Even pro drivers dislike driving during rainy season and even more so if there’s flooding. Not only is it more challenging, such conditions contribute to vehicle damage – some of which could write off your car. However, if you really MUST travel, there are a couple of precautions driving experts recommend. Keep these tips in mind the next time you venture into bad weather, and you should arrive safely at your destination.
Before The Trip:
- ENSURE that your car is in tiptop shape. Brakes, tires, lights, and windshield wipers are important. If something’s wrong with them, take your auto to a trusted mechanic. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of the road during a heavy downpour.
- CHECK your route. Will you be driving on an unfamiliar road? Is it prone to flooding?
- INFORM friends and/or family of where you are going and how long it should take you to arrive there. This should give them a heads up so they can immediately contact for help should something go awry.
- NEVER forget your mobile phone and some spare cash! If traveling in rural areas, you may experience problems with your signal, but it’s better than having no means at all of communication.
- FILL up your tank. Getting stuck in traffic uses up more fuel than usual, so don’t go out without a full tank of gas.
- If at all possible, RESCHEDULE your drive on a better day – unless it’s absolutely necessary.
On The Road:
- ADJUST your driving. Avoid going too fast or too slow. Allow for four to five cars’ length between you and the vehicle ahead. How would you know? Wait until the car before you passes an object (like a stop sign) then count how many seconds does it take before you pass by the same item. If it’s less than four or five seconds, gently slow down a bit. This should give you room to make quick decisions if something happens to the car ahead.
- USE only dipped headlights so as not to dazzle other drivers.
- AVOID using fog lights – except for visibility really drops. Here’s a fast way to tell: if you’re having trouble seeing taillights in front of you, perhaps it’s time to turn on your rear fog lights to keep your car visible to others.
- REFRAIN from using cruise control. This is only applicable during dry weather. Activating it won’t let you lift off the accelerator, which is crucial for maintaining control of the vehicle during hydroplaning.
- LISTEN to local radio stations to keep yourself updated about traffic, flooded streets, and status of the weather.
- NEVER speed! Driving in the rain is bad enough; don’t make the situation worse by speeding. Remember: there’s less traction when roads are wet so it’s easier to lose control.
For Flooded Streets:
- EVADE flooded roads if you can help it. If there are no cars, find another route.
- WATCH other vehicles as they drive through the flood to determine how high the water level is.
- MAKE SURE there’s no traffic congestion ahead. Stalling can result in water getting into the engine, or be sucked up by the exhaust pipe. This could lead to costly damages to your auto.
- KEEP a slow yet steady pace.
- DO NOT slow down once you start driving through a flooded road.
- STAY at the highest point of the road.
- CHECK your brakes before driving again after you have driven off the flood.
- If your car breaks down in the middle of a flooded street, NEVER attempt to restart the engine. CALL for professional help immediately.
Even the most minor accidents are expensive. Take care of your car – and yourself – as you drive through bad weather. Whenever possible, delay driving until the sun is up. Your vehicle and your family will be thankful you did.