14 tips to drive safely in rainy weather

07/17/2018

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Who doesn't love rain, really? Especially in a scorching hot country like Nigeria. Well, in fact, they're called "drivers".

Not only are drivers easily annoyed by the excessive raining but the accident rates in the rainy seasons are also higher. Statistics from the Nigeria Auto council show that at least 1 million cases (1/4 of all road accidents) can be attributed to wet roads and pavements. 

This can be attributed to two main factors. First, rains leave a thin layer of water on road and greatly reduce the friction of car tires, which makes it harder to steer or brake. What's more, it also reduces the driver visibility, especially when raindrops go in multiple directions

So none of us like to drive in the rain, but it is unavoidable, so we had better follow basic safety precautions as below.

1. Clean windshields regularly

Many of us let the dust stack up (so that we wouldn't have to waste money on car cleaning) until it's all blurred. Instead, give the windshields a quick wipe everytime you park your car or get home. Remember to clean both front and back ones to ensure driving visibility all the way.

2. Forget the high beam headlights

Contrary to popular belief, main beam headlights would actually cause harm under this circumstance, because it will reflect the light back to you, reducing the already obstructed view of road even more.

turning on high beam headlights in the rain

Turning high beam headlights in rains are counter-productive

3. Check the level of water

A general rule is when the water is higher than the bottom of the car doors, or, if you are more cautious, than two-thirds of the wheel, you should avoid going through that area.

If you have to, drive with extra caution and pay attention to the flow of water. Ideally, if there's already a large car driving ahead of you, you should follow it closely as its momentum will temporarily reduce the water level behind. Also, avoid using your brake as your engine would stop and have to be ignited again, which is a major red flag when driving on a flooded road. Just let your foot off the gas pedal lightly. If the water level is any higher than mentioned, choose another route or just stop. It's not worth risking the life of yours and your car engine.

4. Be patient

You'd find your car not so much running but rather sliding in the rain. In this case, don't steer abruptly, just slowly steer and wait for the end of the car to follow the front, or as they say, steer into the skid. You can still use your brake, though it's not advisable without the anti-lock feature. If possible, get your car ABS brakes.

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5. Pay close attention

The points that you should pay attention to are: objects getting in your way while driving in the rain. Another thing is to replace the malfunctioned windscreen wipers to prepare for challenging weather conditions. Also, check the brakes and tires regularly, see if the treads are still visible. 

6. Wash your car before going into the rain

Don't laugh at us yet. Do you know that the roads are most slippery when a rain comes after a long dry period?

This is because when you drive your car just after the rain, the dust gathered during those dry days will mix with residual oils and rainwater to form a slick mixture. This will reduce the friction of your tires and also the roads, especially at the intersections when multiple cars wait for the traffic lights and those mixtures are discharged onto the streets. So if you must go out, wash your car first or forget your car during those days. 

7. Forget the cruise control feature

As it will actually accelerate your car when driving in the rain. It’s common knowledge that the slower, the better in this case. Really, never use the cruise control in the rain, you are seriously risking your safety.

cruise control shouldn't be used in rains

Don't let this system takes control in rainy weather

8. Turn on your dipped headlights

It is highly advisable to turn on headlights even when there are only a few raindrops as it will help with your view as also with other drivers'. Just make sure to turn on the dipped lights, not the main ones because water drops play as mirrors that reflect the strong light back to you and reduce your vision, ultimately being counter-productive.

9. Be careful of water-full holes on the road

Sometimes there are puddles on the roads after the rain, some of them are shallow, but some hide large holes inside. Make sure you can measure the depth of the puddle before going through it. Ideally, take a small detour around big puddles so you don't have to hold your breath every time. 

10. Shake it off

After crossing a puddle, check if there's any car behind you. Then step on the brake pedal lightly to shake off excess water.

11. Drive at the center of the road

Roads are often constructed to collect water on the sides. So if the road is not too crowded, you should drive closer to the center to avoid water accumulated after rains.

12. Avoid using the brakes

Wet roads are very slippery, so it's better to slow down by actually slowing down, not stomping on your brake. Just slowly take your foot off the pedal and let the vehicle slow down naturally. If you really have to, check behind for any cars and brake lightly, from afar to avoid abruptly stop.

using car brake in rain

Don't use brakes when it rains

13. Maintain a safe distance

Always keep a distance between you and vehicles in front, especially in the rain. You should stay at least 2 times further than in normal situations so that you'd have more time to react in case of unexpected problems.

14. Slow it down

Keep your car at a minimum speed under wet conditions so that you can react quickly and timely to any obstacle. Sometimes, debris and roadblocks are harder to see in the rain. In addition, when you see puddles, reduce the speed even more to be extra certain.

>>> Review more driving tips from Naijauto.com experts at: Safe Driving Tips

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