Every year around these months, dark clouds and heavy rainfall take over almost all of India. With the monsoons in full force, getting out on road requires a lot of caution. The road condition deteriorates drastically during monsoons. We know that driving even during heavy rain is unavoidable. Therefore, we bring you a pro guide on how to be safe and sound when the skies open up next time during your commute.
Get your car monsoon ready
Your car is the first shield that saves you from the weather. You should take utmost care of your vehicle.
Start with the tyres. They are the most important cushion between you and the road. Check for the tread by putting a small coin between the treads. If the depth is less than 2 mm, we recommend that to get the tyres changed. The tread gets rid of water and helps you to maintain the grip with the road.
Severe aquaplaning, where water forms a cushion between tyre and road can happen due to absence of deep tread in tyres and that can put you off-control. Always check the pressure of the tyres before starting. It is recommended that you fill about 2 psi less than the recommended air pressure during wet conditions to get more grip from the surface.
Clean your windshield properly and make sure that there is no oil or grease. Oil or grease can hamper the visibility once it comes in contact with water. Also, check your wiper and get them replaced if they don’t remove the water properly from the windscreen. Getting aftermarket wipers with good blades are an ideal investment for rainy drives.
Water seal your car
Check all the rubber beadings around the doors, and the rubber sealants around the front and rear windshield. A small leak inside the car and leave a bad odor and may even put the electrical wiring and electronic instruments in a hazard. Also, if the car is very old, check for any rust holes on the floor and fix them before you wander into water infested territories.
Check all lights
Give a thorough check to your headlamps and get them adjusted or replaced if needed. Also, take help of someone or place an object on the brake pedal to check the brake lamps. The headlamps and brake lamps make you visible under poor conditions. If your car has fog lamps, give them a good inspection too. Indicators need to work properly, too.
The friction between the disc and brake pads go down when wet. The brakes work harder with an increase in wear and tear. Always check the brakes and get them changed if required. Due to poor visibility in rain, you may have to apply brakes in emergency situations, the brakes always need to be in optimum condition.
Check the AC/Defogger
Rain brings in a lot of humidity which settles down on surfaces like the windshield and brings down the visibility substantially. Check for any obstacles in front of vents of the defogger. Check the rear defogger if your car features one. Make sure that the AC is in optimum condition. The AC removes the humidity from the air which is then used by defogger to remove the moisture from the windshield.
Keep the essentials
Newspapers, tissues, car freshener, umbrella are few essentials that you should always keep during monsoons.
Driving through rain
This is the most challenging part of the monsoon. Indian roads are not the safest in the world and without proper drainage, the roads become precarious.
Reduce the speed, always be in the range of 45-50 km/h. Maintain at a longer distance between the car in front of you. It will give you enough time to react if the car in front applies brakes suddenly. Also, you will stay clear of the water splashes from the car in front.
Always be alert
If the roads are known to you, make a map in your head about the potholes that you may remember from your last trip on the same route. If you are travelling for the first on the route, always be extra cautious and keep an eye out for potholes and water logging. Try to stay clear of the water logged roads as big potholes may lie under them. Also, be alert of the position of the other motorists on the road.
Stay in control
Never overspeed on wet roads. A phenomenon called aquaplaning may occur during which water forms a layer between the tyres and the road which results in instant loss of control. Hitting a puddle at high speed also throw the car off-balance. If you feel that you are losing control, do not panic. Do not hit the brakes or the steer the car. Allow the car to slow down by easing your foot on the accelerator.
Headlamp and tail lamps
Always put your car in low beam if the rain in heavy else, keep it in the parking light mode. This will greatly help the motorists who are behind you to spot you and will also make you more visible to the oncoming traffic. Never use the hazard lamps, they are not supposed to be used during low visibility conditions. Hazard lamps can confuse other motorists about your movements and can cause accidents.
Check if the water level is not above the air-intake of your car. Water can enter into the engine through the intake and damage the engine permanently by hydrostatic locking your engine. Always be in the lowest gear possible and be in high revs to make sure that the water does not enter the exhaust tip.
Parking your car
Now that you have reached the point and want to park the car, there are few points to do it safely during monsoon season.
Avoid low-lying areas
If you park your car in underground basement and it often gets filled with water, find a new place to safely park your vehicle. Higher areas are better to park during monsoons. Never park near big trees or electric poles, they can fall due to strong winds.
Always make sure that you clean any dirt on the floor and dry the electricals with tissues to avoid any short circuits. Place newspapers on seats if they are wet. A damp car can lead to very pungent smell and can form moulds inside. Drying the interior properly is very important.
Wipe the exterior
A sunny day is a good time to wipe clean the exteriors. You can also apply wax based polish on the metal and plastic surface of the car to repel water and save it from any rust.
Follow all these steps and drive like a pro the next time you greet the monsoons.