It goes without saying, driving in the rains is a tough task. While two wheeler riders do not bother venturing out in the rains unless it is an emergency situation, the four-wheelers come on to the roads thinking it is relatively safe, only to realise that it is in fact not.
Driving during the monsoon season is not only a lot more difficult, but it can also turn out to be a lot more dangerous. With limited visibility, slippery/wet surfaces, and hidden potholes, the road you travel on every day can quickly become something unfamiliar. So, in order to stay safe while you drive through heavy rain, here are some awesome tips that you can use and share with friends and family.
Keep Your Headlights On Even During The Day
Visibility is the primary requirement while driving a vehicle. And during the monsoon, visibility levels are significantly low which can ultimately be dangerous for drivers as well as for the pedestrians. When the rain pours down unrelentingly, it becomes very difficult to see even a few meters ahead of you. Light is one of the most effective ways to help you see better and also let other vehicles know that you’re around. While going out in rain, check to see that your vehicle’s headlights are on even during the day unless you have the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs).
If you have an older car, you should replace the lenses and the reflectors in the headlight so that you get the most out of your headlights. Always keep your headlights on low so that you don’t blind vehicles driving in the opposite direction.
Tyre Traction Test To Prevent Aquaplaning
It is the tyres on a car that actually have the most important job when driving – especially when you choose to drive in the rain. It is the only thing that touches the road while you drive. It is only common sense your tyres need to be in excellent condition irrespective of the weather. Wet roads are like kryptonite for rubber tyres and you should take that into consideration before you can begin your drive. Always check the tyre tread on all four wheels to see whether they will be able to manage on the wet, slippery roads. If the tread on your tyres is lower than 1.6mm, it might be a good time to get a set of new wheels. You can also push a one Rupee coin into the tread to see how far it goes. If it barely sinks in, you should get new tyres.
Staying on the topic of tyres, the biggest reason behind accidents on wet roads is poorly treaded tyres. When your tyres don’t have proper treading, there is no way for water/rain to escape and therefore it collects under the rubber. The more the water collects, the higher the chances are of the car skidding and losing control. This phenomenon is called aquaplaning or hydroplaning. You should always do a check of the tyres before the monsoon arrives so that you can always be prepared. And yes, please slow down before you cross a puddle on highway, it might save you from aquaplaning as well.
Drive Slow In The Rain, Period.
Even if you have decades of driving experience, wet, slippery roads are extremely unpredictable and can leave you in a lot of danger if not taken seriously. Brakes do not behave the same way on wet roads even if you have ABS in your car. In fact, you have to give the car some time to actually come to a stop in wet conditions. However, you should never jam the brakes on a wet road as it could easily cause the car to skid. When changing gears as well, you have to be gentle and smooth so that the car has enough time to respond. Most importantly though, you should always keep enough distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you to allow your car to slow down and stop in time.
Keep Safe Distance Away From Other Vehicles
Low visibility and slippery roads can quite easily become a recipe for disaster. In the summer, when the sun is out and the roads are dry, there is about a 3-second rule for the distance you can maintain from the vehicle in front of you on the highway without risk. Quite obviously, that distance has to be increased by at least two-three times during the monsoon season. The more time the car has to slow down, the safer you will be on the road. So, even if the vehicle in front of you suddenly jams its brakes, you will have enough time to slow down and come to a stop before slamming into its bumper.
Check The Windshield Wipers
You want to have 100 percent (or close to it at least) visibility when driving in the rain. One component that helps that cause in a big way is the windshield wipers. The rubber on the wipers helps clear away any rain build-up or dirt that obscures your view of the road ahead. You should check if they are in proper working condition before setting out, because they have a tendency to bounce on your windshield once they get hard in the summer and winter.
Keep The AC Running
Fogged-up windscreens and windows are a major problem when driving in the monsoons and can also be quite dangerous if you’re driving on a highway. To keep your windows and windshield from fogging up, you should turn the air conditioning on. This keeps the glass clear and lets you see what’s ahead of you at all times. A good home remedy for defogging is to use a cut potato to clean the surface and allowing it to dry. This apparently reduces condensation and stops the glass from fogging up.
Sometimes It’s Wiser To Just Pullover & Wait
Regular rain and wind shouldn’t be much of a problem for most drivers but what happens when the monsoons throw everything they have, and the kitchen sink at you and your vehicle? This is when you have to tip your hat to Mother Nature and simply give in and stop yourself from going further. When the rain is too severe and the wipers cannot handle the amount of rain pouring down, your visibility is bound to go from 100 to 0 in a matter of seconds. To keep yourself and the other people on the road safe, you should pull your car over to the side of the road and wait till the rain subsides or stops completely. However, when you do pull over, make sure you are not on a highway and always keep your hazard lights on so other vehicles know that you have stopped. These simple steps can prevent a major accident.