Dealing with the rainy season

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Atty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

THE Mini is now in Cebu. Their showroom opened on June 24 where they launched the all-new Mini Cooper S. My first impression is that the Mini is not so mini anymore. Just like almost all of the cars, except for the Mitsubishi Mirage, it is significantly bigger that the original first generation version. On paper, the specs of the Cooper S had me drooling as it has a two-liter twin scroll turbocharged 190 bhp engine with 206 lb/ft of torque.

The dealer claims it has go-kart like handling but with a compliant ride. It seems like this is a top contender for becoming the best front-wheel drive car available in the Philippine market. This would be a nice car to test at the Kartzone autocross track and the chassis dynamometer of Group B Automotive and Tuning.

RAINY DAYS AHEAD. The rainy season is in and I would like to remind fellow motorists out there to properly prepare your car for the rainy season. Make sure that you have good wiper blades. In fact, I would advise motorists to change to new wiper blades at the beginning of every rainy season. A bad wiper blade would in fact make visibility worse.

Check your tires and make sure that you have more than 25 percent of your tread left.

It is those gaps in the treads where water is channeled through to make sure that the rubber of your tires is always in contact with the road. If there are not enough treads to channel the water, then there will be a layer of water between your tires and the road resulting in the loss of grip and possibly an accident.

When going through flooded roads make sure that it is not deeper than one-third of your wheel diameter. Damaging your car by going through flooded roads can be very costly.

HAZARD LIGHTS. There has been some debate on whether or not it is proper to turn on the hazard lights while driving in heavy rain. A manila automotive writer went as far as calling a person who turns on the hazard light of his car in heavy rain an idiot.

My opinion on this matter is that bad weather in itself is not a reason to turn on your hazard lights. So, if you are driving your car and it starts raining hard, then you turn on your hazard light just so you can be more visible to other motorists, you are an idiot and your license should be revoked.

The hazard light is used to warn other motorists that there is a problem with your car or that while driving there is a hazard in front of your car that you have to abruptly slow down. Its purpose is to make other drivers aware that there is a problem with your car or there is a problem within the vicinity of your car. When moving at speed on a highway, turning on the hazard light is actually sending a message to the other motorists around you that you are abruptly slowing down, possibly to a full stop.

BECOMING A HAZARD. During bad weather it is justified to turn on the hazard light only when you feel that you have become a hazard to the motorists around you. For example, it is raining really hard and for one reason or another, you are driving really slow, because you are not confident of driving on wet roads, and the speed you are traveling at is a lot slower than the other motorists who are on the same road.

In this case, turning on the hazard lights is the correct and smart thing to do, as you are warning other motorists that you are a slow moving vehicle on what are not ideal conditions. But to turn on the hazard lights in bad weather for the sole reason that you want your car to be more visible is improper as you are sending the wrong signal to other motorists. Turning on all your headlights and taillights will be sufficient to make your car more visible.

The hazard light is not an excuse light, therefore it does not excuse a motorist from double parking, counter-flowing, disobeying traffic signs, etc. One just cannot tell a parking attendant in IT Park, “I don’t need to pay for the parking as I had my hazard lights on.”

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