It seems like the monsoon rains are upon us, which means more and more rain from now until March next year. What's the best way to prepare for bad weather?
Whenever it rains outside, people seem to forget how to drive. Either they simply drive too fast for the conditions and end up crashing, or they drive obscenely slow and cause traffic jams. These are two infuriating extremes that make driving a lot harder than it needs to be, and increases your risk of having an accident tremendously.
But that doesn't need to be the case. With our quick guide, we'll give you a couple of tips to help prepare you and keep yourself safe in the coming weeks and months, especially when facing extreme amounts of rain and wet weather on the road. Let's get to it.
1. Check your tyres
If you haven't gotten into the habit of checking the condition of your tyres, there's no better time to start than now. The first is to check the depth of the tread and see if the grooves are still able to evacuate water - each tyre will usually have some form of tread wear indicator that will tell you when the tyres are past their usable life. The second thing to check is the pressure of the air in the tyres - too low and the tyre becomes too wide and starts to aquaplane more easily, too high and the tyres won't have enough contact with the road.
2. Turn on your headlights
Even if you have automatic headlights or daytime running lights, it's important to turn on your lights when visibility gets bad. Not only does it let people see your headlights and car more easily in their mirrors, but it also lets those behind have a better gauge of how far ahead you are - especially as they may not be able to see your car until your brake lights come on.
3. Study the road surface
Not all wet roads are made the same, but given the state of our roads, it's not surprising that there will be pockets of standing water or puddles in your way. Damp tarmac isn't great for grip but you still have progression when it comes to how much grip you lose. Standing water causes your car to aquaplane and glide over the surface, giving you almost no control over the car. Studying the road ahead lets you prepare for standing water and helps you to stay in control by adjusting your speed and steering to get through it safely.
4. Drive offset to traffic ahead
One thing you may notice if you often drive in the wet is that there is an immense amount of water spray coming up from the tyres of the cars ahead. Sometimes it so happens that you drive right in this spray, which greatly reduces your visibility of the road and cars ahead. When it's safe to do so, drive one lane offset to the cars ahead to help stay out of that spray - of course, don't hog the fast lane and don't do this on a dual carriageway.
5. Wipers may need a change
We change tyres and brake pads, but wipers are not something we often think about - and like any consumable on a car, they do eventually wear out and lose performance. Worn wipers will do little more than smear water across your windscreen, further worsening visibility. Check the condition of your wipers and if they are smearing water instead of wiping it, it's time for a change.
6. Bonus tip: coat your glass
There are plenty of ways to coat your glass, but the main advantage is how water beads and comes off the glass when it is properly coated. It's the same effect as waxing a car where water tends to bead and roll off rather than sit on the surface. You can go for a professional glass coating service, or you can do it yourself with some products off Lazada or Shopee - all you need is some moderately aggressive clay bar to properly clean the windows, and a coating product such as Fusso Coat or Rain-X. Get your car washed ahead, then spend some time to clean the windows with the clay bar until the bar runs smoothly across the glass - then apply your coating of choice according to the instructions.