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Extreme Weather and What To Do - 2018

November 26, 2018

A major online source of information states: “Extreme weather includes unexpected, unusual, unpredictable, severe or unseasonal weather.”

Australia is a country “of drought and flooding rains” and we know that. It’s what happens when a weather event that’s out of place, and we’re on the road at the same time, happens that can cause issues in driving.

Road service groups such as the NRMA and RAC are there as a backup when things go wrong, and there are a few ways that we, as a driver, can lessen the need for a call when caught in a sudden rain shower or hail storm or smoke & dust. Here’s how.

Car maintenance is not based on just one area. It doesn’t mean simply using the right fuel, be it standard unleaded or E10, or diesel. Incidentally, that last one is a not uncommon call for service, where drivers absent- mindedly throw diesel into an unleaded car, and vice versa. Cars are of many parts and maintenance is the same.

Wipers. A combination of metal, plastic, and rubber make up one component of safe driving. By moving across a windscreen’s glass, the rubber (or perhaps, a silicone) blade removes light, to moderate, to heavy rain. Sounds simple but then it depends on how good the condition of the blade is as to how effective it is. Think of a new razor being used as opposed to an old one. Or old sandpaper compared to a new sheet. Trico’s range of blades makes choosing a new one really easy.

The Windscreen. In conjunction with the wipers, a new or well maintained screen will make the wiper blade’s job a whole lot easier. In fact, both rely on the other to work in order for both to make driving safer. A clean windscreen is smooth, flat, and makes the running off of water easier. It’ll hold less dirt and makes getting dirt off much easier. This is crucial if caught in a sudden downpour. If the wiper blades are old they won’t, literally, wipe the rain as effectively and a scruffy, pitted, windscreen will hold onto unseen dirt and combined makes clear forward vision much more difficult to achieve.

A good wiper fluid can assist. There are many products available, including Trico’s own washer fluid. The liquid is especially made to assist cleaning windscreens by lifting dirt away from the glass, and assisting in keeping blades supple, not dry and brittle.

Tyres. Just like wiper blades, tyres benefit from a checkup. It’s all too easy to think that once they’re pressurized they stay that way. But how long does your child’s birthday balloon stay filled with helium? Rubber is a porous product and over time air will permeate through.  Under-inflation leads to sagging sidewalls, pressure on the structure of the sidewalls, and eventually cracks form.

When such a tyre is re-inflated that cracks look like they’ve gone, but they haven’t, and this means the actual strength of the sidewall is still potentially compromised. And then there is over-inflation. Again, the good old balloon is an easy example to think of. Blow one up too much, and kapow! An over-inflated tyre has less flexibility and hitting a surface such as a rock or a broken up road can break the tyre as easily as dropping a china cup on a hard floor.

Both conditions don’t have the tread of the tyre doing its job. There is a certain amount of area that a tyre needs in order to provide that fine balance between grip and drainage, and in a storm neither will get rid of road water safely. Going the other way and a dried out tyre is more prone to see the rubber flake, and possibly fracture. Like our own human skin, a bit of moisturizer won’t go astray, and a tyre’s life can be reasonably extended.

Suspension. Although a good tyre will help ride quality, it’s the springs and shock absorbers that do the bulk of the work. Not only will a well balanced suspension system help in providing a smooth a ride as possible, it helps in fuel economy because the engine isn’t struggling to pull an out of kilter car. One broken “shocky” can stop a car from rebounding from a bump safely and throw a car sideways. Worn out springs can also have the same effect, and tired old springs will have a car feeling like a wet sponge wallowing across a table, with no stability and no control seen.

On a wet or icy road the pair could too easily combine for a sudden change of direction to….not happen.  This is when brakes may be needed. And what happens when worn out brake pads don’t work? Stopping power just doesn’t exist, and the forty, fifty, sixty metres needed to stop can double or even triple. A good brake system should have a driver feeling a “bite” on the brake discs with just a light foot pressure on the pedal. The harder the push needed the less actual stoppage is likely to happen.

Inside the car is important too. Just like the outside of the windscreen, the inside needs to be cleaned, especially if driver and/or passengers are fond of a “dart” or two. Even using a demister can leave a film, that easily smears and obscures vision. Trico’s windscreen washer fluid, diluted and applied with a clean cloth, can easily help out here.

How would you define extreme weather? Have you been caught in what was a sudden storm of any sort? Let us know your thoughts and keep us up to date on how your Trico products are working for you via our social media and blog.