Saturday, May 28, 2011

Driving in the rain

Charlie chaplin once famously uttered that i love walking in the rain, because they hide my tears, i loved driving in the rain that too pouring rain, in my old carb maruti 800.  Once i migrated to A Star with MPFI technology, and after joining Team Bhp i realised that it is no more a pleasure to drive in the rain.  As a travel enthusiast photography of nature is at its best during the rainy season since the greenary is abudant. So discretion is better than valour, it is better to be cautious rather than throwing caution to the wind and rain.

One of the tips in Team Bhp forum given to its members is that it is good to carry a hammer to break open the glass.  This tip is abundantly useful and should be followed in case the power windows and door is jammed due to flooding.  Remember the famous july 2004 floods in Mumbai, killed some youngsters because they were unable to get off their car in rising floodwaters and drowned inside their vehicle itself.

Some of the practical tips to avoid hard braking during rainfall while driving on the highway is extremely useful.  My experience during the recent trip to tirupati in my A Star was convincing and collaborating this fact.  Most of the fuel efficient cars have light body, and with tubeless tyres the grip on the roads can be tricky proposition, in the absence of  ABS ( anti locking braking system ) it is a definitely no no for hard braking.  I was travelling at around 90 kms per hour, and it started pouring, and i was in a mood to race with another car on the sidelines.  There was absolutely no traffic in front, and it was a divider road, so ideal situation to clip.  But who knew that road hump ahead would act as a spoiler.  I did not see the hump ahead till it was 100 meters ahead, i jammed my break 50 meters ahead, and my goodness the car went into a tail spin for around 25 meters.  The vehicle started veering towards the left because we were 3 inside the car.  If it had to veer to the right i would have rammed the divider.  Luckily for me i had maintained safe distance of nearly 4 lengths with the other car ( i 10 blood red ).  The momentum of my car took me very close to the other car on the left, it almost crashed into it.  Probably it was the other drivers judgement sensing trouble speeded up his car near the hump ignoring the standard procedure of slowing down, and blessings of  Lord Balaji himself that saved the night for us. 

When i checked with the GM of  Maruti showroom he showed me a demo video on ABS braking system, how a normal car skids veering towards the right in the absence of ABS.  When i narrated my experience he too was flummoxed.  But the logic is the centrifugal balance shifts where there is increased weight ratio, since we were three travelling in the car, my friend Dev and my wife behind were on my left.  That is the logical explanation for this gravity defying phenomenon.  So guys sometimes copy book style does not work, there are exceptions to the rule.

Now my mind is looking for solutions to safeguard the panels of my door getting wet, maintaining the tyre pressure, and ensuring optimum temperatures inside the vehicle.  Last but not the least ensuring that the glasses are cleaned time and again.  The old age drivers trick to rub tobacco to clean the glasses also seems to be useful in such situation. 

Some taxi driver taught me to keep newspaper below the mat to soak up the raindrops, i should implement the same too to safeguard my vehicle from giving out a stink in the carpets below the foot.  The latest gizmos in terms of fuse and chip technology is a boon but bane when it does not work.  Moisture can ring in disaster and we got to be prepared for the same.  So guys tissue paper, polethene covers, umbrella, hammer, tobacco, shampoo, first aid kit, etc definitely useful during the monsoon.

Driving under the trees too is a big danger in bangalore, branches of tree and uprooting of trees due to high wind velocity is common factor.  The nature itself is getting rid of old trees ( 20 year plus ), so the theory of protest against tree slaughter against road widening goes for a toss.  Apart from the digression, it is better to avoid driving under the trees during heavy wind driven rainfall condition.

So the classic advice for all drivers during heavy rainfall is to stop the car and enjoy the rainfall, because heavy rainfalls don t last more than 30 minutes.  Or apply shampoo above and ensure that it spreads evenly cleaning the car at slow speed.  The ideal advice is to sip a hot cup of coffee or tea inside a restaurant and wait for the rain to stop.  The earlier pleasure derieved from driving a manual maruti or ambassador in the rain is gone with generation gap.  Welcome the new era of  gizmos monitoring by chip technology, dont try to restart when your vehicle has ceased because of water entering into your exhaust or air vent states the advice.  Wait for it to drain or dry out otherwise engine can get hydrolocked, oops hope i don t goof up in case of such a situation.  On a humourous note i would prefer to wear a raincoat and wash my car with a good shampoo in heavy rain, thus conserving water and giving a sheen to my car and thus save on servicing bills.  Lolz.  Oh my goodness let me include hammer in shopping list before i forget.


magiceye said...

very useful tips indeed!

magiceye said...

btw whats your handle on tbhp? am on tbhp too! :)

Deguide said...

Deepak, my hnndle or id is ukderebail, pl confirm yours too or add mine into buddy list and send me a message.