Driving safely in the rain is a burning issue that cannot be overemphasised. As the proverb goes: “When it rains, it pours”, it is riskier to drive on the road during the rain especially in a tropical country like Nigeria.
Little wonder there is usually a spike in the rate of motor accidents on Nigerian roads during the rainy season. It poses an added risk to car accidents owing to reduced friction on the roads thereby making sudden stop a daunting task. Also, visibility is usually poor during this season.
In the Southern part of Nigeria, rainy season typically begins in March and ends around November. Hence, it is important to adhere to safety rules while driving during the rainy season.
Without much ado, we have compiled 5 tips that can keep you safe navigating through the Nigerian roads. The list is inexhaustible:
1. Keep Low Speed: Avoid speeding when it’s raining. The traction is reduced, and the road is slippery. In case you need to brake suddenly especially for a complete stop, it would take extra time for the vehicle to stop, but you can achieve this by maintaining low speed.
2. Avoid Distractions: It is common to see drivers using their phones while driving, especially in a busy city like Lagos. This causes divided attention. Always keep 100% of your attention on driving – do not multi-task. If you must make a phone call, park in a secure area or make use of a hands-free device. Ensure your two hands are in control of your steering wheel.
3. Be Defensive: Be aware of the movement and possible next move of the drivers around you. Expect sudden stops and maneuvers. To be able to defend yourself, keep a 4-second cushion between you and the other car in front of you. Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing; expect the unexpected. In a city like Lagos, motorists behind you may honk for you to close the gap or move faster, do not allow them to make you overspeed or get too close to the vehicle in the front.
4. Leave Headlights On: When driving in the rain, turn on your headlights and keep them on. This will save you and other road users from collision due to poor visibility.
5. Never Speed Through Standing Water: Once you sight standing water ahead, ensure you reduce your speed. Driving through standing water with high speed can cause hydroplaning to occur. Hydroplaning is when you lose traction and skid across the surface of the road. To avoid this, drive around places where water has collected by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas.
If you experience hydroplaning, gently take your foot off the accelerator and steer in a safe direction. Do not make sudden turns or slam on your brakes.
Be Sure Before You Roll: If you are driving along an unfamiliar road, avoid driving on areas covered by water, there may be a ditch there. You don’t want to be stuck or get your car damaged. If you are unsure, don’t be the first to drive through the water.
Remember, these tips are not one size fits all. While you drive today, please be mindful that speed kills. Maintaining moderate speed is safer.
Meanwhile, make sure you have car insurance before you take your car on the road, check our website www.cornerstone.com.ng.