Motoring With Tawanda Matanhire: Driving Under Rain Conditions


The rainy season has come upon us and coincides with the festive season when people get to travel
a lot.
During the holidays there is a rise in vehicular traffic on the highway as most people will be fulfilling
their long awaited expeditions. As such, the rains during this period directly contribute to high
accident rates.
There is need to be disciplined as too much happiness during the period could instantly turn into
sorrow. Most importantly, it is good that we always get to our destination safe.
In this regard, today's column gives you an insight on precautions one could take when driving on
these busy roads during the rainy season.

Driving under light showers or a heavy downpour can be one of the most difficult driving situations
a driver can encounter.
Knowing how wet roads and reduced visibility affects the way your vehicle handles will help you
drive safely under rainy conditions.
As such here are some tips that could help you manouvre to reduce your chances of being caught up
in an unfortunate situation on the road.

1. If You Can, Wait Until The Weather Improves
At times there is really no need to rush the journey when the weather is bad. If you feel
uncomfortable driving in the rain and can postpone your trip or commute, wait until the weather
improves before driving. There is no reason to put yourself in danger if driving in wet conditions is
not necessary.

2 Double Check Your Car
Make sure that your car is in working order before encountering rainy weather. Check your
headlights, tail lights, and windshield wipers to make sure that they will work efficiently when they
are needed. Also check the tread of your vehicle’s tyres. Balding tires can severely reduce traction on
wet roadways.

3 Slow Down
Not only should you adhere to the posted speed limits when driving under wet weather conditions,
you should drive considerably slower than you normally would. Wet roads are very dangerous. Your
vehicle’s reaction time is much slower when it is raining. Reduced speed is imperative in rainy

4 Turn On Your Headlights
Even if it is only misty, turning on your vehicle’s headlights will increase your visibility and that of
other drivers on the road.

5 Use Your Windshield Wipers
While this may seem like common sense, some people forget to turn on their windshield wipers
during light rain. Most car windshield wiper speed is adjustable to clear moisture from the glass in
light mist or during a heavy downpour. There are also several products available that can be sprayed
or wiped onto the windshield and to defer the collection of rainwater. Your wipers should be
replaced once you hear a scraping noise or see some streaking from the blades.

6 Maintain A Safe Following Distance
Keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Stopping your vehicle will
be more difficult when driving in the rain.

7 Avoid Heavy Braking
Try to slow down your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally
would in preparation to slow down or stop. Don’t use cruise control so that your attention on using
both the accelerator and brakes are in tune.

8 Watch Out For Stagnant Water
Driving through stagnant water can cause hydroplaning to occur. This is a situation when you lose
traction and skid across the surface of the road. To avoid hydroplaning, drive around places where
water has collected by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas. Six inches of water can
cause loss of control on the road.

9 Let Foot Off The Accelerator When Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is one of the most common car accidents in the rain because drivers can lose control. If
your car hydroplane…

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