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Monday, April 19, 2021

Drive safe during the rains

A few basic precautions,regular servicing and adequate insurance can help your car sail through the monsoon.

Written by Amitabh Jain |
August 8, 2011 3:43:45 am

When the deluge of rain or sudden thunderstorms come unannounced,suddenly commuters find themselves stuck on roads and highways with their vehicles,facing unavoidable and at times stressful situations.

During these times,as a leading provider of motor insurance,the multifold of claims that get registered with a wide range of customers in varying circumstances,prove that the bad weather is totally indiscriminate,upsetting anyone in its wake. The situation worsens during June to September,the key monsoon season across India. The roads are inconvenient for driving and the risk of accident multiplies due to slippery roads,traffic congestion and impatience amongst drivers. Slow and safe driving,appropriate and regular motor care and a little pre-monsoon preparation can help avoid such dangerous mishaps. Motorists or vehicle owners should observe a few simple precautions while driving during bad weather especially the rainy season.

Before the onset of the monsoon: fundamental preventive care tips for the car reduces the risk of damage substantially. The few important steps to be followed are checking the battery,electrical wiring,headlights,tyres,engine,wipers and the underbody anti-rust coating on a regular basis along with tyre pressure,tread depth and spare wheel should also be checked. Cloth floor mats should be replaced with plastic/ rubber mats as it avoids dampness and bad odour.

In addition,motorists or vehicle owners would do well by observing a few simple precautions while driving during bad weather or rainy season. Some of these precautions include: driving slowly through water-logged areas and putting the vehicle into the first gear before entering a flooded area.

One should avoid racing the vehicle in full throttle while driving through a flooded area as it may force water to enter the cylinders,causing serious damage to the engine.

If the vehicle has broken down and is already submerged in flood water,one can shift the gear to neutral and apply hand brake before exiting the vehicle. The vehicle user should be careful by not trying to start the engine even once using the starter or push-start technique. This leads to damaging the engine as water present inside the cylinders cause hydrostatic lock resulting in breakage or bending of connecting rods (internal engine parts). In case of flooding,the driver should allow the water level to recede and get the vehicle pushed out of water in neutral gear and allow the water drain out for some time. One should avoid starting the engine and call authorised workshop technicians or tow away the vehicle to the nearest garage.

With the increasing hazards on roads and highways to the motorists,it is essential they protect themselves through motor vehicle insurance. There are many people who have car insurance as it is now mandatory,but are not informed of how they work. It is often presumed,that like any other insurance,you tell the auto insurance company what coverage you want,what you can afford,pay for it and in the event that you need some financial assistance,just file a claim for it — as simple as that. There is a strong need to mitigate the risks related to motoring by getting the right motor insurance policy that covers vehicular damage on account of natural calamities such as heavy rainfall and floods,thus averting huge financial losses.

It will not only protect the vehicle but also protect the owner if there is damage to the property of someone else while driving. To avail maximum advantage of one’s motor insurance policy,making note of simple things is helpful. One should thoroughly check motor insurance rates for offers and discounts before renewing/ buying a motor insurance policy.

The motor insurance policy document and the policy number should be in a safe,easily accessible location during the times of need. One should always make a note of the renewal dates and set reminders. The 24×7 call centre number of the insurance company if kept handy would be immediate support in case of an emergency.

The vehicle should be serviced only at authorised workshops as per manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule where affected parts should be replaced with genuine parts only.

Insurance companies today also offer add-on covers that take into account depreciation,consumable coverage and return to invoice coverage,among others.

Adequate pre-planning and following the safety rules can therefore make driving in the monsoon hassle-free and enjoyable.

— Author is ,VP – Customer Service,Motor,ICICI Lombard General Insurance

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