The rainy season is approaching, and it’s a yearly affair that we are expectant of. The monsoon season lasts year-round, with different types of monsoons lasting for 2-3 months at a time. When it comes to driving, it comes with a risk during heavy rains as the roads become slippery and the friction between the roads and the wheels aren’t as strong. With that, here are 6 tips that can help you to drive better and stay safe on the road during the monsoon season.
1. Before heading out on the road
Before driving, it is always important to ensure that the car is properly maintained and serviced. Especially during such weather conditions, it is even more crucial that attention is paid to keeping the car well conditioned for both the driver and the roads. Some parts that a driver should look out for are
- Windshield and Wipers
- Car Battery
If you haven’t got your car a proper car servicing for a long time, then you should give it a second thought!
It is important to make sure that these components are well maintained and checked before heading out for a drive. The car battery is used to power the windshields and wipers, as well as the headlights. During the rainy season, these functions are more heavily used, so ensuring that they work well can help you with being a more responsible driver. (If you need to find out more about the importance of car batteries, click here!) Brakes and Tires wear out over time with wear and tear, so It is important to schedule car repairs and your trusted car workshop to ensure that does not happen.
2. While driving
While on the road, it is important to be aware of a couple of things, as you are not only looking out for the safety of yourself but also the safety of others. When it is raining and the roads are wet, here are some things that you should be aware of while driving.
- Drive smoothly
- Driving speed
- Road Hazards
Due to the lack of friction between the wheels of the vehicle and the roads because of rain, It is very important to drive slowly and smoothly to prevent losing control of the vehicle. It is not recommended to drive quickly when there are puddles of water, or even around curves, as the water that splashes quickly can get in contact with the electrical parts underneath the car, which can cause your car to go into a standstill and have a short circuit.
As driving speed can be subjective, a good way to gauge if you are driving at an acceptable speed is to match the pace of the traffic on the road. It helps to not speed, and at the same time not to drive too slowly. There are more things to look out for when it rains, such as pedestrians, hazards on the roads like humps, potholes and other obstacles that might be in the way. With so much to look out for, it is good to slow down and stay alert to everything on the road to prevent having a car accident.
3. Turning on the auto lights
This tip is an important one, as rainfall, especially heavy ones, can limit the visibility of drivers on the road. Turning on the auto lights can help not only yourself but also other drivers on the road. Auto lights are a great way to allow drivers to be aware of the gap between cars and also knowing where other vehicles are. However, not all lights should be turned on, and this is what you should and should not do with auto lights.
✓ Do switch on the headlights
✓ Do switch on low beams
✓ Do switch on rear fog lights
✗ Do not use high beams
✗ Do not switch on hazard lights
Having your headlights, low beams and rear fog lights on can help you to see better in the rain, identify neighbouring cars and most importantly, help other cars to identify you on the road too. Do not switch on high beams, as it can blind others on the road, especially motorists and pedestrians. Hazard lights should only be used when your car is in an emergency and becoming a road hazard. It is a signal to others that your car is not moving, so if your car is moving, it can be a hazard when it is on as the flashing lights can limit not only your vision of cars ahead, as well as others when they see your car. Others may not be able to know if you will be overtaking or make a turn, so it can cause accidents when it is turned on.
4. Keeping your distance
While driving in regular weather, we all know that we shouldn’t stick too closely to other cars or tailgate them although it can be very tempting to do so to get to the destination faster. In wet weather, this should absolutely not be the case to do so, as the roads are slippery and sticking too close to other cars or driving closer to them can cause car accidents. If the car in front of you suddenly stops, you might unintentionally collide into them. It is safer to drive along at the same pace as the traffic and keep a safe distance between cars to provide leeway in the event that they suddenly brake or reverse.
5. Keeping in control of the car
Although it does not happen often, skidding is a possibility that can occur on the road during heavy rains. While it might not be fully possible to prevent it, you can learn to react to it properly if it were to happen. When the car skids, it is important to stay calm and not freak out. Do not try to step hard on the brake pedal as it can cause you to lose control of the car. What you should do is to release your step on the gas pedal and steer the car towards the direction you want it to carefully. It will be ok once the back of the car is aligned with the front of the car going towards a straight line.
With heavy rains during monsoon seasons, it cannot be denied that floods do not occur. Although floods in Singapore are not very major or life-threatening, we do have floods that affect the roads and drivers. Being stuck in a flood is not a pleasant situation as it will take a while for it to recede, and if your car is not built to withstand floods, then all the more you should not drive into the area. If you happen to drive to an area that is flooded, it is good to drive to higher ground or away from it to prevent your vehicle from receiving water damage and getting stuck for hours on the road.
Driving in the rainy season is not all a bad thing, and rains are normal in our climate. It is always important to be a responsible driver and seek car repair at the car workshop if needed to ensure your car is optimised for safe driving on the road. One must remember that driving safely is not only an individual responsibility but a big effort from all drivers on the road to keep everyone and the roads safe.
You certainly do not want your car insurance claim premium to rise up sharply if you ever get into an accident (touch wood!).