Safety is absolutely paramount when driving, and this can only be further reinforced when the rain starts to pour from the sky. It seems the norm in Australia is that as soon as a sprinkle of water falls from the sky, the crazies come out on the road and you need to double your caution.
Imagine saving up your money for a new car (most likely paid off through a vehicle loan) and you lose control in the wet weather only to write-off the car? Not a pleasant image, right? So make the best of a wet situation, and take note of these safety cues during this Australian wet season.
Drive to the conditions
People are notorious for disregarding water on the road as a safety hazard. In fact, wet roads contribute to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year (according to AAA Exchange). There seems to be a larger ‘need for speed’ as people want to get off the roads in the rain, but that does more harm than good. It is always safest to reduce your speed, turn your lights on, and never tailgate. Not only is your hazard perception lowered due to the lack of visibility, but your tyres are not built to stop suddenly on a wet road and can lead to skidding and losing control of your vehicle.
Leave a little earlier
Isn’t it just typical that the day it rains you also happen to be running late? Check the weather (or even look out your window) to gauge how early you will need to leave for your commitment and make the roads safer. By not being in a rush you will focus on the roads and also keep your speed to a limit. This also gives you the chance to alter your route in the chance of unsafe or closed roads.
Make sure your car is prepared
Like clockwork, the Australian wet season is always in the summer. So as a handy hint, make sure your car is always prepared to take on the hazards that are sure to pop up. There will be potholes galore when you are on your summer holiday along with the potential of fallen branches and other road hazards. Not only do you need to stay alert, but your car also needs to be well maintained for any possible hazards. You should keep your windows clean to improve visibility in these conditions and know how to defrost your windscreen should they fog up. You should also ensure all your car lights are in working order and that your tyres are in tip-top shape (at least 1.5mm deep tread across the whole tyre width).
Double your distance
Tailgating is a huge problem on our roads, but it is imperative that you double your distance from the car in front of you to allow for a greater stopping time should you need to break suddenly. The usual rule of thumb is leaving 2 seconds between two vehicles, but this should be increased to 4 seconds in the wet. For a heavy vehicle you should be increasing the usual 4 second distance to 8. Queensland Transport suggests a vehicle with a trailer or caravan attached in the wet should be 4 seconds for your car and 2 seconds for each 3m of your trailer/caravan.
So avoid the risks by being a safe driver in the wet season. It’s never fun to go aquaplaning on the highway at 100km/hr and remember, “If it’s flooded. Forget it.”
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