Monsoon season is here! In this month’s blog we’ll give you some safety tips to use during the storm season.
Monsoon season is officially from mid June to the end of September, and each season ranges on the frequency, locations, and intensity of the storms. Therefore, it’s important to be informed so you can not only keep yourself safe, but prevent damage to your vehicle! Monsoon storms often bring sudden and lengthy periods of heavy rain, wind, lightning, and blowing dust – a variety of hazards for drivers who spend most of the year cruising under sunny skies. Here are some things you could face during monsoon season:
- Increased Stopping Distance
Braking relies on friction generated between your tires and the roadway to stop your vehicle’s momentum. Wet roads increase the distance required to bring the vehicle to a stop, and worn tires will take even longer. As a driver you should increase your following distance to give yourself more room to stop, and if you know your tires are overdue, it’s a good time to replace them!
- Decreased Handling
You will have reduced handling capability for the same reasons that it takes longer to stop. Be careful when you accelerate or make any sharp or sudden turns. Losing traction and entering a skid because of the road slickness is called hydroplaning. This has a higher chance of occurring at the onset of a light rain because the rainwater mixes with the oil residue on the roads and creates more slippery conditions.
- Decreased Visibility
Rain, wind, and clouds all combine to lower visibility. Ensure all vehicle lights are working properly and replace your wipers if necessary to ensure you aren’t blinded by heavy rain or mist kicked up by vehicles on the freeway. Even if you do not use your wipers, the heat dry rots them. Recommended to replace wipers annually
- Downed Power Lines
Early this month there was a storm which brought down fifteen power poles on Shea! Downed powerlines can be extremely dangerous and should always be treated with respect. As a general rule, you should stay clear of them at all times. If your vehicle becomes immobilized under or close to downed powerlines, it is important to remember that you should not exit the vehicle. Call 911 and the power company – they will give you guidance for the situation and arrive to assist.
- Flooded Roadways
Stay away from flooded roadways. The “Do Not Enter When Flooded” signs were placed for a reason, probably in hindsight after rescuing a few stranded drivers. Remember the monsoon season in 2014? Over twenty cars were stranded on the I-10, and numerous underpasses on the I-17 were impassable… although some people tried. Not only can you get your car stuck, but you can instantly destroy your engine in seconds by hydrolocking it with water. It is cheaper to reschedule an appointment than to buy a new engine!
- Rushing Water With standing water as problematic as it is, rushing water is exponentially more dangerous. Hopefully you won’t encounter this, but if you live in or are visiting northern Arizona, or any other region with changing elevations like mountains or riverbeds, be wary anytime you face a torrential downpour. Water is a powerful force that can sweep away your car (and much larger vehicles) away with ease.
- Dust Storms Dust storms are beautiful and breathtaking to behold… from afar. Entering a dust storm will dramatically reduce your visibility. This is the sort of environment that increases rear end accidents and chain collisions. Dust storms usually blow through within minutes, and it’s often recommended that drivers pull off the road and wait it out. Transportation agencies recommend that drivers also shut off all lights to avoid luring confused drivers off the road and into an accident. Check out this picture of a dust storm over Phoenix from 1972!
To sum things up, monsoon weather can provide even experienced drivers with a bit of a challenge. It is a beautiful time of year with amazing sunsets, clouds, and rainbows, but it does bring its hazards. Be sure to judge the situation before you head into it and use your knowledge of the road conditions to safely maneuver your vehicle. Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s blog – stay safe!
Did you know? – Standard on BMWs are many features that increase safety in inclement weather: Adaptive headlights, lane departure assist, traction/stability control, automatic wipers and extensive underbody paneling are just a few. If you feel any of these features are showing some wear, please contact us or at [email protected]