Monsoon is one of the toughest seasons for a driver and his car second only to those foggy unclear winter mornings. Under the condition both the vehicle and the driver are vulnerable and hence we have compiled a list of useful tips to get you and your car all set for the rains. Read on...

    Tin work:
    Increased humidity and moisture during the monsoons accelerates corrosion. In case you have dents or scratches on your car that go deep beyond the superficial colour scraping, you must get these attended to before the monsoon sets in.
    A coat of was polishing also helps in effectively draining down the rain water thus reducing the chances of corrosion.
    Nothing like a covered shed for your car especially in the monsoon.

    • Windscreen: Visibility is one of the most important factors while driving in the rain. Ensure that your windscreen is not only clean from any oil or grease stains but more importantly, ensure that the glass is quite scratch free. Scratches on the windscreen, especially small ones tend to scatter the light from an approaching vehicle's headlight affecting the vision adversely.
    • Brakes: Of course, brakes are important while driving in dry conditions, but the need for their immaculate condition can not be over-emphasized in wet conditions. Check for any leaking in the break fluid as a pointer. Also another way of testing a break is to break really hard on an empty road where you have no car following you and assess if the car tends to drift or steer in a particular direction. If so, the brakes need attention.
    • Tyres - pressure, tread-wear: Always maintain the air pressure in the tyres as prescribed by the manufacturer.  You will typically find labels on the door panel of the driver's door. This is very important when it comes to maintaining a good, safe and controlled ride. Imbalance in the pressure can cause drifts and loss on control especially if urgent braking is required which is quite likely in the rain due to the low visibility. Also, maintaining prescribed pressure ensures that the tyre provides a sufficient contact surface to ensure your safety.
    • Lights: Driving conditions are tough not only for you alone but also for the other driver on the road. You need to be able to see the vehicles approaching you or the ones ahead of you. This is applicable
    • to the other cars on the road as well. So along with ensuring that all your head lights function (both high beam and low beam), you also need to ensure that all the indicators and tail lamps function well. They help the other cars on the road to locate you.
    • Wipers: A good Indian summer can render the rubber wiper blades hard and brittle. Blades in such a condition, not only clean inefficiently but also due to their hard nature, end up scratching the windscreen. Check the condition of the blades and if found wanting, replace them. Many people delay the change of the blades and end up spoiling the windscreen itself. Like most maintenance tasks, this is more a case of a stitch in time.
    • Washers: Tyres from other vehicles on the road tend to splash a lot of dirt and greasy mess on to your wind shield. Ensure that the washer water tank is filled with water at all times. Sometimes a splash a clean water is all you need to get rid of the mess that your windshield is into.  Do not add any detergents or additives. Use plain water.
    • Rear Wind Shield: The tyres of your car tend to throw a lot of mud onto your rear wind shield in case of hatch backs and suvs while driving in the rain which can affect your vision. The wash wipe for the rear wind shield comes in handy here. It is an extremely useful feature to have and if you do, maintain it so that it stays in working condition.
    • Fog Lamps: Fog lambs are not just style accessories but are a very important safety feature. In heavy rains, you may drive with rear fog lamps switched on which will help the cars that follow you to see you. Front fog lamps are a better option than the headlights as they are usually planted low in the front bumper and hence do not blind the approaching vehicles.

    • If it is raining, make sure you assess the driving condition before you set out on the roads. If it appears really bad and visibility seems to be affected, do re-think venturing. During such trying conditions, do note that even if you are confident in spite of the level of visibility, other cars on the roads require that extra.
    • Make sure you provide for that extra margin for error. This can be achieved by driving much slower than you normally would and being extremely judicious about over-taking.
    • Remember it is always better to err on the more conservative side.
    • You must also avoid a situation where you need to brake hard or in an urgent fashion. Due to the wet conditions braking will not be effective. Even if you manage to stop in time, the following car may not and may end up piling on your boot.
    • Beware of junctions and pedestrian crossings especially in the rain. Reflexes of pedestrians are slower as well and rain-coats and umbrellas can get them to do unexpected things. Sadly, driving is all about accommodating the mistakes of other people on the road.
    • And last but not the least, drive using a low beam! This should be followed under normal circumstances as well. High beam blinds the approaching car and makes driving at night very risky and cause fatal accidents.

    Picture Courtesy: Vaibhav Srivastav

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