No matter how much respite the ‘natural’ shower a.k.a rain brings with it, the truth is, it can disrupt your daily life and vehicular movement, especially. The memory of last year, monster jam in Gurgaon is still afresh in the minds of commuters, like you and me.
During such a situation, we usually put our hands up in the air and say, ‘Oh! Another traffic jam’ but what if we told you that by preparing yourself you could avoid being in such a tricky situation?
So, here’s a lowdown on how to drive safely in the rain, along with the importance of car insurance policy. Though some of the following tips may look obvious to you, it won’t hurt to check them off because at the end it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Maintain a safe distance= As braking distance increases more on a wet surface, make sure to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Though, heavy traffic is normal during rainy days, you will rarely go above 20 km/hr., so have a larger gap between you and the other vehicle ahead of you than what you would have maintained in the dry condition. Be extra vigilant on highways and increase the distance as per the visibility conditions.
- Keep it smooth= Avoid accelerating or applying brakes suddenly and stay away from sudden steering inputs. In the case of sudden inputs, your car may lose traction and spin—a situation that can prove dangerous to you.
- Ensure lights are functional= If visibility starts reducing, switch on your car’s headlights. Along with improving the visibility, headlights will also ensure that oncoming traffic can see you from a distant. Irrespective of the weather conditions, it is always preferable to drive on low beam because high beam only reflects and makes driving difficult. If due to heavy rain, traffic is moving slowly, switch on your hazard lights to warn vehicles following you.
- Halt and watch = In case it starts raining heavily, turn on your lights, switch on the hazard lamps and then park your vehicle on the side of a road. Wait till the rain subsidies and visibility improves. There is no point in going ahead, if the wipers of your vehicle can’t clear the excess water. In this situation, it is better to halt your journey.
- Avoid puddles and those parts of the road where the water is accumulated= You can never find out what lies underneath— it could be an open pothole or a manhole— which could harm both you and your car. Though, many times you will find it difficult to avoid driving through standing/flowing water, be extra cautious while driving. Make sure to keep your car’s engine revved in case the level of water is more than your vehicle’s exhaust pipe.
- Clear the fog= A fog inside your vehicle can affect your driving, so change the temperature setting on your car’s air-conditioner (AC) to ‘warm’ to direct the airflow towards the windscreen. Also, change the ventilation setting to let fresh air enter your vehicle. As a defogger allows current to pass through thin strips installed on the glass, switch it on if your car has a defogger.
In case your car doesn’t have an AC, open the windows slightly and gently clear the windscreen with a soft cloth.
Avoid covering your wet car as it will cause the rust to set in faster.Also, make sure to wash and pat dry your car after every trip in a monsoon as dirt and grime can affect your vehicle’s paint. Do not always depend on ‘the guy’ who comes every morning to wash your vehicle.
How can car insurance help you?
Undeniably natural disasters are beyond one’s control. Today it could be just downpours that submerge your car or tomorrow it could be trees uprooted by strong winds, falling on your car and damaging it beyond repairs. In 2015, over 10,000 Maruti cars were damaged in the Jammu and Kashmir floods.
Do follow the above tips and buy a comprehensive car insurance policy for the complete protection. The policy will come handy in covering losses or damages that may arise while driving a vehicle in heavy rain. However, relying only on your comprehensive car insurance policy may not be a good idea unless you fortify it with some useful riders. A standard motor insurance policy only covers direct damages up to a certain limit. That’s where riders or add-on covers can come to your rescue.
Here are four most important riders which you should add to your car insurance policy before it starts raining=
- Engine Protector Cover= Also called hydrostatic lock cover, this rider helps in covering the losses or damages caused to theengine. As water-flooded areas are common during monsoon, if you try to start your vehicle while it is submerged,it could have a damaging impact on your vehicle. Repeated tries may cause serious damages to your car’s engine, and you might have to bear expenses to repair the same. This could be costly and in some cases, can go above Rs 2 lakh as per the car model. In such a situation, an engine protector rider would help you by covering losses or damages caused to theengine due to water stalling.
- Roadside Assistance Cover= As rain water can harm your vehicle, you can find yourself stranded on the road with your damaged vehicle. Do you know, in 2016, over 100 vehicles stuck on roads after heavy rain brought Gurgaon’s life to a halt? If you have a roadside assistance cover, you can call your insurer who will make arrangement to tow your vehicle to the nearest garage The insurer may also arrange for an alternate accommodation up toRs 5,000 if the repair time of thevehicle is more than 12 hours. Some of the benefits offered under this rider are-
- Flat tyre service
- Arrangement of spare key
- Battery jump-start
- On spot technician for minor repairs
- Message relay
- Arrangement/supply of fuel
- Return to Invoice Cover= It is an add-on cover which can cover the gap between the insured declared value and the invoice price of the car. In the case of total loss or theft, this rider can help you fetch the total amount of loss, equivalent to the actual cost of the vehicle.
- Zero Depreciation Cover= At the time of a claim settlement, the insurer factors in depreciation and thus, do not pay the entire loss or damage. However, if you have a zero-depreciation cover, the insurer will settle the entire claim amount without deducting depreciation.
Some insurers also offer pre-monsoon checkups for cars to make themmonsoon ready. Though, you would have to pay anextra premium to add these riders to your car insurance policy, it is recommended to do so, considering the expenses that you would have to incur without these covers. Most of the car insurance companies have their car insurance calculators available on their websites. You can use these calculators to compute the car insurance premium that you may have to pay for these riders.
Driving Tips During Monsoon
- Though, avoiding the flooded area is preferable, even if you pass through a waterlogged area, drive slowly
- If your car is submerged, do not start your vehicle otherwise it can lead to hydrostatic lock
- Call roadside assistance and get your car towed in case it is stuck in water
- Stay off roads if authorities issue an advisory
- Keep a medical kit in your vehicle
Undeniably, driving in India is not everyone’s cup of tea and when you are driving in wet conditions, things can become more difficult and tiring. The reason is simple— Indian roads are not meant for themonsoon season. Natural disasters can befall any moment to dull the sunshine in your life. Don’t let it hamper your financial health. So, fearlessly battle the heavy showers with all the above tips, including car insurance and make your next ride enjoyable. Have a Happy Monsoon!