These rainy months (August, September, and October) is that time of the year when road travel is laden with various risks. With side effects ranging from slippery roads to massive unseen potholes, road travel in Nigeria during the rainy season becomes precarious, causing an increase in the cases of road traffic accidents.
Driving conditions during the monsoon season are difficult because of wet roads and low visibility, which worsen traffic conditions. All these factors increase the risk of accidents.
Driving safely in bad weather is definitely crucial. Here are some safety tips when driving in the rain you’ll want to take note of.
Check Your Car Before Driving
Give your car a thorough inspection before you take it out for a drive, especially during inclement weather. Pay close attention to your windshield and wipers, battery, headlights, brakes, and tires.
Windshield and Wipers
Don’t forget to inspect your windshield and wipers. Your windshield should be free from stains, its wipers must be in good working condition.
During the rainy season, car batteries tend to drain quickly because of the prolonged use of the headlights and windshield wipers. When their wiring gets wet, it could lead to a short circuit.
Prevent these issues by regularly checking your battery’s condition and replacing it every two years.
Especially in heavy downpours, having fully operational headlights in excellent condition is a must for your driving safety. Check your headlights—they might already be dark or fogged up with scratches and need to be cleaned.
Inspect also the headlight bulbs. If they’re in poor condition, install new ones, ideally yellow or gold bulbs that provide a better contrast to improve both vision and visibility.
Well-maintained brakes are essential for wet-weather driving. Check for wear in the brake pads, along with the brake fluid. When your fluid isn’t golden anymore, it needs to be replaced.
Check your tires for tread and pressure. If they feel a little tender or if the treads are worn out, replace them immediately. Worn-out tires have less grip, especially on wet roads, which can cause your car to lose control while you’re driving.
When replacing your tires, invest in models made specifically for the rainy season, as they provide good traction on slippery roads.
Braving through difficult road conditions entails extra caution. Keep in mind these safety tips when driving during a downpour.
Adjust your Speed to Match the Traffic Speed
Although it makes sense to drive a bit more slowly when it’s raining, you don’t want to drive at a speed below the prevailing traffic speed. Motorists behind you might get too impatient with your slow pace, causing them to drive recklessly. This scenario might end up in a car collision.
So, how fast or slow should you drive in bad weather? The key is to match the pace of traffic. If it moves slowly, reduce your speed. If it speeds up, keep up with the pace. This is one of the most important safety tips when driving.
Slow Down When Approaching Deep Puddles and Curves
If you drive too fast through standing water, it will splash underneath your vehicle, getting its electrical parts and engine wet and causing a short circuit. You’ll end up being stranded in the middle of the road with your stalled car while it’s raining.
You also have to drive a little more slowly on curves to prevent skidding. Step on the brake pedal mildly as you approach curves.
Drive More Smoothly
The rainy season is the time to be a smooth driver at all times. It’s important to steer, accelerate, and brake gently when driving along slippery roads and through poor visibility condition.
Beware of Road Hazards
When driving in the rain, watch out for humps, street diggings, open manholes, and other hazards on the road. Be alert around pedestrians carrying umbrellas and wearing hooded jackets, as these can limit their vision.
Use Your Auto Lights Properly
Visibility is greatly reduced when you’re driving in the rain, so it’s important to know which automotive lights to use or not. Remember these auto lighting safety tips when driving during bad weather.
Switch Your Headlights On
Even if it’s daytime, once it begins to rain, you should turn on the headlights so that you can better see the road ahead.
Don’t Use High Beams
Use your low beams and rear fog lights to ensure that other drivers are aware of your presence on the road. High beams are a no-no as you might blind other motorists.
Don’t Turn On Your Hazard Lights
When your hazard lights are on, it informs other motorists that your vehicle isn’t moving (when it’s really not). They won’t know if you’re about to turn or overtake.
Also, the flashing lights limit not only your vision but also of other drivers. If drivers near you can’t see clearly, they might hit your car.
Use your hazard lights only during an emergency like when your vehicle has stalled and become a road hazard.
Control Your Car When It’s Skidding
While skidding doesn’t happen as often, you must know what to do when your car goes into a skid. The most important thing to remember is to not panic, ease your foot off the gas pedal, and avoid slamming on the brakes—you’ll lose even more control.
Steer carefully in the direction that you want to go, until the front of your car is moving in a straight line and the back of your car is in line with the front.
Keep a Safe Distance From the Other Car
Tailgating—or driving too closely behind another car—may seem tempting, given that the roads tend to be slick and traffic is slow moving. This is the last thing you want to do. It’s dangerous both for you and the motorist ahead of you. If the other car stops suddenly, it will lead to a collision.
Having a safe distance between you and the other car helps you react in case you might actually need to. You should be able to see the taillights of the vehicle in front of you.
Avoid Flood-Prone Roads
As much as possible, refrain from passing through flood-prone areas during the rainy season. Unless your vehicle is built for wading through floodwaters, never make the mistake of driving through floods—your car is not a speedboat!
If you’re in a flooded street, pull over to the side of the road or park your car on higher ground and wait until the water recedes
Source: Money Max