Tropical monsoons can transform a terrain within minutes. Especially in countries like India, rains can be devastatingly powerful if they have a prolonged stay. Even mild showers can cause the roads to become slick and unsafe for driving. Here are a few suggestions you can keep in mind while driving during rains. It will keep you safe:
- Focus: The most important thing is maintaining concentration and keeping your focus on the road. Turn off phones, music or stop talking so that you can keep your eyes on the road. Distractions are one the foremost factors for accidents during monsoons.
- Tyres: Tyres are the most important part of the car while driving during rains. The tyres give you a grip on the surface, so it is essential that you use tyres that are not worn out to a great degree. Radial tyres offer firmer grip than polyester ones. Be sure to check your tyres before venturing out. Always keep a couple of spares at hand. Check your tyre pressure regularly.
- During hydroplaning—the phenomenon when your tyres lose contact with solid ground and move on a film of water—your car goes out of control almost completely. It can happen even at low speeds. Keeping your tyres in shape will reduce this possibility. If and when it happens, put your feet off the gas and allow the car tyres to regain their grip.
- Batteries: Moisture and dampness can corrode your terminals and kill your battery. If water leaks in, it can also cause the batteries to short out. Avoid places where the water level is too high. Also check your vehicle battery cover from time to time. Ensure that your engine hood is tight and prevents leakage.
- Technology: Technology is not always beneficial. Some cars have built-in features for better performance during dry season as well as during wet conditions. It is better to switch off the dry-season sensors and keep the wet season aids on. Check your car manual for details of the technology. Use defrosters to prevent fogging of windshield. If you have an AC, keep it on.
- Lights: Keep your lights on but ensure that they only aid your visibility without hampering the visibility of other cars ahead or behind you. Any strobe-effect lights should not be used. Fog lights should only be used when absolutely necessary.
- Keep safe distance: Maintain a considerable distance—at least 4-5 cars or 9 seconds—between yourself and car ahead of you. Do not be hasty or try to overtake under any circumstance. Check your rear mirror for cars behind you constantly. Indicate turns to them earlier than usual.
- Wipers: Your best friend during monsoons. Keep them in good condition. Use them whenever your visibility becomes uncomfortable. Rear windshield wipers can come in handy too.
Above all, keep your cool. It is difficult to control the urge to speed up during panicky situations. However, taking some training beforehand will help you take control of the situation. The safest policy is to take its slow and steady.