Driving in rain


Driving-in-rain20130618Safety tips during wet season
SUMMER in the country officially ends when torrential downpour with strong winds and unpredictable weather begins. Now, even rains brought by the southwest monsoon or habagat can result to floods.

On Thursday’s unexpected heavy downpour that caused almost a half-day flood in Metro Manila, massive traffic, and stranded commuters was a preview of what will happen during the rainy season. These situations can also lead to road accidents.

According to the World Health Organization, road accident is one of the three major causes of death among people ages 4 to 55 years old. Yearly, 270,000 people die because of pedestrian-related accidents particularly during rainy season.

Although pedestrian-related accidents in Metro Manila decreases, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) says the number is still high and needs to be prevented. The 2012 MMDA report shows that Quezon City has the most number of fatal accidents while Pasay City tops in non-fatal accidents.

These accidents are preventable if drivers realize that driving in wet and dry conditions are entirely different.

Under Republic Act 3146 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Rules Act, the driver of any vehicle in a business or residential district must give way to a pedestrian crossing a pedestrian lane, except at intersections where the movement of traffic is being regulated by a traffic enforcer or by a traffic signal.

On the other hand, every pedestrian crossing a road within a business or residential district, at any point other than a crosswalk shall yield that right of way to vehicles.

Meanwhile, MMDA says lack of traffic enforcers and infrastructure shortcomings also cause accidents.

To avoid accidents and other road-related mishaps, here are some road safety tips particularly during the rainy season. According to experts, when the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt or concrete material causes tires to lose traction. Rain also affects driver perception that makes him difficult to see through the rain. Driving cautiously and at a reduced speeds are basic road safety reminders. Here are other ways to keep you and your passengers safe on the road during the rainy season.

• Extreme caution. Drivers should exercise extreme caution during the first hours of rainfall. Grease and engine oil build up over time even during dry periods. Mixed with water from rainfall, the road becomes slick, making the first few hours the most dangerous.

• Spare more travel time. During wet season, allow extra time and anticipate longer travel time to drive at a slower pace. Keep in mind the traffic is likely to mover slower and you might re-route because of flood or jammed traffic.

• Brake earlier. Highway accidents are usually due to sudden stop of a single car that causes collisions that involve three or more cars. If you brake earlier, it increases the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. It also signals the driver behind you that you’re slowing down.

• Maintain a safe distance. Drive cautiously and try to maintain a safe distance between any vehicles. When the road is wet, you will need more space and time to react to dangerous hazards. Avoid following large buses or trucks, they can cause spray from their rear wheels that could impair your vision.

• Don’t take chances. When it rains so hard and you feel that’s it’s impossible to see the road or the car in front of you, pull over and wait it out.

• Defog windows. Rain can cuase windshields to fog up. Make sure to switch on your car defoggers to keep the windows clean and clear. Turn on the air conditioning system also.

• Check your tires. Check your tires before your hit the road and make sure you do the routine maintenance especially during the rainy season.

• Be prepared. Wet-weather demands gentle use of all the main controls—steering, clutch, brake and accelerator and more allowances for errors and emergencies. Don’t forget to check also your headlights, rear lights, and brake lights. Check if indicators are working properly.

• Rest if you must. It’s good to have a couple of hours rest or after every hundred miles to avoid fatigue.


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