Monday 8th of February 2016 01:00:39 PM

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Poor visibility cause of accidents in rainy season

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Change of weather comes with new problems so whenever the rain season starts, another set of problems emerge. There are more accidents during the rainy season than during the dry season because of several factors. It is therefore important to look at these factors and internalise them.

A lorry wading through a muddy road.Normally, the first few rain drops loosen grease and dirt which mixes with the rain drops covering the entire road with an extremely dangerous slippery film. After the water has washed off the grease from the road, it is only when it will be less dangerous. To be a safe driver, the first few drops of water should signal you to slow down. On wet roads, the following distance should be at least be twice as normal driving.

One of the reasons for the increased accidents during rainy weather is poor visibility and there are several causes of poor visibility. Normally, there is a mist caused by condensation which covers most of the windshields on the motor vehicle. This can be inside the motor vehicle or outside depending on which of the two is cooler. This, coupled with poor AC in most vehicles, hinders the driver from seeing properly a few feet from where the vehicle is. The defrosters have also been a problem especially with the majority of vehicles which spend nights out. In the early hours of the morning when we set off, the visibility when using the driving mirrors becomes difficult.The coldness mentioned above forces an average motorist to put on the heaters. The heat generated is so comforting that a person is likely to feel drowsy. This is the major cause of mystery accidents on roads.

While the windshields are playing tricks on the motorists, the lights come with their fair share of problems. It is advisable to lower your beam when driving in a wet condition. This is because the droplets of rain in the atmosphere reflect light. Even well focused lights will give a wrong picture of what is ahead in full lights. However, psychologically, because of the other factors of poor visibility, a motorist will assume that full lights are the best under the circumstances. Several motorists have poorly aligned lights which will cause blinds to other road users.

In cool weather, motor vehicle efficiency is better. You need fewer throttles to move the vehicle at speeds that are higher than when during in warm or dry weather. Years of driving tends to give us the confidence on assumed speeds which are at times higher than we think. Without the adjustments on following distance, you can guess what is likely to happen.  The issue of smoke clouds (exhaust emissions) on roads by trucks and poorly maintained matatus is also common. In such cases, the smoke cloud will screen everything on the other side of the smoke. This smoke takes longer to clear in cold weather. If you are driving very fast, chances of ramming into the vehicle ahead of you are high. The emissions too reflect light and your focus and concentration on the road starts to fade.

With our roads that are normally flooded, the brake pads/shoes also become wet. The efficiency is therefore compromised until they are dry again. The cumulative effect of all these problems is more accidents.

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