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Ways to stay safe while driving during rainy season

The rainy season is one of the most difficult and dangerous periods to drive as it exposes one to a variety of dangers. This is…

The rainy season is one of the most difficult and dangerous periods to drive as it exposes one to a variety of dangers.

This is because the natural phenomenon alters a driver’s environment and conditions he has to drive with or through, which makes vehicles susceptible to accidents or crashes that can be easily avoided during other weather conditions.

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But as humans with myriads of needs to be fulfilled, staying off road during this period will not be an option due to unforeseen circumstances to achieve our daily tasks. As such, it is best to have handy some safety tips to help navigate wet roads.

What conditions you drive through

Roads are subjected to wet conditions when it is rainy and this leads to reduction of friction between car tyres and the tarred pavement on roads that facilitates smooth and fast driving. Since friction is the force that opposes the tyre rubber from sliding on the road surface while speeding, the reduction can lead to accidents as the driver will lose grip of the vehicle.

Also, the weather makes the windshield to be foggy and according to an article on Carmundi, this is caused by condensation – a scenario where the inner surface of the windshield is warm due to high humidity and the temperature outside colder. The humid air comes in contact with the cold windshield glass, thereby releasing moisture and leaving condensation or fog on the glass.

In the same vein, a flowing or static body of water could be left on roads due to rainfall and this may be caused by a lack of drainage system on the road corridor or when the soil on the road could not absorb the water that fell on it as quickly as it should, thereby leaving puddles.

What are the things you have to do before driving

Having in mind the situations drivers go through while driving out during this season, it is best they:

Turn your lights on: It is advisable for drivers to turn on their headlights when it is raining. This is to aid their visibility and also to alert other drivers of their presence in the road.

Ensure tyres are in good shape: As stated earlier, friction that makes tyres to be sturdy on smooth surfaces is reduced when there is rainfall. So, the tyre pressure should be within the recommended gauge of 40 to 45.

Wiper should be in good condition: Your wiper should be working effectively to help clear water that will fall on the windshield. The water that drops on the shield will definitely block your view so it is important to have a good wiper that removes it.

Give space between your car and the one in front: You can’t see beyond the back of the car in front of you, so, it is best to have huge space between you in case the driver applies sudden brake or you lose control of yours, the space can give you room to gain control and help avoid hitting the car.

Know how to handle a skid: If your car fails and it begins to skid, continue moving towards the direction you intend and avoid hitting your brakes, as it makes it harder to control your vehicle.

Have a working AC: Turning ACs on during rainfall helps to remove fog that has accumulated on the windshield as its presence affects the visibility of the driver.

Plan for more time on the road: To avoid skidding on the road, it is best to drive at a slow pace which will increase the amount of time you will spend in reaching your destination. Thus, never rush when it’s raining heavily as accidents are more likely when weather conditions are poor.

Avoid driving if the trip is not important: When the rain is heavy, it is often better to look for a place to park where you are. If possible, stay out of hazardous rain and wait until the worst has passed before you hit the road again.

On the other hand, you should avoid:

Using hard brakes: it is best to use brakes less often. Thus, drive slowly and give others room. Avoid the accelerator so that you won’t have to slam on the brakes.

Avoid sudden movements: Gentle steering, braking, and accelerating are best on wet roads.

Avoid driving behind large trucks and buses: This is because the water they spray, created by their large tires, can reduce visibility.

Don’t drive through flooded roads: If you don’t know how deep the water on the road is, it is not a good idea to drive on it but if you have no choice, observe other vehicles first and determine whether it’s worth the risk. A flooded road can hide potholes, sharp objects, or debris, and may seem shallower than it really is. You don’t want the car stalling and floating away.

Don’t overspeed: Speeding during rain is dangerous and leads to your car careering off the road. So, it is best to reduce the speed to avoid accidents.

However, the FCT Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Corp, Corp Commander Ochi Oga, said there are a number of things that drivers need to do when there is rainfall as more car crashes are experienced during this period even though they don’t lead to casualties.

“Basically, drivers should realise that the contact of their tyres with a tarred road will not be rough but smooth and the friction will reduce, because of that, by the time they are applying the brake, the point of stop will drag because of the reduction in the friction. So, people must realise that they should be careful when applying sudden brakes during the rainy season,” Oga said.

He noted that the issue of speed must be critically taken care of as they must reduce their speed and not be at the same speed during the rainy season.

He urged drivers to take note of their vehicle maintenance. As such, tyres must be in good shape, wipers and lighting system too.

“To a large extent, the AC should be working but if it is not, when the rain is more, then you are expected to park your vehicle because the visibility will be obscured and you may not be able to look too far away from your environment. These are the precautions we expect drivers should take note of. Another thing they should not do is driving tail to tail with other drivers. You should give a gap and not be afraid that somebody else will enter your front. It is the failure to adhere to this that is responsible for multiple crashes that happened during the rainy season. People drive too close to one another.”

He added that they should avoid roads with high levels of water if the height of their car can’t beat it as it is one of the reasons why people get drowned. “They believe that I can drive through but will not realise that the body of the water may not be as easy as expected. Unless you are familiar with the road, it is not advisable to drive into the body of water without knowing its depth.”

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