The rains are here and so are the inevitable flooded roads and sudden downpours.
Despite the fact that the monsoons are best enjoyed at home with a mug of hot chocolate and some good music playing, we must make that trudge to office instead.
Here are 5 tips on how to make that drive safer and more comfortable for you. We assume you have already got your vehicle monsoon-proofed by now. If not, then please do so as soon as you can.
1. Reduce speed: On wet roads, your car will take roughly twice as long to stop or reduce pace as compared to dry roads. Even the best of tyres will hydroplane on slippery surfaces during extremely hard braking situations, and the likelihood of you slamming into the vehicle in front of you goes up exponentially.
2. Maintain twice as much distance: As we have already mentioned, a car takes roughly twice as long to stop during the rains. Thus, it is imperative that you maintain enough distance between the vehicle ahead, to permit you to stop safely in time.
3. Switch on your head lights and wipers: Even during the day, and if it’s raining, switch on the headlights and tail lights, because seeing where you are going is as important as letting others on the road see you. Never drive faster than what the visibility allows, as obstacles like broken down trucks and animals are harder to spot in the rains. If your wipers malfunction, stop and wait till the rain abates. If you do have to press on, then buy a couple of cigarettes, crush out the tobacco and then smear it all over the windshield. The tobacco will leave behind a film on the windshield that will prevent water from staying on the glass. But remember to get those wipers repaired immediately!
4. Feather the controls: Driving in the rain requires gentle handling of the controls, be it the steering wheel or the pedals. Sudden and rough movements of the steering wheel can unbalance the car enough to cause a skid. Jamming the brakes will almost certainly cause your car’s wheels to lock up (or cause the ABS to kick in, if your car is fitted with the system) which could lead to loss of control.
5. Caution when driving through water- logged roads: Despite what vehicle you might drive, water can play havoc with your car’s components. If you really have no choice but to wade through a water-logged road, we suggest you wait till a larger vehicle goes through, making the depth of the water known to you. Do not proceed if the level of the water is higher than a quarter of that of your wheel. Drive through the water in first gear at a constant slow speed, but riding the clutch all the time with the engine revving hard. Do not splash through. In case your car stalls in the middle of the water logged road, wait till help arrives to get the car to a safe spot. Do not try to start the car, because hydrostatic lock could seriously damage the engine. Have a competent mechanic check the vehicle before any attempt to crank the car are made.