Although the rest of the country may be dry in winter, we all know when it rains it pours in the Western and Northern Cape. We also know that driving in the rain can be dangerous and quite disastrous. Moreover, we understand that driving an unfamiliar rental car is not just infuriating, but perilous as well. However, if you were to drive in such inclement weather conditions, here are a few tips to help you prevent accidents caused by rainy climate. Who knows? You might even save yourself from having to pay car hire damages.
The road is slippery:
Without a doubt, the roadway you’ll be driving on will be slippery, and the biggest issue with driving in the storm: is traction. Traction mostly occurs when the pavement is wet and develops a firm slick surface which causes tyres to lose grip, making it difficult to stop quickly. Should your rental car slip or hydroplane, it is advisable that you avoid abruptly stepping on the brakes as this can spin your car. Instead, firmly grip your steering wheel and slow down.
By all means, avoid using cruise control.
Don’t drive through puddles:
It’s storming, so chances of coming across a huge puddle in the roadway are high. You might have an impulse to drive through it. Please, resist that urge. The danger here: that water could be hiding a gigantic pothole. Even more hazardous: water splashing up into the car’s engine compartment could damage the electrical system. You don’t want to damage a hired car, right? Right.
Your headlights must be on:
Turning your lights on will not only assist you see the road clearer, but it will also help other drivers see you. But, you must try to avoid turning on the high beams as they can actually obscure your vision further. If you’re driving a car equipped with fog lights, try to flip them on. The low light from these headlamps may help upsurge your visibility in the rain.
Keep at a distance:
When it’s raining it takes longer to have control over the car. You won’t be able to stop, brake or turn as quickly. The other vehicles on the road won’t as well. So driving slower and keeping a distance between you and other drivers is crucial.
If you can, keep your tyres and steering ranged with the car driving in front of you. Why? Because, the car in front of you is shifting and pushing water away, clearing the roadway, while, it creates a better driving surface for you.
Avoid driving next to big cars:
Trucks and buses make big water splashes that can hit your windshield and briefly block your sight.
Driving on a muddy road:
Now, you’ve ventured from the wet tarred roads of the city, into the mud-coated country roads. In this case, two things may happen: you might get through it without an incident, or you may get stuck.
One thing is guaranteed though, you will skid. But, don’t hit the brakes. Be aware of where your front wheels are pointing. Drive slowly. Driving slowly will decelerate your vehicle, and ensure you gain traction. Once you’re in control of the rental car again, keep going.
What if you get stuck? Keep a steady pressure on the gas pedal. Press your accelerator. Doing so will create a light wheel spin, which will whirl the mud from the tread, giving the tyres a grip again. If that doesn’t work, turn the steering wheel back and forth. Moving the wheels, may allow the tread a chance to gain enough grasp to keep your car moving.
Should your car be unable to move forward, try to throw the transmission into reverse. Chances are: you might return to a dry roadway. Slowly ease onto the accelerator, and hopefully, out of the mud. Once you’re out – before resuming to normal speed, give the tyres a chance to kick the sludge out of the tread.
Clean the rental car:
You don’t want to pay for car rental damages! So clean the car, because mud holds moisture against metal, which leads to rust and corrosion. Dried mud on a drive shaft, may throw it out of alignment and cause damage.