Floods, new potholes, extreme traffic, wet roads, rainwater marks – that’s what rainy days bring us. Not to mention the difficulty of getting up. Rainy days used to be fun when we were kids. It meant no school, playing in the rain and cozy hours inside. But as professionals, rain brings more headache than comfort as commuters and drivers.
There are things we can do though to make sure we’re safe to drive on wet roads with not-so-ideal visibility. Here are 12 things you can do:
- Brakes. Some brakes take a bit longer to bite when the road is wet so have it checked during your Preventive Maintenance Schedule (PMS) as well or if you are not comfortable with how your brakes work. Your brake pads may not be thick enough anymore and may need replacement or could be our brake fluid.2 What we want to ensure is that your vehicle reacts as quickly as you do should you need to hit the brakes quickly.
- Battery. Radio, phone charger, wiper, air conditioner, headlights and fog lights are usually on all at once especially during rainy traffic peak hours in the city and it uses up your car battery more than usual.2 Always get your battery checked during PMS or if your car is just a few years old and you experience slight difficulty when starting up, get your battery checked. You can go to your neighborhood mechanic or to a Motolite dealership to see if there’s still more than enough left. 3.
- Tires. Worn out tires have higher tendencies to skid on wet roads. The grooves are there to aid your car’s grip and traction by moving water out of the way on wet roads. Make sure our mechanic or casa checks on and reports about the condition of your tires during your regular PMS. This also means that no matter how old your car is, bring your car to the advised PMS date. But if you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, Top Gear Philippines suggests that you “stick a one peso coin—Rizal facing out—into the grooves. If you can see the year marking under Rizal peeking over the edge, it’s time for a tire change”.
- Lights. Ensuring that you can see and that you are seen are vital when rains are heavy so clean your headlights, windshields and windows. There are several headlights cleaner brands in your nearest hardware store just make sure you choose the one that’s easy to apply at home and won’t require professional buffing. If your headlights have been retrofitted or customized, make sure to ask if they can clean or re-seal it if it starts to fog from the inside during rainy season.
- Glass. Use industrial grade windshield polish that are diluted in water for your windshield and windows. It may hurt your wallet a bit but will last you for years. These allow rain water to flow down windshields and windows and helps your wiper clear the view. It helps with your visibility and prevents water marks.
- Wipers. If it barely helps clear water from your view, scratches on the glass even with continuous flow of water or if it even worsens the view, it’s time to change your wipers. Wipers usually last 1 to 2 years but extreme heat adds to its wear and tear so by the time your wipers become necessary, they’re worn out and are barely useful during heavy rains. It doesn’t cost much to replace the blade or the entire wiper itself, just inform your nearest hard ware or car care store your car model and they’ll install it on your vehicle themselves.
- More Lights. When driving through rain or heavy rain, turn on lights, fog lights or rear fog lights depending on the visibility. DO NOT install lights that blind motorists around you because it will only cause more accidents for them and you. DO NOT turn on emergency blinkers because it is a distraction and causes confusion to other drivers.4 If you feel like hitting the emergency lights because visibility is low, stop yourself and park the car on a safe location instead and wait for the rain to subside.
- Wash & Wax. We tend to avoid washing our cars when it is raining because what’s the point, it’s going to get dirty and rained on anyway. But the truth is, washing and waxing is not just a reactive measure, it’s also preventive. Wax prevents rainwater marks from settling on and damaging your car’s paint because it allows water to roll-off easily.3 Why does it matter? Doing so allows you to prolong your car’s quality on the outside and prevents a drop in its resale value.
- Driving through flood. If there’s flood ahead, check if you can still see the sidewalk. Sidewalks are usually elevated enough that it is safe for most sedans to pass by (unless your car has been lowered). If you can still see the sidewalk, then it should be okay for you to pass. But if there’s isn’t much pavement to see, it’s still best to go with a safer choice – go through another route or wait it out. If it’s difficult to maneuver to an alternative route, wait for a much higher vehicle to pass by. Estimate your car’s elevation versus that to determine if it is safe enough.
- Car insurance. No matter how much we buff that wax on the car to protect its paint or put that one peso coin on the tire to check its treads, we have no control over how other motorists drive while it’s raining or how the weather will unleash its wrath on your car when you are not looking. So the best way to protect your car from things you cannot control, make sure you have car insurance that covers loss or damage to your car, personal accident protection for you and your passengers, liability to other persons you may have hurt or properties you may have damaged, acts of god, reimbursable transportation allowance while your car is being repaired, and more. If you have car insurance now, don’t forget to renew it long before it expires. A gap between two car insurance policies is too risky. You can get your instant car insurance quotation from Malayanonline.com. For more information about Malayan’s car insurance,Auto Master, click here.
- Go slow. Keep it at 1st gear or avoid gassing up if driving an automatic unless it is an incline. If you drive too fast, you might skid and lose control of your car. In our case in the Philippines, it prevents you from damaging your car if you hit potholes that hide underneath the flood.
- Emergency kit. I don’t think we can emphasize this enough. Aside from keeping an emergency kit at home, it’s important that you have one emergency kit in your car too. This can be useful if you get into an accident and need to mend a minor injury or witness an accident that will require immediate medical attention.
What are your own tips in getting you and your car ready and safe during the typhoon season. Let us know by following and messaging us on Facebook.