Monday, January 31, 2011

Safety While Driving in the Rain -- For Flood Hit Areas!

DRIVING IN RAIN can be dangerous. The most important thing for drivers to remember is to SLOW DOWN! In rainy conditions pedestrians, stopped vehicles, and road blocks are extremely hard to spot and even harder to avoid. It takes longer to stop or adjust speed in wet weather.

Here are some safe driving tips:

·        Before it starts to rain, replace old or brittle wiper blades.
·        Stay toward the middle lanes, water tends to pool in outside lanes.
·        Maintain proper following distance (three-second rule). This rule needs to be increased in wet weather.
·        Drive in the rain tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.
·        Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely. The spray from their large tires can reduce vision.
·        Stay alert and watch for brake lights in front of you.
·        Avoid sudden use of your brakes because the water on the road might cause you to skid. If possible, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
·        Turn your headlights on in rainy, gloomy, foggy or overcast conditions — to help you see the road and help other drivers see you.
·        Never drive beyond the limits of visibility. The glare of oncoming lights, amplified by the rain on your windshield, can cause temporary loss of visibility while substantially increasing driver fatigue.
·        Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground beneath it; your vehicle could be swept off the road.
·        Avoid driving through deep water, because it can cause serious damage to a modern vehicle’s electrical system
·        When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

HYDROPLANING: Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of the tires builds up faster than the vehicle’s weight can push the water out of the way. The water pressure causes the vehicle to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between the tires and the road. At this point, the vehicle can be completely out of contact with the road, and will be in danger of skidding or drifting out of the lane.

If you find yourself hydroplaning or skidding:

·        Do not brake or turn suddenly.
·        Ease your foot off the gas until the vehicle slows and you can feel traction on the road again.
·        Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid. As you recover control, gently straighten the wheels.
·        If you need to brake, do it gently with a light pumping action. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally because the vehicle’s computer will mimic a pumping action.

There are three main factors that contribute to hydroplaning:

v     Vehicle speed. As speed increases, wet traction is considerably reduced. Since hydroplaning can result in a complete loss of traction and vehicle control, you should always reduce speed when driving in wet weather.
v     Tire tread depth. Maintaining adequate treading on tires and replacing them when necessary can help prevent hydroplaning. Tire experts can measure tread depth with a specially designed tread depth gauge. You should have your tire tread depth checked every 2-3 months.
v     Water depth. The deeper the water, the sooner you will lose traction, although even thin water layers can cause a loss of traction, including at low speeds.

If you successfully pass through a deep-water hazard, test your brakes. They may be saturated, and only driving very slowly and braking lightly at the same time will generate enough heat to dry them out. Be sure they are pulling evenly on all wheels before building up speed again.

Remember to practice safety. Don’t learn it by accident.

Thanks and Regards,

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