Driving in the rain can be tasking and without proper guide one can find itself struggling to drive through the rain especially when there is a heavy downpour.
In some cases, when excessive downpour leads to flash flooding. That is when motoring is not just risky, but very dangerous!
Why it poses a potential threat driving when it’s raining, one cannot but agree that rainfall has been part of humanity, especially to the farmer – it needs the rain to grow the crops and apart from being a needed resource, rainfall fills rivers, provides fresh water, cools the weather and sustains the ecosystem.
However, driving your vehicle in the rain can be very challenging, which explains why rainy conditions account for very high accident rates in all parts of the world.
According to the Nigerian, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) driving in the rain poses a great risk because visibility is reduced and the road wet, motorists must ensure that before even taking their vehicles out in the first place, they should ensure that they are in good motoring condition such as:
Pro-tips: That the headlights, wipers, and brake are functional, and the tyres not balding or worn out in order to enable adequate grip during braking (as the road surface is likely to be slippery when wet).
FRSC noted that beyond taking care that all is well mechanically, the human factor should not be taken for granted:
Pro-tips: Defensive driving is needed in all motoring conditions, but most useful when it is raining. And the first rule for every self-disciplined driver when it starts raining is to avoid excessive speed. The slower the vehicle is, the more likely you are able to be in control.
“First of all, before embarking on a journey during the rainy season, one should ensure that the windows and windshields are clean on the outside and the inside. It is pertinent to routinely check the headlights, brake lights, turn signals and tail lights.
“The windshield wiper and blades should also be checked for proper functioning. The lights should be on during the day and at night, whenever rain starts dropping. Motorists are also advised to reduce their speed during this time and apply the “common sense speed limit”.
“Because the road surface is often slippery, drivers are also admonished to ensure that their tyres have adequate traction. The traction is the resistance between the tyre and the ground.
“As such, it is dangerous to use worn-out tyres during the rainy season because the tread patterns are faded and friction is reduced, thereby leaving the car with less traction. And a car without proper traction is a potential tragedy to the road,” says the Nigeria’s FRSC Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem.
Meanwhile, check out 4 safety tips for driving in the rain:
1). Ensure Your Car Is Mechanically Well
Ensuring that taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see your vehicle during downpours.
2). Wait Until The Weather Improves
If you are not yet out in the rain, wait until the weather improves, if possible If you feel uncomfortable driving in the rain and can postpone your trip or go by public transport service, wait until the weather improves before driving.
3). Avoid Driving Worn-out Tyres In The Rainfall
Take a good look at the tread of your vehicle’s tyres. Worn-out tyres can severely reduce traction on wet road. Watch out for obstructions, like broken down vehicles, accident scenes, fallen trees, which you may suddenly come upon, due to (poor visibility).
4). Avoid Your Car Tyre Losing Contact With Road Surface
You should slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. This will help to avoid aquaplaning or hydroplaning – a challenging condition where water causes the vehicle’s tyres to lose contact with the road surface leading to loss of control.
Generally, the first rule is, always keep your vehicle in good condition. If it is about to rain, but you are still at home or at work, tarry awhile for the weather to get better, if possible. Before driving in the rain, double check the vehicle’s vital equipment to ensure they will still function properly when needed.
The check list must include headlamps, rear lights, and wipers. And, if all is okay with the vehicle, when you encounter the rain, it behoves you to reduce speed and deploy “defensive driving.”