From heavy torrential rainfall to icy winter mornings and torrid hail, the weather in Australia can certainly be hazardous at times. If you happen to be driving during less-than-ideal weather conditions, you might find yourself at serious risk of an accident if you don’t take the proper safety precautions.
So, instead of searching for smash repairs in Melbourne to help with the aftermath of a weather-induced accident, here are a few tips on driving safely during adverse weather.
Keep A Safe Distance From The Vehicle In Front Of You
Tailgating is poor driving etiquette, and tailgating in bad weather is simply asking for trouble.
Even in perfect weather conditions, with your concentration entirely on the road, you have to keep a distance of at least two seconds from the following vehicle; failure to do so will result in you rear-ending the car in front should they suddenly stop.
During wet weather conditions, the distance between you and the vehicle should be around 4 seconds to accommodate the excess water on the road that can dramatically hinder your ability to brake in time.
For icy conditions, the distance between two vehicles goes up to a staggering 8 seconds, as icy roads offer minimal grip and will take a much longer time for your car to be at a complete standstill when you brake.
Be Mindful of Your Car Control
You may have complete control over your car while the weather is dry, but wet-weather running can still be a challenge.
For example, if you’re going too fast, braking too suddenly or heavily in the rain may cause you to lose control of your car and skid, potentially causing a bad accident.
Regaining control of your car once your tyres lose grip can be tricky, so it’s best to always brake early and slowly in the rain. In icy conditions, tyre grip is even harder to come by, and the lightest touch of the brakes can send you out of control on the ice.
The same concept applies to accelerating; it’s better to take it slowly rather than gunning it too much. Your tyres can spin without gaining traction if the road is slick enough and may cause you to suddenly lunge forward when it finally grips, which can be hard to control.
Never Cross A Flood Plain
Crossing a floodwater-stricken road is never worth the risk.
While it may look pretty harmless, you only need about 15cm of water to flood your car’s exhaust and intake, rendering it immobile. If the water reaches up to 30cm, the moving water can and will be enough to take your car away in the current.
As such, never cross a flood plain for your safety and that of your car.
Drive Slowly and Plan Ahead
When there are wet roads and poor visibility, it’s essential to learn the importance of driving in adverse conditions. You’ll stand a much better chance of reaching your destination safely by slowing down. There’s no hard and fast rule as to how slow you should go (and going too slow is dangerous in itself), so trust your judgement and be cautious.
If you plan on going out in poor weather, you should also make sure to change your schedule accordingly, as you don’t want to be rushing to your destination or be out on the road after sundown.
Use Your Signals and Lights
Whether you’re in rainy or low-light conditions, having your lights on gives you a better vision of your surroundings and allows other road users to be aware of where you are, thereby preventing any accidental collisions.
The same principle applies to signalling (which you should do in normal circumstances anyway), as it gives other road users time to react as to where you’ll position your car next.
Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained
Proper maintenance of your vehicle can significantly reduce the risk of running into trouble during adverse weather. Tyres should be your number one priority, and you should ensure that there’s enough threading and rubber left, swapping to a new set if you find them running bare.
Next, double-check all your lights are in working condition, including the low and high beams, brake lights, and hazard lights.
You should also pay attention to your windshield wipers, which are necessary for visibility in heavy rain; they need to be soft, flexible and connect evenly across the entire windshield.
With these tips in mind and with proper awareness, you’ll hopefully be able to avoid any unexpected accidents when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
As always, your safety is a top priority. While you can always take care of dents and bangs with your local paintless dent removal service in Melbourne, the human body is less forgiving!