7 Lifehacks of Driving in Wet Weather
You probably know the feeling only too well, you are about to venture out somewhere and much to your dismay, the heavens have opened, it has started to rain.
Your reaction? You might jump in your car to safely avoid getting soaked in the showers.
Is your car safe in a wet environment? Are you, and your vehicle prepared for severe weather conditions?
Following these tips will provide a much safer drive:
Rain is the second biggest cause of accidents in New Zealand right after distracted driving, following distractions whilst driving. This is often due to individuals underestimating the required adaptation to their driving style in the rain.
For example, motorists often forget that on a wet and slippery road, tyres have far less grip, leading to both a loss of traction when turning at speed, and a vast increase in braking distance. An additional 18 meters are required when braking from 80 - 0 km/h.
Other notable causes include drivers overestimating, and depending upon the capabilities of the ABS system, and usage of the brakes while turning, rather than slowing down sufficiently before a bend is reached.
So what do you need to make sure you’re safe? What can you do to prevent an accident on a wet road?
The most important factors to consider when driving in wet conditions are, naturally, the parts that directly impact the performance of your vehicle in the rain. These include your windscreen wipers, your headlights, but most importantly, your tyres.
It's imperative you in ensure your tyres are in optimum condition. Your tread depth must meet the minimum legal requirement of 1.5mm, however, it is highly recommended by tyre manufacturers to never allow the depth to go below 3mm, tyre performance will decrease drastically beyond this point.
To assure your tyres are in good condition, check the tyre wear regularly, at least once or twice a month, particularly before embarking on longer journeys. This helps prevent undetected damage to your tyre, which at best, will lead to degradation of tyre performance but in the worst, and very serious cases, cause a failure of the tyre, thus placing you, any passengers and other road-users in danger.
Furthermore, always bear in mind whilst driving in wet weather that the signed speed limit is the maximum safe speed in ideal driving conditions, it does not necessarily signal a safe speed in the rain. So slow down, and always double the distance between your car, and the vehicle in front when it’s raining. By doing so, you will allow yourself sufficient time to react in conditions dictating poor visibility, and greater braking distances.
Lastly, never forget that aquaplaning (a loss of traction due to the layer of water between the road and your tyre) poses a huge risk when it is raining. During heavy rain, 80 km/h should be your absolute top speed to avoid such a scenario. A minimum tread depth of 4mm is also recommended to help prevent aquaplaning.
If you find yourself in a situation where your car is aquaplaning, avoid quick responses with your steering wheel. Furthermore, don’t apply the brakes too heavily, as a sudden reaction could result in the car losing traction even when it is traveling in a straight direction.
If you keep these tips in mind when driving in the wet your focus will greatly reduce the possibility of an accident, allowing you to benefit from a safe drive, safe from the rain.
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