Department offers safety tips for drivers on wet roads


“To cut risks that motorists might encounter when driving on wet roads or during downpours, we advise that motorists drive at reduced speeds and add further distance from vehicles in front,” said the department yesterday, noting that braking might become a problem on wet surfaces, and that standing rain water on road surfaces can cause what it called “hydroplaning”.

“Experienced drivers may be seasoned and accustomed to wet conditions on the road following constant rains, but no matter the experience if you drive into a puddle of water and the conditions are right, that a driver risks leaving the road or striking another, as his or her vehicle, becomes uncontrollable,” said the road transport commissioner Patrick Andre.

“Hydroplaning occurs when a tyre encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tyre which is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control,” he said.

“Hydroplaning can occur on any wet road surface; however, the first 10 minutes of a light rain can be the most dangerous.
“When light rain mixes with oil residue on the road surface, it creates slippery conditions that can cause vehicles, especially those traveling speeds in excess of 35 km, to hydroplane. This can be a deadly combination for the driver and surrounding motorists.

“The chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident increases during poor weather conditions such as fog and rain. However, it isn’t necessarily the pounding rain that is the most dangerous; it is the slick conditions that drivers aren’t prepared for. And as we well can understand, slippery conditions means the vehicle no matter what, when in motion, will definitely go somewhere it was not supposed to go.

“With continued rains expected over the next few days, drivers and those pedestrians braving the weather are advised to use caution and to drive safely.  And for those pedestrians?  Well let’s try to avoid splashing anyone with water.  This means slowing down and seeing what is ahead on the road.”