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Caring and Driving Tips: Driving in the Monsoon

Snapshot: While driving in the rainy season, skidding and aquaplaning are not inevitable, here are some steps to help you recover, should you experience them!

Monsoons, comes along with slippery and water logged roads. It becomes a futile exercise for drivers to drive on water logged roads. Clueless as to how one should driver on such extreme conditions. Here's how you should -

 

Avoid Skidding
In case of skidding, here are some tips that you can deploy to avoid a mishap. 

  • Tyre Check: Bald or worn-out tyres are more susceptible to hydroplaning. Ensure they have sufficient tread depth. You can check the tread depth by taking this simple one rupee coin test. Also, keep tyres inflated with the correct air pressure.
  • Go Slow: The faster you go, the more difficult it gets for tyres to expel water from under them. When the roads are wet, drive slowly and carefully, especially on curves. 
  • Water Alert: Avoid driving through puddles and waterlogged roads and stay in the middle lane as water tends to pool in the outer lanes. 


Avoid Aquaplaning
What must you do in case your car still skids or aquaplanes?

  • Brake normally: While your instinct would be to slam the brakes, stay calm and refrain from hard braking. If your car has antilock braking system or ABS, then brake normally.
  • Be gentle with brakes: Pump the brakes with gentle thrusts and steer the car into the direction you want it to go. 
  • Do not accelerate either: Gently lift your foot off the gas pedal to slow down the car until it regains traction.
  • Give it the right direction: During aquaplaning, your car might start swaying sideways over the water. Try steering the car in the direction you want it to go (though it’s possible you may not have any steering control at all) until your tyres reconnect with the surface.


Preventing windscreen and window fogging
Windscreen/window fogging is not a huge problem but it needs to be addressed as it hinders the driver’s vision. Visibility is already low during heavy downpours and mist on the front and rear windshields only aggravate the problem. Needless to say, driving in such conditions compromises safety.

Fogging occurs due to the difference in the temperatures outside and inside the car. With the air-conditioner on full blast the temperature inside the car is much lower than on the outside, which results in the windscreen/windows fogging up from the outside. Without the air-con, the temperature outside is lower, causing fogging on the inside.

If your windscreen fogs up from the inside, switch the air-conditioner on to the ventilation mode until the fogging clears up. For windscreen fogging on the outside, use the wipers to get rid of the mist or roll down the windows to balance the temperature and switch on the heater and put it on the windshield mode. 

The key is to regulate the temperature inside so it is on par with the temperature outside. High end sedans have front as well as rear push-button defoggers but for cars without, it has to be done manually.  

To clear fogged-up windows, roll down and roll up the windows, and the rubber strip at the bottom of the windows will clear the fog. Or use micro-fibre cloth to wipe the fog off the glass.


Driving through puddles and waterlogged roads
Driving your car through stagnant water or puddles can damage your car. Here's what you must do to negotiate. 

Speeding your car through a puddle of water might bring back memories from your bicycle days, but it comes with the risk of causing serious damage to your car. Collected water on the road needs to be treated with respect, especially keeping in mind that we don’t know what’s lurking underneath it. For all you know, there could be a deep pothole or even an open manhole. Driving through such surprises can cause to you lose control of your car. It is best to stay in the centre lane, as water tends to pool on the outer lanes.

If the water is deep enough to submerge your exhaust pipe, consider taking an alternative route. Attempting to wade through deep water can ruin the electrical systems. Driving through waterlogged roads gets trickier at night as gauging the depth of the water becomes difficult. On such occasions, check the level of the water against dividers, trees, pavements before going ahead.
 
In the event you do have to drive through flooded streets, what should you do? To begin with do not panic. Keep your foot on the gas, and continue driving slowly, maintaining a constant speed. As you drive through the water, keep the throttle pedal pressed at all times, even when you need to shift gears or regulate your speed with the clutch, otherwise the water in your exhaust could stall the engine. In case you car stalls in deep water, do not open prop the bonnet to avoid further entrance of water. In the interim, call for someone who can have another vehicle tow you out with a rope or a cable winch.

Most modern cars’ air intakes are low down at the front, and speeding your car over puddles can cause hydrostatic lock as water enters the engine causing it to seize. As much fun as it seems, resist the temptation to ploughing through flooded roads. Although these tips should help you tackle waterlogged roads, it is advisable to take a detour to avert being stalled or stuck. 

Also read - caring and driving tips during monsoon: 
Preparing your car for monsoon
Protecting your car from rain

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