Road safety: Navigate wet weather with good car maintenance

There are four important road safety rules for driving in wet conditions: slow down, turn your lights on, never overtake when visibility is impaired, and keep more distance between you and other vehicles. Another important factor for safety when driving in the rain is to make sure your car is roadworthy and properly maintained.

“These four actions are essential safety tips when driving in rain. However, there is a lot more to know about vehicle safety when it’s raining,” says Vishal Premlall, national director of Tyres Equipment Parts Association (TEPA), an association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).

He explains that there are many components that, if poorly maintained, can have a negative impact on the way a vehicle performs in wet conditions. These include tyres, windscreen wipers, brakes, shocks, and suspension.

A Maintenance Plan through MotorHappy covers the maintenance or repair of specific wear and tear parts such as wiper blades, brakes and shocks. It also includes everything covered in a Service Plan. With an easy monthly payment plan, you can ensure your car is in good, roadworthy condition throughout the year, no matter the season. Click here to find out more about a Maintenance Plan through MotorHappy.

 Maintain your tyres during rainy weather

  • Tyre tread helps to disperse water effectively and stop the vehicle during both routine and emergency braking. If the tyre tread is low, aquaplaning can happen. This is when the tyres lose grip on the road surface causing the car to slide on a film of water on top of the road. It is a very dangerous situation because aquaplaning dramatically reduces a driver’s ability to steer and brake.
  • Check that your tyres are wearing evenly. Sometimes you can’t see this from the outside as the tyres wear off on the inner edge when the vehicle’s wheel alignment is out.
  • Tyre pressure should be checked regularly at a cold temperature or before driving too far on your journey. Correct tyre pressure keeps the optimum tread area in contact with the road surface to improve handling and responsiveness. It also helps in getting the best fuel economy from your vehicle.

Remember, warm air expands and by checking tyre pressure when the tar and conditions are hot, could result in an incorrect pressure reading. The cold rainy conditions may then cause your tyre to be underinflated.

  • Drivers of cars fitted with a space-saver spare wheel, or “marie biscuit”, must remember these tyres are smaller and thinner than the other tyres and are only designed to get you to a safe place to get a regular tyre fitted. If you must fit a space-saver spare, modify your driving style, especially in rain, exercising greater caution and reducing speed.

 Regular brake maintenance

In wet weather the braking conditions and stopping of the vehicle are not the same as they would be in dry conditions.

Avoid harsh or sudden braking in wet conditions. It’s best to slow down and try to look as far ahead on the road as possible, rather than hitting the brakes because you suddenly see a car in front of you. Braking suddenly on a wet road can cause your car to skid.

During the rainy season, there’s a higher chance of brakes being affected because of the risk of rust. Your brakes also work harder to stop in the rain, because of the reduced friction on the brake pads.

Visibility is important

A cracked windscreen that interferes with your view of the road ahead and headlights not working properly are cause for concern. Poor lighting and unfocused headlamps are a recipe for disaster in the rainy season not only for the driver but for other road users as well.

Don't gamble on your vehicle’s condition because in doing so, you not only compromise your own life but also that of your family and other road users. A simple once-over and the right advice at an accredited tyre and fitment centre will enable you to keep a grip on things in wet weather and arrive at your destination safely. Regular vehicle maintenance, made easier with a Maintenance Plan through MotorHappy, will ensure safe travel during the rainy season.

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