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Tips for driving safely in the rain

Some wise scribe once said that Singapore has four seasons – hot, hotter, hottest and … rain. “Thundery showers” is how our weather service usually calls it, although we do get dismal downpours that last for days when monsoon periods descend on us.

Driving in the rain can be dangerous.  And since we never know when the skies will open up on us, here are a few important things to keep in mind if you find yourself heading out for a drive on slick roads.

1. Slow down.

Wet roads make for hazardous driving conditions. In fact, the first few minutes after it starts raining is the most dangerous time to drive. Vehicles drip engine oil on the road every day. When it rains – even if it’s a drizzle – road surfaces become very slippery.  It will take a while for the rain to wash away everything. Whether it’s a passing shower or a heavy downpour, drive slower than you would usually.

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2. Switch on your lights.

Heavy lashings of rainwater will limit your ability to see what is in front and around you.  Switch on your headlights to increase your visibility when it is raining, even during the day.  Have your tail lights on as well, if these do not come on automatically, as these help other motorists to see your vehicle and prevent them from rear-ending you.

3. Keep a safe distance.

Given the slippery road conditions, your vehicle’s reaction time will be slower.  Give yourself enough time and distance to stop your vehicle. That means keeping a safe distance of several car lengths (try counting to 5 seconds if you’re unsure) between your car and other vehicles. Ignore other motorists who may honk at you for being a slow poke.

4. Don’t “jam brake”.

Speaking of stopping, do not jam your brakes when driving in the rain as your car might skid. Try to release your foot from the accelerator earlier to prepare to slow down. Then press your foot gently on the brake pedal and ease it off slowly.

5. Steer in the direction you are heading.

When you drive too fast on wet or flooded roads, you might end up hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when you lose traction and skid. If that happens, keep calm and gently take your foot off the accelerator.  Then hold on to the steer in the direction that your car is heading.  Do not slam on your brakes or make sudden turns.

6. Don’t use cruise control.

Ironically, you can lose control of your vehicle if you use cruise control on wet roads.   This is because the car will try to maintain speed even as you are trying to ease off the accelerator to prevent traction loss. The automatic acceleration will also be detrimental if you hydroplane. Under wet weather conditions, it is better that you remain fully engaged with your brakes and accelerator.

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7. Have a good set of tyres.

A good set of tyres will provide much needed traction and grip on the road. Check your tyre tread and pressure. With balding tyres, it does not take a lot of speed or driving through deep puddles of water to hydroplane. Service your vehicle regularly to ensure the rest of your car parts – brakes, lights, windshield wipers etc – are in good working condition too.

8. Stop driving if there is very heavy rain.

If you can no longer see other vehicles or control your own car properly, pull over at the nearest safe spot and wait for the rain to lighten up. Keep your head and tail lights as well as your hazard lights on to warn other drivers.

Stay safe!

You will come across inclement weather at some point or other. If you cannot avoid driving in the rain, keep these tips in mind. In the meantime, ensure your vehicle is well maintained so that you are ready to drive safely when it starts pouring.

Service regularly, drive slowly, and remain calm and steady!

Contact Performance Motors or Quick Lane for your vehicle servicing and maintenance needs.


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