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Weather Safety

Being Safe During Bad Weather

While we may not have to contend with snow and ice on our roads in the Caribbean, we get more than a splattering of rain and maybe a few too many storms.

For anyone that has lost control of their vehicle on a wet road surface, we can agree that it can be a very frightening experience.

What can you do in the case of picking up a skid?

How can you maneuver in the case of hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tyres builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tyres.

Read and then, to help you remember, try to visualize applying some of these tips…they could save your life.

1. In wet conditions, SLOW DOWN! You can prevent skids by driving carefully, especially on curves. Steer and brake with a light touch. When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

2. If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. You must be prepared to turn the steering wheel again and again until the front of the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you steer into the skid.

3. You can avoid hydroplaning by keeping your tyres properly inflated. Check the tread on your tyres between servicing to ensure they have good tread. Bald tyres are like ice skates on an ice rink!

4. In addition to slowing down, try to avoid puddles. You never know how deep a hole is hiding below a puddle!

5. Provided you are not the first vehicle in line, try to drive in the tyre tracks left by the cars in front of you. Not too close though.

6. If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the gas until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally. The car's computer will automatically pump the brakes much more effectively than a person can do.

7. Leave for your appointments in good time so you are not tempted to rush. Of course, this applies in both wet and dry weather conditions.

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