If the typhoons haven't clued you in yet, we're already right in the thick of the rainy season. There are a number of steps to ensure driving safety in the rain. Only one of which involves turning on your hazard lights. Here's a quick guide that might just save your bacon when the roads get wet and greasy.
Take good care of your tires, your first line of defense.
* Keep your tires properly inflated. Low inflation pressures mean your tire's contact patch exerts less pressure on the road surface. This bigger, lower pressure patch more easily skims across the surface of puddles. This is called "hydroplaning," and it's bad news, because it means you no longer have control over your car.
* Make sure your tires have enough tread. Modern tires have "wear bars" that tell you when your tread is down to 1.6mm, the "federal minimum." Your tires are dangerous when wet long before they get that far. If your tread is down to 3mm of tread and the rainy season is coming up, consider replacing your tires or be content with slowing to a crawl when it rains.
* Drive slowly. When the rain starts, oil and grime built up over the past days are lifted off the road, forming a gritty rainbow film that has about as much grip as a greased pig. During various car tests, we've observed braking distances lengthen by 10-20m in wet conditions, even without visible puddles. In an emergency, that distance can mean the difference between a light tap on the bumper and ending up in the hospital.
* Drive smoothly. Every control input you make on this slippery surface should be measured and deliberate. Any steering movements entered should be gentle and smooth. You should also be gentle with the gas, clutch, and brake pedals. Jerky movements will shift the car's weight, potentially causing the tires on the lighter side to lose grip. Yes, sometimes suddenly swerving to avoid a puddle is more dangerous than driving through it at reduced speed.
For more tips on how you can drive safely this rainy season, check out Topgear.com.ph!
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors.