Malaysia is currently experiencing its’ monsoon season, which the Malaysian Meteorological Department says will end sometime in September 2017. Until then, you can expect it to rain pretty often.
While many Malaysians are old hands at driving in heavy rain, rain makes for some pretty slick conditions. This isn’t limited to when it’s raining cats and dogs either — a light rain or even after the rain has stopped will leave the roads wet and treacherous.
In all cases, drivers will need to take precautions to avoid accidents. So without further adieu, we present our smart tips for safe driving in (or after) the rain.
Unless there’s something really wrong with your car, your tyres are the only part of your vehicle that touches the road. Making sure you have sufficient tyre tread could be the difference between life and death when it comes to driving in the rain.
The tread in your tyres are what helps them grip the road when driving by channeling water, mud, and debris away from the contact patch. Running tyres on low tread is dangerous enough when it’s dry; in wet, slippery conditions, the lack of tread can mean difficulty stopping, and a higher likelihood of losing control of your vehicle and skidding or spinning into an accident.
You can check the depth of your tyre tread using the built-in tread depth indicators:
If your tyres have worn down to the indicator, they need to be replaced. You should also take care to keep them inflated to the right pressure so they can give you the best amount of grip.
The purpose of your windscreen wipers are pretty self-evident — they wipe collected water off of your windscreen so that your vision isn’t distorted.
A properly functioning set of wipers will work quietly, and won’t leave behind streaks and chatter marks. You can also apply a glass treatment like Rain-X to your windscreen to help your wipers function more effectively. Rain-X helps water flow off the glass easily, preventing smearing and improving visibility.
It’s recommended to change your windscreen wipers every six months to a year, but this will depend on the material and quality of your wipers. They should be changed as soon as you notice a problem with their functioning. Continuing to use bad wipers can result in permanent scratches in your windscreen glass, besides them not properly doing their job, which results in reduced wet weather visibility.
If you’ve replaced your wipers and they still aren’t functioning properly, it could be problem with your wiper motor, which can also wear out or become damaged. Get it checked by a professional to determine the root of the problem.
Headlights aren’t just for night time! If the rain is any heavier than a light drizzle, you should turn on your headlights to maintain good visibility. Your tail lights will also come on, which will help other drivers see your vehicle.
Heavy rain comes with fog and mist, which will make it difficult to see distances. Your tail lights will help prevent other drivers from rear-ending your vehicle (and also prevent you from rear-ending them).
As you’ve probably figured, a lot of the issues when it comes to wet weather driving are to do with maintaining visibility — both seeing other vehicles and being seen by them. A large part of this involves the head and tail lights of your car, so it’s important to make sure they’re functioning well.
Your tail lights work on a relay system, which means they are automatically turned on when your headlights are turned on. You should occasionally check that you don’t have any busted bulbs by switching on your headlights and going around your vehicle for a spot-check.
This will also help you identify if there are any wiring issues — it’s unlikely to have more than 1 bulb busted at a time, so if this is the case with your vehicle, you should have your wiring checked.
Hydroplaning is essentially a fancy word for car tyres sliding or skidding across a wet surface. As the image above shows, it happens when your car tyres encounter more water than they can cut through, which generally happens when you try to drive across a puddle too fast. The tyres will lose contact with the road and “float” across a film of water, which will result in loss of control and potentially an accident.
Here’s hydroplaning in action:
Scary, right? Hydroplaning can be avoided by following a few simple rules:
Essentially, drive cautiously when it’s raining to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of hydroplaning. And seriously, never speed when it’s raining!
When roads are slick with rain, stopping distances can almost double (for those of you that don’t know, stopping distance is how much road it takes for your vehicle to come to a stop when pressing the brake).
Potential for skid also goes way up due to hydroplaning.
Driving 10-15km below the speed limit will give you enough time to react in case of emergency. You should also leave extra space between you and the car in front of you, so you have ample stopping distance if the car in front of you slams on the brakes.
Besides this, rainy weather is not the time to be showing off your killer driving skills. Be a courteous driver and give way when appropriate. We’ve all encountered aggressive speeders before — if they insist on tailgating you and driving dangerously, it’s best to give them way and not involve yourself in their unsafe driving.
Book a Maxx ‘N Go mobile oil change and leave the inspections to the professionals! With every Maxx ‘N Go service, you only pay for the oil — the oil filter, delivery, and labour are free, and you get a free 15-point car inspection to assess the condition of your vehicle.
If your car is due for major service or any parts replacement, bring it by the Maxx ‘N Go service center for top quality service in a premium environment.