Your vehicles are nothing but machines and one universal fact about machines is that they perform best when conditions are standard. In case of extreme conditions, we should not expect a machine to...
Your vehicles are nothing but machines and one universal fact about machines is that they perform best when conditions are standard. In case of extreme conditions, we should not expect a machine to adjust all by itself and deliver like it normally does unless some adjustments are made, some restraint shown and some leeway is given from our side.
I am talking about driving in the rain. Although modern vehicles are equipped with the latest technologies to handle most driving conditions, expecting the vehicle to operate normally and adjust to changing conditions on its own is like being plain dumb. The truth is, to avoid road mishaps, something that is common in rainy conditions, the onus is first on the driver and then the vehicle.
Facts and figures suggest that there is a considerable increase in accident rates during rainy seasons especially across the Eastern parts of USA. Rain, when it pours is a formidable challenge while driving and if you are not careful, you and your vehicle may appear quite helpless against its power.
So what steps can we take to negotiate rainy conditions safely?
To start off, we have to remember that with rains, the road conditions immediately change due to addition of water to the equation. When vehicles ply consistently, the gradual accumulation of oil, grease and other substances associated with vehicles find their way on to the roads. These substances combine with water to form a thin viscous layer over the surface of the road making it slick and slippery. Accumulation of rainwater on roads gives rise to another hazard called Hydroplaning. Such a condition results from water retention between tire treads leading to formation of a thin water layer covering the tire surface. With such a condition, tires skid excessively and even if two of the tires hydroplane, the vehicle swerves from its path. To add to these woes, rain brings with itself low light conditions and decreased visibility that makes driving even harder. Under such conditions, if you follow these basic rules, driving in the rain will actually be more of an enjoyable experience.
- If the tires of your vehicle don't have decent treads and proper air pressure, you might experience skids and swerves due to hydroplaning. Before the onset of the rainy season, ask your mechanic to make a thorough inspection of your car tires and ascertain whether a replacement is needed. You can also check the tire treads yourself with a tread measuring device. Normally the depth of treads should not be less than 2/32 of an inch. When it comes to rainy reasons, make sure the tread depth of your car tires is at least 4/32 of an inch. This will definitely avoid loss of traction due to wet road conditions and hydroplaning. Also, lack of adequate tire pressure or excess of it fosters the same hazard; loss of traction.
- Drive slow. In rainy conditions, it is imperative than you drive slower than recommended speed levels. There is already a heightened possibility to lose traction on wet roads and high speed can only favor this hazard.
- Low speed will also mean less application of brakes and that is another precaution you should take. Apply brakes gently and avoid jump-starts and sudden brakes. This practice will definitely prevent the wheels from skidding. Avoid stomping the brakes unless your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brake system or ABS. If ABS is absent, apply the brakes gently in repetitive pats rather than making a hard stomp.
- Avoid puddles. Accumulated rainwater is usually muddy and you can't judge the depth of a puddle in such conditions. A sharp depression may damage one or more parts of your vehicle.
- Before the onset of rainy season, make sure the wipers in your car are not torn, cracked or split. In any of these cases, wipers usually make a screeching noise when they move across the windshield. A normal practice suggests that wipers be replaced every 6 months to 1 year depending on the severity of weather conditions. In rainy conditions, a wiper can be the best help you can get on the road.
- You also need to check whether all the lights in your vehicle are working properly. In low light conditions, they can be the only source of guidance for you to see and for others to see your vehicle.
- Lastly, to negotiate rainy conditions successfully, you also need patience. If you are ready to accept the fact that rainy weather means reaching the destination a little late, then you will never experience any problem even if it is pouring buckets.
With all these precautions in mind and some common sense, you can enjoy a drive in the rain without any hassles. You can always have an enjoyable drive if you maintain your vehicle properly and respect the conditions.