Driving in the Rain: 7 Simple Tips That Might Just Save Your Life
The rainy season is once again upon us. Some dread it, others love it. One thing is for sure though: In a country that already has almost seven million registered vehicles, the rainy season almost always signals more road accidents due to adverse conditions. Fortunately, many of these accidents can easily be prevented, if only we know (and follow) these simple tips while driving in the rain:
1. Slow down
Driving fast is ALWAYS a bad idea when it’s raining. Your chances of losing control of your car skyrockets due to a phenomenon known as hydroplaning. Simply put, this happens when your tire loses grip on the road because of water, which in turn leads to loss of vehicle control. So, when it starts to pour, slow down to manageable speeds, keeping in mind the minimum speed limit if there’s any. In case your tires start to lose grip, don’t step on the brakes in panic. Reduce speed instead until you regain control of your vehicle, then bring your car to the side of the road.
2. Turn your headlights on
If your car doesn’t come with running lights as newer cars do, make sure to switch your headlights on even during daytime when you begin to have a limited view of the road. If you can’t see far ahead, chances are your fellow drivers are having the same problem. Turning on your headlights makes it easier for them to spot you. And make sure to practice proper turn signals for the sake of those behind you.
3. Don’t turn on hazard lights unless it’s an emergency
Speaking of turning on lights, do not turn on hazard mode when it’s raining. Yes, it’s tempting to do so thinking it will make your car more visible. But your regular lights, if turned on, are enough. Turning on your hazard lights will only confuse other riders because either they think you’re having a real emergency, or they won’t know which direction you’re turning to. Either isn’t good, so save your hazard lights for when you really need them.
4. Replace worn wiper blades
When was the last time you replaced your wiper blades? A streaking wiper blade isn’t just horrendously annoying to hear; it can also impede your ability to see the road clearly. Make sure to replace your wiper blades once a year—twice if you use your car frequently.
5. Make sure your brakes are in good condition
Your brakes are your most potent protection against road mishaps, so make sure to stick to its periodic maintenance schedule. If your brakes start to feel mushy, stick to the floor, or if it takes longer for you to come to a full stop, have your brake system inspected by a mechanic ASAP. There’s no use driving carefully when you can’t actually break hard when needed.
6. Avoid flooded roads
Sure, you have an awesome 4x4 pickup that can go anywhere, so why not drive into a waist-deep flood, right? Well, not everyone has a big ‘ol car that can survive floods. But even if you do, you’re putting yourself and your passengers in unnecessary danger. Go the easier way—just avoid flooded roads. Wait for the floods to subside or look for another route. In storm-level downpours, it’s also better to wait it out in places like malls or gas stations. Some gas stations, like Cleanfuel, even have airconditioned restrooms and bunk bed stations for drivers to rest up before they go back on the road.
7. Gas up ahead
It’s funny to read or hear, but many of us forget to gas up because of habit. Rains, especially heavy downpours, slow down traffic, which might lead you to overestimate your travel time to your favorite gas pump. So, go ahead and fill up ahead at reliable gas stations so you’ll be safe and secure in knowing you won’t be left stranded in a middle of a storm with an empty fuel tank.