Torque Shop

What should I look out for when driving in rainy weather?

First of all, make sure that the wiper blades are in good condition. If they leave streaks on the windscreen when it rains, replace them.

Over the past months of very warm weather, the wiper rubber would have hardened and hence not be able to clear the windscreen effectively.

Top up the windscreen washer fluid. Most petrol stations sell windshield washer additive, which is very necessary to keep the screen clean, especially during light drizzles or when rain has stopped but the roads are still wet. Do not use household detergent.

The most critical factor in wet-weather driving, of course, is tyre condition. Check that there is sufficient tread and that tyre pressure is to specification.

Cars with electronic stability program and anti-lock braking system (ABS) reduce the risk of skidding on wet roads. But if there is limited or no grip, there is little the electronic aids can do. Incorrect tyre pressure will reduce wet road grip while tyres with little tread will aquaplane (literally float on puddles) easily.

During heavy rain, there are plenty of puddles which you often cannot avoid. Even at 50kmh, a puddle can cause aquaplaning and a momentary loss of steering control.

If possible, stay clear of puddles or follow the path of the vehicle in front of you as it would have dispersed the "water ponding" for a few seconds.

If the ABS is activated during moderate braking in wet weather, it means your car's tyres have little grip left. Replace them immediately.

Finally, choose your parking spot with discretion. Although it is not a major problem in Singapore, it is always a good idea to make sure that your car is left in an area that is not likely to flood.

SHREEJIT CHANGAROTH

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe