Updated: May 15, 2021
When it rains, it pours...literally! All across the country, heavy rains and thunderstorms have come as both a blessing and a curse. In our capital, Nairobi, drivers and pedestrians alike have been flooding social media with reports of the numerous challenges they have encountered on their commutes with many roads across the city turning into temporary "rivers." Kenyan drivers will continue to face heavy rainfall and wet road conditions up to the end of the month, and we at Carhoot believe it is vital that we all take extra measures to prevent loss of life and accidents. Director of Meteorological Services Stella Aura, in a statement earlier this week, called for measures to be put in place to avoid loss of lives and property during the rains.
“It’s going to rain heavy...Everyone using the roads either as a driver or pedestrian is advised to observe extra caution. Avoid passing through moving waters. Keep safe,” she said.
1. It Is Okay To Wait For Better Weather Before Driving
It's good to remember that driving in the rain is not necessary, especially if you feel uncomfortable or the area you are in is experiencing heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Waiting for the weather to improve is a wise move that saves you from putting yourself and others in danger, by driving in wet conditions.
2.Make Sure Your Car Is In Good Condition
Let's be honest, do you check your car each morning before you drive off? When it comes to car care, procrastination is a "silent killer."Being vigilant about the condition of our cars can seem tedious and annoying, but by embracing this responsibility we can better protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities from unnecessary loss of life and damage to property. As drivers, it is our responsibility to ensure that our tires, headlights, taillights, and turn signals are all in proper working condition before heading out.
PRO TIP: Whatever the weather, always make sure your signal lights are fully functional at all times.
3. Improve Your Visibility While Driving
One of the biggest challenges most drivers face when driving in the rain is limited visibility. Turning on your headlights will help imporve your own visibility and the visibility of your car to other drivers. When you turn your headlights on and your backlights come on, you identify all four corners of the vehicle. However, it is good to remember that turning on your brights may lead to more harm than good and reflect off wet surfaces, bouncing back into your eyes and irritating other drivers.
The other thing simple step that can help improve visibility is switching on your windshield wipers. For many unknown reasons, a lot of drivers still forget to switch them on. Another thing that most drivers fail to realize that greatly affects visibility is the condition of windshields. Driving in the rain can be significantly harder if your windshield is dirty. Simple things like ensuring both the inside and outside of your windshields stay clean, and checking your windshield wipers for wear and tear can go a long way in ensuring good visibility. While at the Car Wash, never hesitate to ask your cleaners to pay extra attention to these areas (after all, you are paying for it) and check the levels of your washer fluid each week.
PRO TIP: Rain causes humidity levels to increase. You may find that your vehicle’s windows become foggy when you operate your vehicle while it is raining. Most cars’ ventilation systems include a function that will work to reduce this type of fog that develops on the interior of your windows and windshield. It may be necessary to pull over if you are no longer able to see through your windows.
4. Plan Your Routes Based On The Condition Of The Roads
It is always good to remember that the most dangerous roads to drive on are the ones that have been exposed to a light rain after a dry spell. This is because the rain water mixes with the dust, rubber, engine oil and other dirt that accumulates on the road surface to create a slippery mixture that makes driving on these more dangerous. This especially a greater risk in urban areas where the roads are smoother and have less grip.
PRO TIP: On wet surfaces that you are not too sure about, you can deal with the matter by making your steering smooth and gentle. Start with braking lightly, then pushing progressively harder on the pedal until you are sure of how much grip you can get. It is also wise to begin braking earlier than if you were on dry roads. This way, incase you skid, you'll have enough time and space to release the brakes and apply them again more gently than before.
The first thing that comes to mind, especially for people in Nairobi is the heavy traffic that we always experience during when it rains. If the road you use is prone to flooding, it's good to always consider alternative routes if possible. Google Maps can be a great asset when it comes to this, and identifying alternative routes that may have less traffic.
5. Avoid Standing Water At All Costs
Even though most cars handle standing water and puddles quite well the danger of hydroplaning is very real. Hydroplaning happens when a sheet of water comes between your tires and the pavement, causing your vehicle to lose traction and sometimes even spin out of control. In these situations, your tires hit the water faster than they can push it away, causing them to ride on top of it, which can cause a loss of control. Drivers can lose control in even as little as 7cm of water. Some front-wheel-drive cars are prone to sudden aquaplaning when accelerating over standing water.
How To Avoid Hydroplaning
Drive slowly and carefully. High acceleration increases the chances of hydroplaning and increases the risk of an accident happening because our cars react slower in wet conditions.
Drive around places where there is standing water by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas.
Do not use cruise controls
What To Do When Your Car Hydroplanes
You need to reduce power quickly to restore traction and control. Slowly ease your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go.
Avoid making sudden turns or slamming on your brakes.
If the wheels lock again, repeat the exercise - this is called cadence braking.
In case you encounter any challenges on the road during wet weather, it is assuring to know we offer 24/7 car recovery and emergency services. Carhoot is readily available to provide professional on-demand assistance and our personnel is even equipped to provide you with accident and police assistance if you subscribe to our exclusive membership packages. Easily download the app on either Google Play or the App Store. For more information on this, you can reach out to our Contact on WhatsApp HERE.