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Friday, 27 November 2015

'Monsoon Driving' Tips

Driving in the monsoons can be tiresome and can get dangerous. Here are some tips to decrease the hazards:-

  • Make sure that your tyre trad depth is more than 2 mm. The tread pattern is very important as it squeezes out water from under the tyre, giving it a relatively dry contact patch with the road. A tread that has been worn out will not be able to displace as much water and will cause the car to aquaplane. Some imported tyre manufacturers make wet weather tyres with tread patterns specially designed to expel more water.

  • Aquaplannning is caused by insufficient tyre depth, incorrect tyre pressure, puddles of standing water, sudden acceleration, hard braking, sudden jerks of the steering wheel and cornering at high speeds.

  • Before speeding out in to the rains, one must remember to allow for more travelling time to reach the destination as you will not drive as fas as you normally would. Carry an umbrella or raincoat, extra drinking water, something to eat like chocolate or energy bars and prescribed medicines as you cannot predict traffic jams or closed roads due to flooding.

  • Make sure you have more than enough fuel in the tank.

  • When stuck in city traffic, stay calm, patient and courteous with other road users, keeping in mind that they too are stuck in the same mess as you.

  • Dry your footwear before getting behind the wheel as wet feet / footwear can slip off the pedals which can be very dangerous.

  • When driving on wet roads, slow down. Drive at low rpm to reduce the chance of wheel spin. Accelerate smoothly, brake gently, well in advance and slow down before taking turns. Maintain a gap of about three times the distance that you normally would with the vehicle in front of you, giving you enough time to react in case the need arises to change speed or direction. Give ample notice to those behind or around you before changing lanes or turning.

  • Use engine braking more than the brakes to slow down where possible by just taking your foot off the accelerator well-in-advance. In case skidding occurs, stay calm, take your foot off the accelerator and gently steer in the desired direction. As your car slows, grip will be regained.

  • An experienced driver can try driving in the tracks of the car ahead. This way tyres will have less water to displace and will give slightly more grip. It is ideal not to get too close, especially to heavy vehicles because the spray from other tyres can be muddy and can obstruct vision.

  • Make sure your windshield wash solutions is topped up and carry some extra water in the trunk for this purpose.

  • During monsoons, drive with lights on to be more visible and hazar lights in very dark conditions. At night, drive very cautiously and slowly as the glare from oncoming headlights will be reflected and amplified through the water on windshield causing temporary loss of vision. For frequent travel on highways, use fog lamps to have good visibility.

  • If you have to drive through a flooded area, do so only over short distances and watch out for submerged dividers and footpaths. Drive at very slow speed in first gear, keeping the rpm high by slipping the clutch. The raised rpm will increase the flow of exhaust gases and ensure that water does not enter the tailpipe and then the engine.

  • After driving through a deep spot, ensure that the brakes are functioning properly by gently pumping to dry them out before you speed up.

  • A car with manual transmission can be driven to a safer spot using the starter motor. However, this should be used as last option.

  • It is advisable to carry a small hammer in your car during the rains, as water can play havoc with power windows and central locking systems, trapping you inside your car. This can be a very dangerous situation. Use the hammer to break a window and get out of the car if this happens.

  • If the car has been standing in a flood place for a while, check the color of the engine oil. If the oil looks very bubbly or milky white, it means that water has got in to the oil sump and mixed with the oil. Get it replaced immediately.

  • Do not drive through fast flowing water if you cannot make out how deep it is. If you are out on the open highways and a storm hits, stay away from high land, lone trees, metal poles and water bodies reduces the risk. Find a place where you can park well off the road surface and switch off all lights.

  • Always keep your seat belt on.

  • For 335 more highly useful TIPS / TOPICS for all age groups, please visit here.