Anyone who has been driving cars for a while will vouch for the fact that driving in the rainy season is quite different from doing so in dry weather. When taking your car out on a rainy day, it is very likely that its tires will lose their grip on the road. Your vision will be dramatically affected as well. It becomes difficult to see other vehicles and read the road-safety signs. Getting a clear view of the road also becomes a challenge.
Other reasons why driving on a wet road is extremely risky is because when the road gets wet, oil and grime that have settled into it rise to the surface, making the road highly greasy and slippery. This makes it difficult to get traction.
Wondering what you can do to ensure safe rides this monsoon? Here are few tips for that.
- Drive Slow
One of the easiest and the most effective ways of preventing an accident on a slippery road is by driving slowly. Reducing speed ensures that a greater amount of the tire’s tread makes contact with the surface of the road, thereby giving you better traction. Keeping your pace steady, avoiding speeding and swerving, and shunning jerky movements at the time of braking, accelerating or turning will also be helpful.
- Keep Your Distance
You will do well to maintain a considerable distance from the vehicle in front of you as a safety measure. It takes a longer time to stop your car on a wet road than a dry one, even if your tires are of the highest quality and intended for being used on wet pavements. Hence, it is best not to drive too closely behind other cars.
Further, keep an eye out for brake lights flashed by the car ahead of you. It is also suggested to turn your headlights on so that other drivers can see you from a distance. Driving without cruise control will also keep you more alert.
- Keep the Lights On
Apart from your car’s headlights, make sure you turn on the lights at the right time. Bear in mind that you need not use fog lamps unless the visibility is very poor. This is because the rear and front fog lamps may distract other drivers. This also applies to the main beam headlamps as their glare can also leave other driver blinded momentarily. Use them as you would under normal circumstances.
- Do This If Your Car kids
So what happens if your car skids on a wet slippery road? Would you instantly start slamming the brakes? While that seems like the right thing to do, avoid doing so. By all means, apply the brakes, but in a firm and a steady manner. If your car has anti-lock brakes, apply more pressure to the brakes but avoid pumping them. Steer in the direction of the skid.
In case there is too much water on the road, your car may end up hydroplaning i.e. the tires of your car might lift away from the surface of the road and float on the water. In such cases, avoid slamming the brakes and gently take the foot off the accelerator. Press the clutch and allow the car to slow down by itself. Keep the steering in the direction of travel.
- Avoid Driving When Tired/Distracted
Driving in wet weather calls for very high levels of alertness, especially when driving in the dark. Hence, it is best to avoid driving if you’re feeling tired. If you must drive, then take regular breaks by pulling up at a safe spot and taking rest.
Apart from that avoid distractions such as using the cellphone, talking, eating, drinking, changing the radio station, turning around to hand items to the passengers in the backseat, playing with your children, and anything else that requires you to take your hands off the wheel.
- Check Your Tires
Driving on a wet road with a defective or a bald tire will make it difficult for you to stay safe. It is recommended that you check your tires for tread wear from time to time. Additionally, get the air pressure checked at least once a month. Ask the car mechanic to rotate the tires as part of the routine maintenance to ensure even wear on all sides.
Needless to say, if you live in a region which experiences a lot of rain, get tires that are designed particularly for slippery road conditions.
- Driving Through a Flood
Keep in mind that driving through a flood can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious damage to your car.
You never know how deep the flood water can be. If you do not see other cars driving through it, play it safe and avoid driving through it as well. The water may be carrying harmful submerged objects, or it could have a strong current which could sweep your car away.
It is always better to take another (safer) route. If you choose to drive through, however, keep the car at the highest point of the road and make sure your path is devoid of other cars through to the other end of the water. Other cars may stop, which would leave you stuck in the water as well.
Drive slowly and steadily as driving too fast might cause your car to hydroplane. Once you’ve built up speed, try not to slow down as that can result in the water flowing back to the radiator grille and getting into the engine or the exhaust pipe. Either of these can cause heavy and permanent damage to your car.
Once you reach the other end of the flood water, drive out of it carefully and make sure to test your brakes before resuming your journey.
Come rainy season and the roads everywhere are going to be wet and slippery. Driving safely can be challenging as you try to prevent your vehicle’s tires from swerving/slipping. Apart from that, it also becomes difficult for the driver to see the road clearly, and make quick safety-related decisions. However, you can keep danger out of your way by taking necessary and timely precautions. Adhering to the above safe-driving tips should be of immense help when it comes to dealing with wet roads. Do make sure to abide by them and you should be able to put all your wet-road-driving woes behind and stay safe and sound.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver specializes in laws dealing with traffic defense and related niches. Updated with the latest happenings in the legal world, she shares her experiences and anecdotes through her write-ups on various websites. Interact with her through her Google+.