Better to be safe than sorry! Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com gives some helpful tips for driving in the monsoon.
You never know what you'll encounter when you take your car out in the monsoon.
From bad roads filled with potholes and traffic jams, to waterlogging and road accidents, you should be ready for the worst.
Add to that the fear that your car would break down in the middle of the road.
We have listed a few simple tips that will help you be better prepared when driving in the monsoon. Read on!
1. Check the condition of your tyres. This will ensure that you don't skid off the road.
You may need to check the tyres for cracks. Make sure that the pressure and tread depth are fine (i.e. 2-3 mm of tread left).
2. Always carry an umbrella, torch, and some food in your car.
It will be helpful in case you are stuck for hours in a traffic jam.
Dry fruits and energy bars are good as they don't rot easily and won't cause a stink inside the car.
3. Ensure that your foot pedals are not slippery. They might result in a bad accident
4. Almost every car nowadays has drain hole rubber plugs, which are round in shape.
In some old cars, these are missing. Check if yours are in place. Missing plugs lead to wet floors, even in case of mild rain.
5. Ensure that the windshield washer fluid is topped up at all times.
During the rains, dirt splatters on the windscreen from the car in front of you.
At these times, if you run the wipers without the washer fluid, it may lead to scratches on your windscreen.
6. Rubbing tobacco on the outer windscreen walls works wonders when it comes to visibility in heavy rainfall.
7. Check if the wipers are fine and your brakes are not worn out.
Starting the car
1. Let the car run idle for 30 seconds before you start. When you start, go slow as some drum brakes tend to get stuck during the rains and the car might jump forward.
2. Check your dashboard display to see if all the warning signs are off.
1. Start slow and check if the brakes are working.
If your car was parked in a place where the water level rose to the centre of the wheels, then water may have reached the brakes.
Braking slowly flushes out the water and you will regain control of the brakes in a few seconds.
2. Drive slow in the rains, and use your low gears. Braking continuously can lead to slippage.
Water on the road makes the tyres work more to get a better grip, as there is always some water between the tyres and the road.
This could be the reason why your car tends to slide and get out of control if you drive fast over waterlogged areas.
3. Keep an eye on the road and do not get distracted.
The car in front of you can stop any second if they spot a pothole. It might result in a traffic pile up. So keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.
4. Almost every second car on the street has its high beam on at night during the rains. Please do not do this!
You will impair other drivers' sight because of the strong high beam.
Always use low beams because what you need to see first is the road and not things up ahead.
5. Depending on the ground clearance of your vehicle, stay on the road as much as possible.
The sides of the road tend to get water logged first. Stay in the middle lane if you have a low slung car.
6. Concrete roads are very slippery unlike the good old tar roads.
Bridges and flyovers can also be extra slippery, so drive carefully over these areas. Again, do not speed
7. Never splash into a puddle as it could severely damage your car. For instance, water getting into your air intake could bend the piston rods and kill your engine.
8. Be carefull before you overtake a bus or a truck as these huge vehicles have absolutely no rear view.
Almost surely they can't see you! Honk and flash your headlights before you try to overtake them.
9. If you aren't sure about the depth of a waterlogged area, do NOT drive through it. Taking an alternate route is best.
If you just have to use that stretch, wait until another car/bus attempts to pass the the flooded area and then gauge its depth.
Never drive through a waterlogged area unless you know how deep it is and that your car can handle it.
10. Switch off your air-conditioning before entering the flooded area.
11. When driving through a flooded street, shift to the first gear, slip the clutch if needed and keep the revs high enough to ensure that the exhaust gases are pushed out of the tail pipe.
Do not stop your acceleration. The lower your car's speed, the better.
If your car stalls, it is very difficult to start it again. But that does not mean you get stressed and drive. Always be calm while driving.
12. If your car does stall, do not attempt to restart. This may lead to engine hydrolock.
You first need to check if any water has entered the air intake or exhaust pipe. So call your mechanic and get it towed to avoid any major damage
13. Once you cross a waterlogged area, tap your brakes to dry the drums and discs off while you drive. This will take a few seconds. The process is similar to what you did when you started the car.
14. When the windscreen and windows fog from the inside, the best thing to do is to switch the AC on.
It will clear up the screens in a few seconds.
Fogging windows are a little trickier when it happens from the outside.
The ideal solution is to roll down the windows a little, and let the air flow more or less to neutralise the temperature difference.
Most modern cars come with the demist/defog mode as part of the standard HVAC system.
15. Last but not the least! It is important to enjoy your drive. Keep calm, be smart and drive through the rains.