghatge Trucking BharatBenz said, “When a truck driver crosses the tunnel before the ‘dari pul’ bridge he puts the vehicle on neutral gear. When he nears Navale bridge, he starts applying brakes as other vehicles also enter this stretch. On neutral, the brake liners gets heated and sometimes causes brake failure. Turning engine off and on neutral gear could result into brakes getting oil drained. Power brakes will not function if the vehicle is switched off. Turning off engine can also lead to locking of steering. There is a brake control button in every heavy vehicle or truck which should be used by the driver on such slopes, but to save fuel of around three to four litres they take the risk.”

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