Torque Shop: Staying safe in wet weather

To stay safe, you must first ensure all your car's tyres are in good condition.
To stay safe, you must first ensure all your car's tyres are in good condition.PHOTO: ST FILE

The rainy season is here again. What can we do to stay safe in the wet weather? Most of us are used to driving in the rain, thanks to our frequent showers throughout the year. However, we do still have seasons when it rains for days at a stretch, sometimes with visibility-impairing torrential downpours. That season is upon us now.

To stay safe, you must first ensure all your car's tyres are in good condition. If they look worn, they probably are. Change them.

Check that the tyre pressures are as recommended. Grip deteriorates when tyres are either under- or over-inflated.

Be warned, however, that even a vehicle with perfectly good tyres can aquaplane over a pool of standing water at certain speeds. When this happens, you lose braking and steering control.

Stay clear of puddles as far as possible, or slow down and brace yourself for a wiggle if you cannot avoid one. Often, drivers caught unawares panic and make the situation worse.

Take the middle lane, as puddles are unlikely to form there. Keep in mind a vehicle can lose control momentarily even if one side of it hits a puddle. Keep a longer distance from the vehicle in front.

One commonly forgotten element on a car are the wipers, which deteriorate quickly in our climate. Wipers are inexpensive, so change them regularly. Also remember to top up the windshield washer reservoir, preferably with glass-cleaning additives.

Finally, drive with the headlights on in heavy rain to improve visibility all round.