During days of downpours, three things increase the risk of vehicular accidents: decreased visibility, reduced traction, and motorist behavior. To help you stay safe on the road during this time of the year, our friends from Michelin have outlined six driving tips when it's rainy:
* Exercise utmost caution. Road conditions during stormy weather may confuse drivers. So drive a bit more slowly so you can react better to road conditions and what other motorists will do.
* Anticipate when you need to make a full stop. Wet brakes are troublesome because they won't work as efficiently when you step on them. Step on the brakes lightly even though you're still within a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Then gradually increase pressure until you make a full stop. After going through a puddle, gently dab on your brakes repeatedly to dry your rotors. This will prevent you from skidding or losing control.
* Don't tailgate. Make sure you can always see the taillights of the car in front of you. Better yet, make it a habit to see the whole car in front of you up to the bottom of its rear tires. You need distance to react to what the car in front of you will do.
* Use your lights and signals the correct way. As soon as it starts to rain, you may turn on your headlights to improve visibility. Play it safe and honk your horn when passing another vehicle. Now, this is also where many motorists in the Philippines get it wrong. In fact, even the tip from Michelin is wrong. The tire company says: "If you can't see the road ahead, turn on your hazard lights." Wrong. When you can't see the road ahead, you pull over and stop until road visibility improves. You don't carry on while your hazard lights are on. This is a common mistake among Filipino drivers. When you leave your hazard lights on, you remove your ability to indicate to other motorists if you're turning left or right. Plus, using your hazard lights won't make things more visible if you're in a zero-visibility situation. The solution is to stop by the side of the road, period.
* Avoid flooded areas if you can. Turn on your AM radio. Check your Waze or MMDA phone app to know where the traffic jams and floods are. If you find yourself in a flooded street, stay in the middle portion of the road--it has the least water buildup. If floodwaters are too deep, pull over or park somewhere. Don't risk submerging your car in floodwater and have your engine conk out.
* Use the right tires. Of course, this is the part where Michelin tries to sell you its wet-weather tires. According to the tire company: "Some tire models are made specifically for rainy weather. Use them during the monsoon season to get good traction on slippery terrain." Michelin, in fact, has a tire selector online that can help you choose tires.
Do you have other rainy-season driving tips? Share them in the comments box below. Drive safely, everyone!
Photo from sxc.hu