With La Niña continuing to extend its firm hold over Australia’s East Coast, and many areas of Victoria, NSW and Tasmania experiencing record rainfall and even flooding, extra precautions and care are an ongoing necessity when it comes to keeping safe on the road!
While you’ve probably heard them all before, here are a few top road safety tip reminders for wet and stormy conditions.
Never drive through flood waters
As the well-known SES message goes: “If it’s flooded, forget it.” If a road is flooded, go back and find another way. Even if you think your vehicle is up to the challenge – don’t risk it. You are not only putting your own safety at risk but also that of volunteers and others who may need to come and rescue you.
Drive to conditions and avoid aquaplaning
If the road is wet (but not flooded), slow down and drive to the conditions.
Wet roads can cause your tyres to lose traction and the back end of the vehicle to drift from side to side. This may result in losing control over your vehicle including the essential actions of braking, steering and accelerating. If aquaplaning does occur, rather than hitting the brakes (or making other sudden movements which may cause the vehicle to skid), ease off the accelerator while keeping a firm hold of the steering wheel.
Make sure your tread is up to the task
Having a good amount of tread on your tyres is vital for the safe-running of your vehicle in any type of weather and road conditions. While the minimum legal requirement for roadworthiness of passenger vehicles in Australia is 1.5 mm, it is recommended you have at least 3mm tread on your tyres.
When driving in the wet, the tread on your tyres can make all the difference to avoiding aquaplaning. Tread that is damaged or worn results in less water being dispersed from the contact patch with the road – which in turn increases the likelihood of aquaplaning occurring and you losing control of the vehicle. You can regularly check the tread yourself just by looking at the tread indicators (small rubber blocks at intervals on the tyre’s surface), however, sometimes you may need a tyre expert using specialised tools to do an exact measurement.
Windscreen wiper wisdom
When you need windscreen wipers in good working condition, you really need them – so don’t wait until it’s raining to do a check!
Keep away from trees and power lines
It goes without saying that you should not park your vehicle under trees in a storm and keep clear of fallen trees and power lines.
Try to avoid driving through large puddles
It’s hard to judge how deep a puddle is until you’re in it – plus a pothole may be lurking beneath! Driving through puddles can also add to the risk of aquaplaning as well as potentially damaging your vehicle and tyres if you do unexpectedly hit a pothole.
Keep the windscreen and rear window clear of fog
Visibility in the rain can be greatly reduced, so use the demister button (or aircon in your vehicle) to make sure your windscreen and rear windows are clear.
Choose a quality tyre brand
Not all tyres are created equal! Choose a quality tyre brand which has been tested in all-weather conditions and performs well in the wet. Maxxis tyres are all quality controlled and extensively tested to give you peace of mind of performance when it’s wanted and safety when it’s needed!