THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the state bracing for more rain in the coming days, motorists have been urged to exercise caution as the accident analysis of the previous year shows that most vehicle crashes during heavy rain were fatal. The motor vehicles department analysed all accidents that happened in 2021 and found that the fatality rate increases to 32% during heavy rain. Even if it is raining lightly, the fatality rate is 16% when compared to the 9.3% during clear weather. In 2021, nearly 3,500 people died in over 33,300 accidents.
The number of accidents during heavy rain has been relatively low due to fewer people travelling during the adverse weather conditions. However, the fatality rate remains high. The MVD has given a number of reasons for this.“The motorists drive on wet roads in the same manner as they normally do. The friction drastically reduces due to the wet surface and, as a result, when the brake is applied, it takes more distance for the vehicle to come to a halt,” said Additional transport commissioner Pramoj Sanker P S.
“The ‘stopping distance’ will increase according to the condition of the tyres, nature of road, attention of driver, and speed and weight of the vehicle. So, it is important to drive at half the speed when it rains than we do during normal weather,” he added.
Vehicles skidding off the road, fogging of front/rear view glasses, reduced visibility, hydroplaning, motorists rushing to escape rain, especially two-wheelers, etc, were some of the reasons cited for fatal accidents in 2021. Hydroplaning happens when the tyres of the vehicle lose their grip on a road surface and travel on a film of water sitting on top of the road.
According to Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA), more than 110 people get injured in road accidents everyday, resulting in the death of 10 people, during the rainy season. It has come up with Operation Rainbow, which is a set of guidelines for safe driving and reducing accidents, during the rainy season. The chances of accidents are high when there is waterlogging and difficult vision. The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) has started a study on the impact of waterlogging in causing accidents.
“Study on Punalur-Kulathupuzha road in Kollam and Pravachamabalam-Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram has beenstarted. The teams will study the effectiveness of the drainage and suggest measures to enhance the life of pavements and road safety,” said Samson Mathew, director of NATPAC.