Here comes the rain again.
It’s that time of the year again. No, we’re not talking about Christmas, but the monsoon season with its regular yet unpredictable downpours. And because it’s the holidays, it’s also the period when many of us plan trips and long drives which can be affected by slippery roads, poor visibility and heavy traffic. But don’t worry, there are ways you can prevent the wet weather from dampening your mood. Read on for some tips on dealing with the rain while on the roads!
In rainy conditions, your windscreen wipers bear a large responsibility in allowing you to see – so check your wiper blades before you set off! If they make a squeaking noise when in operation, they might need changing. You can also apply a water repellent to your windscreen for maximum visibility in heavy rain.
As the only point of contact between your car and the road, tyres play a critical role in the operation of a car. They should have a minimum of 1.6mm (it’s mandated by the law!) of tread, but a deeper tread will help displace standing water more effectively. With insufficient tread, water breaks the contact between tarmac and rubber, causing aquaplaning*.
(Note: If your tyres do not have the recommended tread depth, it may be time to change them. Click here for our special festive promotion on tyres!)
*Aquaplaning is the situation where a layer of water builds up between your tyres and the road surface, preventing your tyres from gripping the road and in turn resulting in a loss of traction.
We can’t emphasise this enough – turn your lights on! Turning your lights on in rainy conditions not only gives you a better view of the situation ahead, but also lets other road users know that you’re there. However, avoid using your high beams as they can blind oncoming motorists.
The roads might be clear, but reduce your speed when driving in heavy rain. Wet roads not only increase your car’s braking distance, but can also cause aquaplaning (or even a spin out) if you hit the brakes too suddenly.
Tempting as it might be to use your car’s cruise control function while driving in heavy rain on the highway – don’t! Should you hit standing water, the cruise control system recognises this as a slowdown, sending more power to the wheels. In turn, this burst of acceleration builds even more water between the tyres and tarmac, increasing the risk of aquaplaning.
As a learner, the Basic Theory of Driving teaches us to follow the two-second rule – but that is most relevant when driving in normal conditions. When driving in heavy rain, it’s advisable to stay at least five seconds behind the car in front of you, taking into account the additional time required for braking.
(Image credits: Basic Theory of Driving – The Official Handbook, 9th Edition, Singapore Traffic Police)
To ensure that your Volkswagen is ready for the road ahead this rainy season, stop by the Dialogue Reception of our service centre for a Pre-Travel Inspection! Click here to find out more!