🎶I’m driving in the rain, just driving in the rain, I’m happy again…🎶
Perhaps not, because, driving in the rain, whether it's a mild shower or torrential rain, can be exhausting and unhealthy, and you can't avoid it! In Nigeria, especially down south, it rains about two-thirds of the time each year, so you'll be stuck in the rain on the roadside one way or the other.
Here are a few safety tips for driving in the rain to bear in mind the next time you're stuck driving in the muddy streets.
Driving in the rain brings its own set of challenges
Before you go
Spend some time doing some pre-travel chores. Even before you swing out of your garage, do these:
1. Examine the tread depth in tires
Please ensure your tires have enough tread depth for the optimum result in wet conditions.
Water grooves are built into tires to allow water to flow across them. Water is directed away from the tire by the outlets, allowing it to stay in touch with the road. The less water a groove can pass, the shallower it is (also known as tread depth). As a consequence, when the tread depth is low, stopping your car takes more time.
Employ the coin test to determine the tread depth of your tires. Find a coin and put it in the tread of the tire head-first. Your tire tread is around or below 4/32” and requires replacement quickly if you can see all of the ears on the image on the coin. In the USA it's a quarter and George Washington's ears. In Nigeria, use the analogy to estimate.
If the tread depth approaches 2/32”, those tires are unfit to be used to travel and are unsafe. Check Naijautos’s ‘best tires on Nigerian roads’ article to know which ones to shop for.
The tire tread test will show if you're good to go
2. Look at the weather forecast
Check the local and country forecast before venturing out during the rain. Can't you wait to get out of there? Is it better to stay at home? What is the real state of the roads?
If you must drive through the rain, consult the radar to get a sense of what to expect when you ride into the storm.
3. Make sure the tires air pressures are right
Tires that are fully filled have improved handling and grip, as well as longer tire durability. When the tires are properly inflated, you, therefore, reduce the chance of hydroplaning.
At least monthly, you can test your tire pressure. The prescribed tire pressure for your car can be found in the user manual or on a tag on the inside of the driver's door.
A tire with the right pressure is neither over nor under-inflated
While on the Road
Proper driving practices are important for safe driving in rainy conditions, regardless of the state of your tires. Employ these 10 rainy-day driving strategies if you're prepared to tackle the weather
1. Making use of the wipers
Is it essential to get the wiper blades replaced? Every 6 months to a year, we suggest changing the windshield wipers. In the shower, stains and smearing from old, degraded wiper blades limit visibility significantly.
Wipers! What would a driver do without them on a rainy day?
2. Take it slow
When it's muddy or raining, the tires’ traction reduces by a third, so decrease your speed by about the same degree. In the storm, for instance, if the posted speed is 45 mph, you can travel at 30 mph.
3. Keep a respectful space between you and the next car
In typical driving situations, you can lag behind the car going before you by 3-4 seconds. Lengthen the following distance to a minimum of 5-8 seconds when it's raining; otherwise, there will be other dangerous driving circumstances.
Don't go tail-gating or there could be consequences
4. Stop twitchy steering and hard braking
In the mud, making rapid, forceful motions is a simple way to skid or lose control of the vehicle. Have plenty of time to rest and avoid yanking the steering wheel or taking sharp corners.
5. Ensure the headlights are turned on
When using windshield wipers, drivers are also advised and even expected to switch on their headlights. This makes it easier for you to see and for others car users to see you.
While several newer vehicles have automatic driving lights, you can also switch on your headlights to ensure that your taillights are illuminated as well.
Even in the day, use your headlights, to see and to warn
6. Rather than drown, turn back.
Have an eye out for pools of water and don't move into it if you can't see the bottom. A compact vehicle may be carried by a few inches of flowing water, and the lane can be swept out by floodwaters.
Your car doesn't like to swim, you can believe that
7. When hydroplaning, be smart
When tires ride on top of a film of water, they hydroplane and lose all touch with the road. You would be unable to steer the car as a result of this. It occurs more often in heavy rain or at high velocities on slick roads, but it may also occur in light drizzle or at velocities as minimal as 35 mph.
If you're hydroplaning, slowly release the accelerator pedal, and don't spin the steering wheel until the tires have recovered traction. If you notice yourself spinning, gently move the steering wheel in the desired direction. Avoid slamming on the brakes!
8. Disable cruise control.
Cruise control is a useful tool for highway travel, but it raises the chance of losing control of the car in damp weather. The cruise control device in your vehicle may not be able to detect when your vehicle loses momentum, and it will begin to speed up even when your vehicle slides off the road!
Furthermore, as a vehicle begins to hydroplane, the first move to recapturing momentum is to reduce the velocity by releasing the accelerator pedal. If cruise control is disabled, however, this would not be possible.
Cruise control is wonderful, but not during the rains
>>> You may also like: 13 safe driving tips everyone knows but intentionally ignores
9. Make sure the engine is well ventilated
Do you have fogged-up windows? Power the air conditioning unit or open the window to get some fresh air into the vehicle. The air within the vehicle will be dehumidified, and your windshield will not fog up.
10. Stay alert
Switch off the cruise control, and put the handset away from you, and turn the music off! Driving in the rain necessitates your undivided attention. Keep an eye out for traffic risks, cyclists, and stalled vehicles. Even, other weather factors that come with rain, such as hail and high winds, should be expected.
When it starts to rain, particularly after a long period of dry weather, be extra cautious. This is due to the fact that the first rainfall combines with asphalt grime and oil debris, resulting in slippery conditions.
Learn more from the video below.
8 Driving Tips to Drive in Fog, Rain, or a Storm
Keep your gaze fixed on the road, as well as your hands on the steering wheel, and your foot poised for action! If you're looking for tires, windshield wiper blades, or tire maintenance advice, we've got you covered. Naijauto is here for safety tips for driving in the rain as well as all your car needs. Look at our car maintenance and driving section to get you started.