Wet weather driving
But what happens when the next person cannot be seen or cannot see you? A catastrophic event will occur.
For security and safety reasons, imports from Japan come with privacy/tinted glass on back windows only. In Zim its not really policed because perhaps they haven’t seen any need to so people tint their windows with some really dark tint that makes you wonder if the people see anything at night. Others also tint their headlights and tail lights dark for that “cool” factor, especially the young folk and the young at heart. But sometimes they tint them too dark. Cars look “cool” like that and its one of those customisations one can “DIY” on their car but how safe is it? Dark windows reduce visibility. In misty weather and rains you can barely see the next person driving on your side, what more with dark windows.
Tinted lights are also slowly becoming a menace to our society. They are also “cool” if done right but what’s the point of you having lights when the next person is not going to see your turn signals because they are too dark? It defies the whole purpose of having lights. All these lead to catastrophic events like I mentioned earlier. So if you have these, how well prepared are you for the rainy season? How well can you communicate with the next person who is driving behind you or in front of you? If you are going to smoke your lights put a light film so that at least other drivers can see when you signal or simply buy aftermarket lights that are already “smoked”.
In this part of the world, we can’t boast of any good roads. Circumstances beyond control I guess have led to the demise of our once nice roads. When the rains start pouring, they flood our city streets. Poor and blocked drainage systems all mean we suddenly need boats and not cars when it starts raining because the argument between a flooded street and Japanese tyres is one that we can never win. I hate to say this but these Japanese cars are just too fast for some of us, sometimes other drivers are careless and speed through the flooded streets, forgetting that no matter how fast you go, you will need to stop. In a previous article we did talk about hydroplaning, it’s near impossible to control a car when it starts sliding on top of the water. Rainy season needs you to have a good set of tyres with good tread depth so they can be able to scatter
water and still maintain good traction. Some of the used tyres coming into the country are snow tyres with different tread design that will not even help your case in the rain.
Late models cars however, have things like traction control to help drivers in times when cars want to slide out of control but we need not always rely on them, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Avoid cruise control in the rain, it delays reaction time in the event that you need to stop immediately and in most cases you rarely see that far in the rain and when you need to stop you need ample reaction time.
A lot of us like low profile wide tyres and a nice set of rims. They are also “cool” to have because they provide good grip and better braking power in dry weather but not so much in wet weather. Wider tyres distribute the weight of a vehicle over a larger surface area as compared to thinner tyres and that makes hydroplaning a higher possibility. However, from a less scientific point of view, friction between the road surface and the tyres is reduced on a wet surface regardless of the type of tyres. That simply means whatever you do, you need to slow down because less friction also means greater stopping distance is required than on a dry surface. It’s also wise to keep a good distance between yourself and the next person to accommodate stopping distance.
Potholes and low profile tyres are a bad combination
for your pocket. They are more expensive and more susceptible to damage. More-so, low profile tyres are made stiffer than normal tyres and they don’t flex much and so they don’t have much of that cushioning factor like normal tyres. When you do happen to fight with potholes that pop up everywhere when it rains, it’s a fight you won’t win. Usually people running on low profile tyres experience tyre and rim damage more during this season.
Again, the art of driving is all about visibility. Vision and wipers work hand in glove. Wiper blades are exposed to all kinds of harsh weather conditions and sometimes you don’t even use them for the better part of the year. Its good to regularly check them for wear and tear, especially as the rainy season approaches because when you need them, you need them badly. Simple checks can increase the safety standards on our roads. There’s a simple wiper blade test that’s common. Take a cup of water and add a teaspoon of flour then splash it on your windscreen and see how well the wipers clean out the mess. The result determines how well your wipers will also help you maintain good visibility in the rain.
Its rainy season now and it just happens to be the festive season. Let’s take some time to prep our cars for the rains, don’t overlook the simplest of things, sometimes they matter the most. Let’s create a safer driving environment for all of us, let’s preserve life. Till next time . . . drive safely!