It’s the rainy season again, so prepare for a fair share of ignorant drivers on the road when it comes to driving in wet weather. Add frequent and instant floods, road construction, rush hour traffic, and school dismissals and what you have is a pretty good recipe for gridlock and constant glances at Waze, only to see red lines on every street.
That’s why we at AutoDeal, are here to help. Listed below are important do’s and don’ts when the roads are wet. Who knows, you may even break a bad habit or two.
DO: Check your tires
A bald tire reduces traction on a wet roadway and increases the chances of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when a tire rolls on more water than it can displace, making the tire ride on a thin film of water. This means it’s not in contact with the road surface, making turning, accelerating, or braking next to useless.
Imagine turning the wheel, but the car keeps going in the same direction. Scary, right? Having tires with good tread depth will make it a lot safer when driving in the wet.
DO: Check your wipers
Keep your wipers clean and new. Old wiper blades can’t push the water away effectively, messing up your visibility. At faster driving speeds or during a strong downpour, old wipers can be as good as driving with no wipers at all.
DO: Turn your lights on
Having your lights on increases the visibility not only for the driver, but also for other road users. Headlights let’s you see the edges of the roadway or lane better. Meanwhile, the taillights will make your vehicle more visible when it’s raining, even during heavy rains. (See DON’T: Turn on your hazard lights below)
However, do not switch your headlights to high beam, as doing so will reflect the light back, blinding yourself and cars around you.
DO: Slow down
This should be obvious. Bad weather reduces visibility and the wet road increases braking distances. Keep your inputs on the wheel, accelerator, and brake as smooth as possible and reduce your speed to anticipate any changes on the road. Any sudden input can lead to loss of control of the vehicle.
Having a 3 to 5 second distance to the car in front of you will allow more time to react to traffic changes, especially on the expressway.
DON’T: Drive through flooded roads (if possible)
If you can’t judge the depth of the water on a flooded roadway, it’s probably not a good idea. 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 now, do you?
DON’T: Turn on your hazard lights
What’s worse than a person who doesn’t turn on their lights in the rain? A person who turns their hazard lights on.
Hear me out, or your ignorance may cause a severe accident. When your hazard lights are on, your vehicle cannot indicate direction changes with the turn signals. Not to mention, other drivers can’t tell the difference between a moving and stopped/disabled vehicle on the roadway.
So do us a favor and keep those hazard lights off, unless you’re warning others that you’re the hazard. In which case, don’t drive.
DON’T: Keep driving in heavy rain
If the rain severely hampers your visibility and the winds are too strong, find a safe place to pull over and wait it out. Find a lit, protective place if possible. Keep your lights on when pulled over and turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers that you’re parked.
DON’T: Be a jerk
Everyone around you is also battling the rain. Be extra aware of what’s going on around you. Don’t cut anyone off, splash pedestrians, or drive faster than everyone else. Be safe, predictable, and proactive. You don’t want to be the next famous person on social media, do you?
MAYBE: Get a crossover or SUV
Let’s face it, driving anywhere can be a pain thanks to the rainy season. Having more ground clearance is something many car buyers should seriously consider, and who can blame them? The instant flooding and pothole-infested roads are considered a norm in everyday driving. A crossover or SUV can handle poor driving conditions that you’ll face during the monsoon season, and still be practical enough all year-round, regardless of the weather.