Welcome to a special edition of Motoring advice brought to you on Motoring World International, Nigeria’s most widely read motoring magazine. This is one of the three parts edition aimed at preparing motorists for safe motoring through the 2021 raining season.
Are you a motorist resident in the tropical regions of the earth, like Nigeria or any other country worldwide? Never forget that raining season is a period when motoring could become painful and stressful due to ill-preparedness.
Another likely experience is a flood. It is a period when highways could turn to waterways. It is a period when a vehicle could easily give up inside a pool of flood.
Before the Rain: To ensure safe motoring during the raining season, there is a need to ensure that your electrics, especially the brake lights, turn indicator and headlamps and windscreen wipers are all working.
Is your vehicle difficult to start after parking for a few days? Your battery might need replacing. Please change the battery. It is not a good experience to get stranded on a flooded road, only because the engine can’t start.
Second, and very important, visit your mechanic and get your brakes tested. And third, you need to drive on good tyres during the raining season and, of course at all times. Ensure that your tyre tread depth gauge is legal. Driving on bald tyres is a license for aquaplaning and road accident, on a wet road.
Driving in rain: Even if your car is in top form, to have a safe raining season motoring, every motorist needs to be mindful of the following vital tips suggested by the managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert:
- Aquaplaning is one of the biggest risks in rainy weather. Reduced speed is the best way to reduce the chances of this.
- If you hydroplane, slowly lift your foot from the accelerator but do not brake harshly or move your steering wheel violently.
- You also need to adjust your speed to conditions. For example, if other vehicles reduce their speed, reduce your speed as well.
- Leave larger following distances so that you have more time to respond if something goes wrong.
- Give yourself more time to stop or to go around corners.
- If you start to skid, don’t slam on the brakes. Continue steering in the direction you want to go and do not make any harsh adjustments.
- Turn on your headlights.
- If the downpour becomes extreme and there is a safe place to pull over, rather do so.
Pools of water:
- Estimate the depth of the water. Avoid driving through water that comes to the middle of your tyre or higher.
- Most drivers risk driving through a pool of water but roads that collect water are more vulnerable to collapse and it is easy to underestimate their depth.
- Where possible, drive in the middle of a road where the water is at its lowest.
- Be prepared for off spray from passing cars which can be blinding.
- Never drive through fast-flowing water; it is very difficult to judge its depth.
- Even trucks can be swept away in the right circumstances.
- If you are caught in fast-flowing water unexpectedly, drive slowly and steadily through while in first or second gear.
- Once you are through the water, lightly touch your brake a few times to dry them off.
- If you stall and you are not in danger of being swept away, do not restart your car. Rather get a mechanic to check no water has made its way into the engine.
When caught in an unexpected flash flood
- If you do feel your car losing grip with the road, open the door to let some of the water in which can help to weigh the car down and allow the tyres to grip the road again
- If you are in danger of being swept away abandon the vehicle but only if you can get to a place of safety.
- Be overcautious. Rather be safe than sorry.
This is how far we shall go in today’s special edition of Motoring Advice, courtesy of Motoring World International.
Next week, watch out for tips on how to drive through a flooded road.
Until then, please be careful out there. And observe COVID-19 safety protocols.
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