Vishal Premlall, the national director of the Tyres, Equipment and Parts Association, an esteemed affiliate of the Retail Motor Industry, emphasises the importance of checking several vehicle components as the rainy season approaches.
He underlines that while cautious driving is always vital, it becomes particularly critical during rainy weather due to challenges like reduced visibility and potential flooding.
“Stormy weather can escalate rapidly, transitioning from light rain to hail or heavy downpours. Ideally, finding a safe spot to pull over and wait it out is the best approach. However, this may not always be feasible. Discovering that your windscreen wipers or tyre tread is inadequate while on the highway is far from ideal.
“The most effective way to ensure your vehicle is ready for any weather is through regular maintenance at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Even if your car is older or second-hand and no longer under a warranty or service plan, regular servicing by a reputable workshop is essential.
“In rainy conditions, well-maintained tyres, brakes and lights can be lifesavers. So, why risk your safety and that of other road users by neglecting vehicle maintenance?”
Critical checks to perform on your car before the rain arrives
- Tyres: Examine the tyre tread and ensure proper inflation. Adequate tyre tread helps disperse water, reducing the risk of hydroplaning.
- Brakes: Wet roads can affect braking efficiency. Ensure your brakes are in optimal condition.
- Lights: Verify that all lights (headlights, taillights and brake lights) are working correctly. Use the defogger to maintain clear windshields and windows.
- Windscreen wipers: Test their functionality. They should operate smoothly without squeaks or screeches. Replace them if they leave streaks or fail to clear water effectively, including the rear window wiper.
“In addition to checking these crucial components, remember to reduce your speed in wet weather and maintain a safe following distance,” Premlall advises.
Safety tips for driving in the rain
- Puddles: Avoid driving through puddles with uncertain depths or standing water, as it can lead to loss of control and hydroplaning, potentially damaging your vehicle.
- Oil and fluids: After extended dry periods, surface oils and fluids accumulate on roads. The first rains can make roads greasy, catching drivers off guard. The road surface can feel like ice when braking.
- Visibility: Use your headlights and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to enhance visibility.
- Aquaplaning: Water buildup on roads can lead to aquaplaning. In such cases, gradually reduce speed until you regain control.
“In conclusion, be mindful that some drivers fail to adjust their driving behaviour for wet conditions. The stress of driving in the rain may cause reckless decisions to rush through situations. Always exercise caution and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles,” Premlall says.
Source: Cathy Findley PR