Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Driving in rain on Indian roads

Driving in rain on Indian roads

Monsoon is definitely the most awaited season in India. The entire country’s agriculture being rainfall dependent and the sultry summers for so many months, monsoon does bring in a lot of respite for the Indians. However, for driving enthusiasts like me, rainfall is definitely a show spoiler.

Talking about driving in rain on Indian roads, I will stick to the drives on highways. In city driving, rain is always not that bad except the water logging. Who would mind a romantic drive in the rain alongwith your wife or girlfriend? However, when it comes to long drives, rain does play a spoil-sport.

Things to consider while driving in rain:

  1. The obvious things first – the roads will be wet and slippery. Hence the first thing to ponder about should be good braking. Braking again depends on 2 factors, tyre tread condition and ABS+EBD+BA kind of technology.
    • Tyre condition: Just be vigilant about your tyre tread wear. Deeper the tread pattern, better the hold on the road. Bald tyres are an invitation to disaster on wet roads.
    • ABS+ABD+BA: Technology like these can save you on a bad day, save you much better than you can even think of. Read my other post on braking technology to understand this better. So prefer to have a car with these technologies for rainy driving condition.
  2. Wipers are important equipment - ensure the rubber on the wiper is smooth and while moving on the windscreen it should not be noisy. If any sound comes while operating wipers, get them changed as soon as possible.
  3. If visibility is hampered badly because of the downpours then just stop by. It is not a good idea to keep moving in torrential rain when you can’t see the highway ahead. Be even more cautious if it is night driving.
  4. If you really need to be moving even when visibility goes low, then ensure you follow the white lane markings on the highway; sometimes that is still visible even if it is raining heavily.
  5. Always keep the AC on, even if you feel cold inside. The moment you switch off the AC you will notice haze on your windscreen, this happens because the temperature is colder outside the glass and inside the car it is hot that’s why vapours condense on the inside of your windscreen. (Remember a glass filled with cold water has mist condensed outside – same principle). So to avoid possible accident cause, just turn on the AC and keep the temperature just optimum. If the air is chilled direct it towards the inside of the windscreen.
  6. I have noticed many times that the water forms small puddles near the median section of the road, just beside the road divider. If the car is in good speed (above 40 / 50 kmph) if you go through this water puddle, you will notice that the car goes off-balance and vibrates quite a bit through that water. So try to take the left lane in case of rain to avoid these small puddles.
  7. You could possibly use high beam to increase your visibility however fog lamps can be used as well.
  8. If your car doesn’t have a rear wiper / defogger then again it’s a challenge. It’s very very difficult to understand who is coming behind you. Since the side view mirror also doesn’t help much as the side window is all wet hence you can’t see through it as well. If you have rear wiper then use it at your will, if not then the only thing that I can say is – be cautious.
  9. Last but not the least – slow down!

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