Monsoon car care, driving tips you need to know

    Here are some pointers to help you safely navigate the monsoon season.

    Published On Jun 10, 2024 06:08:00 PM

    5,131 Views

    Monsoon car care, driving tips you need to know

    The monsoon season is finally upon us and with it comes a fair share of challenges for motorists. Hence, preparing your vehicle for the rainy days is key to having a stress-free monsoon. Here’s everything you need to keep in mind.

    Switch off cruise control

    While cruise control is a useful feature in the dry, during monsoons it’s best to keep it turned off. The amount of water on the road will always vary and the cruise control system cannot anticipate changing water conditions and levels like a driver can. Hence, it’s best to have a measured and manual control of the throttle and brakes.

    Don’t use hazard lights

    This is unfortunately a common sight on our roads – motorists using hazard lights when their vehicle is not stationary. Hazard lights, like the name suggests, are only meant to be used while stationary to alert other road users of the hazard. Avoid using them when in motion during heavy rains, fog or in tunnels, as it can be mistaken for a stationary vehicle, and instead rely on the car’s headlights and taillights, or the fog lights if you vehicle is equipped with those.

    Slow down for puddles

    Puddles can hide large potholes and if taken at speed, can even destabilize the vehicle due to the increased resistance the water creates on the tyres. Hence, it’s important that you slow down for puddles to avoid any unfortunate events. And not to mention, splashing other motorists with water isn’t polite either. 

    Keep safer distance

    Driving in the rain invariably means that you’ll have longer reaction times, due to obscured vision, and longer stopping distances, due to less friction between the road and tyres. Therefore, it’s important that you maintain a safer and longer distance from the vehicle in front of you than you usually would in the dry.

    Steady pace through

    Before venturing in to a flooded section of road, pay attention to other road users (cars, bikes, trucks and pedestrians) ahead of you to gauge how deep the water is before attempting to wade through. As a general practice, it’s best to avoid driving through water logged areas. However, if you must drive through a flood, do your best to keep moving and don’t stop. Use a lower gear (1st or 2nd), keep the engine revs high and maintain a steady momentum when driving through the water. As a rule, avoid driving in water above the centre line of your wheels and also if there’s any flow or current in the water. But if you must, pick up your pace a bit to create the bow effect in front of the car, which should then help you traverse it.  

    Tips for driving EVs in the monsoons

    EVs also don’t have an exhaust or air intake, so there’s no fear of being stranded in the water. But regardless, it’s best to exercise caution in the rain. EVs usually have their battery packs in the floor so drive carefully through water. Manufacturers test the batteries to deal with these situations and they are even IP-rated so you need not worry of water entering the battery. EVs are also known for their strong acceleration and instant torque, so when driving through rains, be gentle with your inputs. Traction is already limited in the wet, so it’s best to be smooth and conservative. Finally, while EVs have waterproof chargers and charging sockets, it’s advisable to charge them in a shaded area so there is no water seepage into either the charger or the port that may cause some problems.

    Dry your brakes

    After you’ve successfully traversed the waterlogging, pump the brakes to clear out any water as water in the brakes will naturally hinder your vehicle’s stopping ability. Do note, this issue is most common on cars equipped with drum brakes. Furthermore, while driving it’s also worth dabbing your brakes periodically to dry out the pads and discs.

    Don’t restart, don’t panic

    In case you stall your vehicle in a waterlogged area, don’t try to restart it immediately as water could have entered the engine via the air intake or have flooded the exhaust system. Trying to switch the car on in this situation could seriously damage your engine. Instead, your best bet is to try and push the car to an area that is not flooded and then call for help. And if you do get stranded in a flood in your car, the first thing to do is keep calm. It’ll be difficult to open the doors in a waterlogged area, so try and push it open with both your legs. It’s also worth noting that many cars have an inner boot release mechanism that you can access through the folding rear seats, in case the car's doors get jammed. But if this fails, use a heavy and blunt object (like the headrest legs) to break the door windows open for you to escape.

    Pre-monsoon service

    Finally, it’s always a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before the monsoon season. Check the condition and tread level (shouldn’t be under 2mm) of your tyres, including the spare, and ensure the brakes are in good shape. Also make sure that you check the car’s wiper blades and washer system and check that all the lights and the battery is working as intended. Sending your car for servicing is a fast and efficient way of identifying and rectifying a majority of the aforementioned problems. A service will also be able to sort out any issues you may miss or are unable to rectify yourself. Lastly, as a practice, always try to have over half a tank of fuel and some water and emergency snacks in your car in case you get stranded or encounter a massive traffic jam.

    Also see:

    Monsoon bike riding tips you need to know

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