Driving Safely In The Rains: What You Should Know!
Thankfully, most of India doesn’t have a harsh winter climate like what is experienced by people in the Americas, Europe or even in Northern Asia.We don’t have to drive through snow-clad surroundings for the most part of the year at below-freezing temperatures.
But being a tropical country, we have to take care of the rains as they tend to flood our roads often.
Needless to say, driving in such conditions compromises safety. Here are a few things that you need to know so that you can enjoy driving in this beautiful season in a safe manner. Happy Motoring!
It is always advisable to use windscreen wiper fluid and not just any soap solution. First, the windscreen wiper fluid doesn’t froth up the washer fluid reservoir as opposed to any shampoo or liquid soap.
Secondly, it is specifically made for this purpose as windshields get thick with grime, especially in the monsoons. Spray empty the existing fluid from the reservoir and then empty the new sachet and fill the remaining required quantity with distilled or RO water. You can also use normal water, but that will cause scaling over time and might damage the pump and nozzles.
Minimum Tyre Depth
Not just for monsoons, maintenance of tyres is an integral part of your car’s ownership throughout its lifetime. Just to put things into perspective, tyres are your only contact point with the ground and face an immense amount of wear.
That’s why they require utmost care and timely replacements.
Change your tyres when their tread depth goes below the recommended level. Tyres have built-in tread-wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves. It is strictly advised that you should go for a new set (all four at the same time) when the tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators.
You must have heard about the term aquaplaning or hydroplaning during rainy seasons. To put it into simple words, aquaplaning is related to the health of your tyres.
Aquaplaning/hydroplaning happens when a layer of water builds between your tyre and the tarmac. This results in reduced or complete loss of traction and the vehicle might go out of control.
Tyres with adequate tread depth remove water from the road surface, thus reducing the chance of building up a water layer beneath, which causes aquaplaning. Tyres with inadequate depth or bald rubber resulting in hydroplaning could be responsible for a mishap. The risk of aquaplaning increases with speed so it’s best to go light on the throttle, especially when it’s raining heavily.
No matter how much you love driving in rains, the most annoying thing is misting of the windshields and windows. It happens due to the difference in the temperatures outside and inside the car.
Most modern cars, including the majority of hatchbacks, now come with automatic HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units.
While the rear defogger always had a button, these auto climate control units have a specified button for the front as well. These one-touch buttons with preset settings come in extremely handy. But what about the manual units?
For the old school manual setups, it is recommended to put it on max heat and ventilation mode on with high blower speed directed towards the windscreen. It is also advisable to keep the windows open (slightly) at least for a short while so that the temperature stabilises a bit inside. Also keeping a dry cloth handy is advisable.
Fog lights are a key safety feature when the atmosphere isn’t really driving-friendly. For a lot of people, fog lamps are just a fancy feature which comes in high-spec models. In fact, fog lamps vastly improve the visibility at the front in any condition.
Compared to the headlights, fog lamps have a wider but shorter beam. They light up the surroundings of your car when the headlights fail to do so.
Unlike the headlights, with a shorter beam, fog lamps don’t reflect back (blinding you in turn) when the atmosphere becomes highly reflective. Further, cornering lamps are also provided alongside fog lamps to aid visibility while taking a sharp turn.
A lot of cars nowadays offer rear fog lamps as well, which are more or less on par with brake lights in terms of luminescence. Rear fog lamps make sure that your car is more visible to vehicles behind you, especially in situation like heavy rains or dense fog. Make sure you know how to put them on and do the needful in such situations.
Due to poor drainage system in majority of Indian cities, it is always advisable not to foray into unknown territories when the roads are flooded. Always wait and analyse the road ahead by looking at passers-by.
If you have to cross a flooded patch, keep the engine revved high by half-releasing the clutch in slow speed (first gear) so that your exhaust only emits gases and doesn’t suck the water in!
Also, it is wise to switch off your air conditioning system before entering a flooded area.
Driving in the rains is an enjoyable experience and as long as you take the necessary precautions, it’ll be an incident-free season too!