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Important facts when driving in rainy weather

Written By : Sun Fiji News. When the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt causes tires to lose traction. Less obvious is the fact that
04 Nov 2008 12:00

Written By : Sun Fiji News. When the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt causes tires to lose traction. Less obvious is the fact that rain reduces driver perception – it’s harder to see through the rain – and also decreases visibility through its action on headlights, windshields and the road itself. While most people know to slow down in the rain, there are definitely other tips that will help keep you, and those who share the road with you, from becoming a statistic.
l Exercise extreme caution after a long dry spell. During a dry period, engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When mixed with water from a new rainfall, the road becomes extremely slick. Continued rainfall will eventually wash away the oil, but the first few hours can be the most dangerous.
l Allow for more travel time. You should plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet. Keep in mind that traffic is likely to be moving slower as well. There’s also the possibility that your pre-planned route may be flooded or jammed. Whatever the case, rushing equals higher risk.
l Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally. Not only does this increase the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, it also lets the driver behind you know that you’re slowing down. Also, be more meticulous about using turn signals, so that other drivers know your intentions, and take turns and curves with less speed than you would in dry conditions.
l Most of America’s roads are crowned in the middle, which means that the water will run off to the sides. If possible, stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles.
l Don’t use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there’s the chance your car could actually accelerate. Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals – not a great idea when reaction time is so important.
l If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around it or choose a different route. It could be that it’s covering a huge gaping maw into the front door of hell. Well, maybe not, but water splashing up into your car’s engine compartment could damage its internal electrical systems. Also, a pothole may be hiding under the water, just waiting in ambush to damage a wheel or knock your suspension out of alignment. If you can’t gauge the depth, or if it’s covering up the side curb, try to avoid it.



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