If you're a relatively inexperienced driver you may not have been out much in very rainy weather. Driving lessons and driving tests may not have helped you very much, as these all tend to take place in dry conditions. With the rainy season approaching in your part of the country, what do you need to know about best driving practices and the equipment that you use on your car, before the deluge begins?
Remember, You're the Driver
If you have a more modern car, then you may be able to rely on certain technological aids to help you drive in bad conditions. Always use these as a backup, however, and never rely on them one hundred percent when you're on the open road.
Be Careful with Cruise Control
Some people think that cruise control is a magical device that will always keep them safe. Yet just remember what it is. It is designed to help you maintain a set speed (and ideally not to exceed any limits), but nothing else. It's not going to automatically maintain a set distance from cars around you and it's always best to control acceleration and braking in unpredictable conditions. It's usually a good idea to disconnect cruise control in particularly rainy situations, so that you can gradually accelerate and decelerate instead. This will transfer the weight of the vehicle back and forth onto the front steering wheels more gingerly, enabling the tyres to maintain traction more effectively.
Can Traction Control Help?
Traction control may well help you if it is fitted to your car. This technology is controlled by a central computer and is designed to help you avoid spinning wheels on a wet surface. Even so, don't be overly reliant on these driver aids.
In very wet conditions you'll want to stay away from the dreaded aquaplane (or hydroplane as called in America). This type of phenomenon occurs when the tyres lose contact completely with the underlying road surface and happens when the tread on the tyres is not able to evacuate the amount of liquid encountered effectively.
It can be terrifying for new drivers, but if it happens don't panic and simply take your foot off the accelerator gradually. Steer into the direction of any slide and avoid braking unless you have to. Usually, the aquaplane will only last for a couple of seconds and you'll be able to regain control.
Are Your Tyres up to It?
However, this is also one reason why you need to upgrade the tyres on your car before the start of the rainy season. You may not notice how much the tread on these tyres had worn down during hot summer days and they could be far less effective than they used to be. Remember that tyres with worn tread will be even less effective against aquaplaning, should it happen.