THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the continuing rain making driving difficult, motorists are worried about hydroplaning or skidding. The generous pre-monsoon showers have resulted in motorists complaining about skidding on smoother stretches on major roads.
The rainy season is considered the worst period for road users in the state. The chances of accidents are high when there is waterlogging and difficult vision. According to Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA), more than 110 people get injured in road accidents everyday during the rainy season, resulting in the death of 10 people. It has come out with Operation Rainbow, which is a set of guidelines for safe driving and reducing accidents, during the rainy season.
“There is a need to be more careful while driving in rain. Waterlogging results in hydroplaning, hitting bumps and other hidden objects, and falling in potholes,” said T Elangovan, executive director, Kerala Road Safety Authority. “We advise drivers to reduce the speed by 20% during rains. The efficiency of brakes becomes poor in older vehicles. Once you are on a waterlogged stretch, application of brakes becomes difficult,” he added.
He pointed out that a study conducted on the roads in the state found that the number of accidents increases by 10-15% in the monsoon season. Road accidents kill over 4,000 people in the state in a year. The KRSA plans measures to reduce the deaths by 20-25% this year.
The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) has started a study on the impact of waterlogging in causing accidents. “Hydroplaning happens when the road surface becomes smoother. The presence of excess bitumen creates extra smoothness on roads. It becomes riskier during the rainy season. One of the major risk factors for accidents during the rainy season is waterlogging. The lack of drainage compromises the road safety,” said NATPAC director Samson Mathew.
Road safety authority’s advisory
Ensure brake system, head lights, indicators, wipers and horn are in good working condition
Always use safety gadgets like helmet or seat-belt while driving
Replace old or brittle wipers
Ensure defogging, demist mechanism and fog lamps are in working condition
Never follow trucks or buses too closely -- they splash water that obstructs your vision
Avoid speeding and dangerous overtaking manoeuvres in the rain