With rain comes a lot of water. With water comes the increased possibility of undesired incidents on roads. Here are some points to make sure we stay safe in rains.
- Slow down:
At the very start of any downpour, roads start getting wet. It takes time for the roads to get completely wet depending on the intensity of the rain. During this time, 2 things happen:
First, since the road is not completely wet, some part of it is still dry. Our vehicle’s tyres constantly come in contact with both, the wet and the dry sections on the road. Both wet and dry sections offer different rolling resistances or grip levels to the tyres. This constant change in rolling resistance results in slippage.
Second, roads are generally contained with a variety of particles. During the start of any rain, oil particles on the road get mixed up with rain drops to form a more slippery surface. Eventually, these oil particles get washed out by the rain.
Both of these reasons suggest that it is of utmost importance to drive your vehicle more carefully when it has just starting pouring. We generally see that our vehicles have relatively more traction once the roads are completely wet.
- Turn on your headlights:
During rains, it gets dark. Visibility suffers. And we face problems looking out for other vehicles. It is always good to turn on your headlights during rains for the oncoming traffic to be able to see you better. Keep them on low beam unless you yourself are facing difficulty in viewing the road ahead. High beams tend to blind the oncoming traffic and hence are not recommended unless really needed.
- Smoothen your inputs:
Any inputs like sudden acceleration or sudden braking or sudden shifting or sudden steering cause loss of traction in the tyres that can result in crashing into the vehicles ahead of you. Gradual acceleration, smooth braking, smooth shifting and proper steering can save us from this risk.
- Keep safe distance:
Always keep a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you so that if it applies brakes suddenly, you have more reaction time and your vehicle has more space in case it losses grip or traction. One more point is the water thrown out of the tyres of the vehicle in front of you decreases visibility as it directly lands on the front of our vehicle. Keeping more following distance gives us better visibility.
- Look out for puddles:
Puddles (of water) are most probably formed around potholes. Going through puddles makes the brakes wet and may cause them to incapacitate for a few seconds. It is hard to judge how deep the water in a puddle is. A deep enough puddle can cause water blocking exhaust and eventually stalling your engine. If you find yourself in a deep puddle, keep a low and steady acceleration and make your way through it with patience. To save all this trouble, it is best to stay away from puddles.
- Follow the path of the vehicle ahead of you:
The tread patterns present in any vehicle’s tyres are designed to provide grip and remove water. The tyres of the vehicles travelling in front of you are already throwing out water from the road. Using their path gives more grip to your vehicle.
- Check the necessary:
Under-inflation of tyres causes difficulty in moving whereas over-inflation results in lack and loss of traction. Make sure your tyres have the recommended pressure. Your vehicle’s wipers play a major role in the rain. Make sure they’re in good condition. If not, buy new ones. Also, make sure to have adequate water for the wipers.
- Stay away from the sides of the road:
Rain water generally gets accumulated on the sides of any road. Driving on the sides in such cases can cause hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is the phenomenon of tyres losing complete contact with the road because of excessive water on the surface of the road. In case of hydroplaning, steering inputs may not work. So gradually reduce your speed until you gain control again.
- Turn off cruise control:
The cruise control features’ function is to keep the vehicle running at the set by the driver. Water on the roads tends to slow down vehicles. Cruise control keeps increasing it again and again to keep up to its set speed. Keeping cruise control on during rains can prove to be dangerous.
- Have a good presence of mind:
Many of us might not be using side indicators on a daily basis. We need to make sure we do in rains at the least. Rains already cause a lot of confusion on the road. Vehicles around us might stop unexpectedly if they see something, for example, a puddle. Hence any lack of cooperation during this time can cause accidents. If you see something that is dangerous, immediately turn your hazard lights on (double indicators) to warn other road users.
Follow these steps and stay safe.