While the rainy season brings a lot of relief after the summer, it comes with its own set of problems. As a motorist or commuter, you’ll face a number of issues on the road such as waterlogging, poor visibility and endless traffic jams. Keeping this in mind, we’ve outlined some important tips for you to tackle the ever changing and challenging road conditions.
Gauge the situation
Waterlogged roads are a common sight in the rainy season. So, the first thing that you should do as a motorist is to gauge the depth of water before taking a plunge of faith. Check the oncoming traffic or notice the car in front as they wade through water. You can also check the level of water by using dividers, trees, pavements, etc., as a reference point. In case you already find yourself in the middle of a tricky situation – check if the water level is rising above your door sills. If that happens to be the case, you might want back off since the water can enter the exhaust system of the car, stalling the vehicle and leaving you stranded.
The best thing you could do to avoid being stuck in an unwanted situation is to…wait. Don’t rush into things and don’t drive in waterlogged areas like there’s no tomorrow. Stay calm, analyse and only then move forward. Also, try and maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead and behind your car, it’ll give you some extra time to react in case things go awry.
Stick to the outside lane
Roads are engineered to have a slight slope towards the left so as to channel the rain water to the drainage system. In case you find yourself stuck in a waterlogged road, try and stick to the outermost lane. The water level on the out will be much lesser than on the inside.
Stay on the gas
While driving through roads filled with water, be on the accelerator pedal all the time. Of course, you don’t have to floor it but, maintain a steady and constant speed. Try to stay in one gear as well and avoid gear shifts. This is done in order to keep the water from entering the exhaust system.
Don’t try hard
Trying to crank a stalled car while stuck in waterlogged roads is one of the most common mistakes. Not to mention, it could also turn out to be one expensive affair. If you find your vehicle has stalled because of waterlogging, that could be due to the fact that the the air intake system has sucked in some water. By trying to start the vehicle over and over again, the intake system will eventually send water into the car’s engine, thereby, resulting in a condition called hydrostatic lock. This essentially means your car's engine is seized!
During monsoon, it is better to look out for alternate routes which are likely to be less flooded. Even if it happens to be a longer route to your destination, take it. Being safe and late is better than being sorry. And if you can stay at home, there’s nothing better!
Rain causes humidity and temperature differences when you’re driving. This results in the windshield of your vehicle getting all fogged up, thereby, impairing your vision. In such cases, you could use the defogger with ‘fresh air’ mode and not on ‘recirculation’, or roll down your window slightly and turn off your air conditioner.
If you see smoke coming out of your vehicle, don’t panic. It could just be the hot exhaust pipe coming in contact with the water – it’s just steam in that case. However, if your vehicle hasn’t been serviced regularly and you smell something funny, don’t over-rev the engine and play close attention to dashboard warnings.