Driving in the rain

Garwin Beukes - About two weeks ago we started a series of “must know” topics, last time we touched on changing a wheel. This time round we tackle a very serious issue that has taken lives and has caused so much tragedies in our country - driving in the rain.

Driving in any type of severe weather can significantly increase the risk of putting you, your family and others in danger. One thing we should remember is that severe weather demands your undivided attention, so the first and probably most valued tip would be reduce any possible distractions. Some of these may include - turning off the radio, as well as your cell-phone or any other device that would possibly distract you.

The best advice I could give is to completely stay off the road until the rain stops but this option is not always possible so let’s look at a few factors:

Number one on our list, would be to turn your lights on. One of the biggest dangers about driving in the rain is the lack of visibility. Unlike driving on a sunny day, you do not always have a clear view in front of you. By turning your headlights on, it not only betters your view but also makes you more visible to oncoming traffic.

Reduce your average driving speed. Take your time. Applying your brakes gently ahead of time is a good habit to ensure that you don't slide into the vehicle ahead of you. One of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on roadway make for slick conditions. Waiting a few minutes, rather than rushing to your destination, can be a safer plan when it is raining.

Avoid flooded roads such as dips in the road. Give other vehicles more space. Even if you’re not tailgating, driving a ‘normal’ distance behind another vehicle may not be enough if the road is wet. Make provision for performing an emergency brake to ensure that when worse comes worse - you’re still safe!

Watch out for splashes from potholes and pools.

Approach traffic lights and stop signs very carefully and not at full speed! Its no secret that Namibian drivers have are extremely good at driving badly, this is why you need to be the exception. Drive for your and the next persons safety.

Catch me again next week for your weekly ‘must know’ car tip.