The weather department predicted rains to hit India by the second week of June but that turned out to be false. It did rain in some parts of the country but not what was expected. In a tropical country like ours the rain has only two settings: heavy rain (ON) and drought-like-status rain (OFF). So how to take care of yourself, other road users and your car (in that order of priority) during the rains? Here are a few tips we would like to share.
- Windshield Care: Always make sure you have a clear view of the road ahead in any rain conditions including fog or mist. The basic part of this is making sure you have good wiper blades. A simple trick is to use the windshield cleaning mechanism of your car and see if the wiper blades keep any lines of water on the screen. Changing wiper blades is very simple DIY job and requires about 15 min. If the windshield is cracked, now is the time to change it. It not only protects interiors by stopping water but also prevents fogging on the screen due to different temperatures inside and outside the car.
- Driving Line: Roads are built to be higher at the center and sloping towards the sides. By keeping your driving line towards the center of the road, you can avoid driving through excess water as the water naturally flows due to gravity. This is very useful in avoiding standing water and in some cases avoids Hydroplaning (we don`t see much of this in India) as well.
- Headlights: Keep your headlights ON but on low beam if it is raining. This makes you more visible to on-coming traffic and also illuminates the road for a better visibility. This particularly helps make you visible to traffic on blind turns as the water on roads reflects light. Cleaning the headlights just before the monsoon is a 30 min job which should be high on your To-Do list now.
P.S. Toothpaste works quite well to clear the headlamp glass.
- Keep Track of Time: Train your mind to leave a few mins early than your usual departure time. This ensures you drive safely and also give yourself some time buffer if some incident occurs on the road. Traffic in city moves slow during rains and the buffer makes sure reach office in time in time.
- Brakes: Normal Drum brakes tend to have decreased stopping power during the rains. Disc brakes are affected too but not to very distinguishable scale. Also remember the 5X method. If in normal conditions you keep a gap of one car length with the car in front of you, make it 5 car lengths during the monsoons (This is only applicable on highways obviously!).
- Dustbin: Indulge in a bit of DIY and build your car a small dustbin. You will need: a cardboard box (kellogs or a shoe box works fine) and plastic dustbin bags. Assuming you keep a tissue box in you car throughout the year, this can also be used all year round. Tissues from drying your suit, cleaning your wet glasses and cleaning the windshield from inside and outside can all be thrown in this.
It not only keeps the car clean but also helps do your thing for the environment. Keeping your windows closed at all time is recommended but if a few droplets of water do get in, dabbing it with tissues is always better than using a piece of cloth.