How to Drive Safely in UAE During Rains
In the desert environment, rain is always welcome and a reason to celebrate. However, rain can be a headache and you will need to be on a constant vigil so as to be safe on the slippery roads. It is important to be concerned with the safety of self; since you never know how the person around might drive on these conditions.
Since driving under heavy rain conditions isn’t exactly an easy task to do, with having to scrunch eyes to see clearly and keeping a distance between the vehicle in front. And at such times, it is important to not drive in a zig zag fashion; not only does it attract a fine from the Dubai Police but also it is dangerous for self and people around. It is better to maintain a distance if in the vicinity of one such driver in the weather since roads can be slippery.
Some Things to Check Before Venturing Out in the Rain
Tires can never be emphasized just enough. One of the most important and functional parts of the cars, tires that have good tread let water to pass through its grooves without compromising on the grip on the road. However, tires with no grip(bald) offer no such protection and may aquaplane causing skids. It is important to check the tires periodically to notice any sign of wear and tear and get it repaired accordingly.
During the rainy season, a lot depends upon the condition of the car’s wipers. It is certainly a step in the right direction to check the wipers every now and then around the year.
Wipers that are in good condition will clean the windshield and leave no residue on their trail. Wiper blades that are worn out should be changed to avoid any scratches on the windshield.
Steps to Follow While on Road
During rains, it is better to slow down and keep a safe distance from other vehicles. This isn’t due to a person’s lack of driving skills, rather due to the wet road being slippery. Since rainfall is an unusual event in UAE, hence oil and dirt find their way to the surface. As there is a possibility of skidding, a person should avoid testing the speed limits and rather should stick to the speed limit set by the RTA. According to RTA, a speed of less than 80 kmph should be kept for avoiding aquaplaning.
Slow Down on Puddles
Going over a puddle with water splashing on the either sides seems like a fun activity. However, the water spray isn’t really pedestrian friendly and can startle other car drivers as well, which may result in them being distracted. Hence, it is advisable to keep clear of the water puddles or to decrease the speed while passing over them.
Another reason to not over the water puddles at a fast pace is that sometimes, potholes may be covered with water and going over them may severely damage the car’s suspension or tire. Water might also enter the car’s air intake; causing damage that is unlikely to be covered by insurance.
Avoid Underground Parking and Underpasses
If there is an indication of rain, it is important to avoid the underground parking as water is most likely to collect there in a short interval of time. In the same way, underpasses may have water flooding and might cause the car to break down in the middle of the road which will be an unwanted situation.
Turn on the Lights
As per the Article 63 of UAE Federal Traffic Law Number 21, 1995; a person can use headlights in the day when the visibility is low. So, using headlights is better than squinting to watch the road.
However, if the rain is exceptionally heavy, a person can pull over and wait for the downpour to lessen a bit.
Aquaplaning and How to Deal With it
Aquaplaning is a serious concern and hence, a person should know how to avoid it.
But the first thing to show should be what is aquaplaning! In Aquaplaning, when a vehicle goes too fast over a lot of water on the road, it loses the control as the vehicle skis over the water surface. The steering feels nonresponsive and the vehicle feels weaving at the back. What further exacerbates the situation is the presence of tires without treads i.e. bald tires.
Factors behind aquaplaning are tire pressure, tire state, speed, and water depth, which combine to cause aquaplaning. This is why it is mentioned that a person should drive at speeds less than 80 kmph over the water for the safety reasons. Also, keeping self in the middle lane is beneficial as the water collects on the either edges of the road.
However, if a person finds that the vehicle being driven is aquaplaning, these steps can come in handy!
- Switch on the vehicle’s hazard lights.
- Don’t accelerate or brake and make sure to grip the steering wheel firmly.
- Work on gradually reducing the speed by releasing the accelerator.
- Once some amount of control is realized, gently accelerate or brake.
- Make sure to always keep an eye for any vehicles that get too close.
Road safety requires constant vigil and attention to ensure a smooth drive. Make sure you use these tips before heading out in UAE during the rainy season.