Living in Sydney means you will encounter a variety of weather conditions no matter the season, which also means you will find yourself driving in wet weather at unexpected times. Many people don’t realise how important it is to drive safely in these situations, as it can cause many accidents. Wet weather can be precarious for these larger vehicles. Buses, in particular, need to be extra cautious when driving in wet weather conditions. These vehicles are larger, heavier and require greater control.
One of the most vital things to remember is that driving in wet weather conditions requires both bus and car drivers to be extra cautious and operate at a much slower speed. Driving in bad weather is not the same as driving on a beautiful sunny day. Roads are wet, glary, slippery and dangerous.
Tips to keep you safe when driving in adverse, wet weather conditions:
- Always allow for extra travel time as traffic usually moves at a much slower pace when the road is wetter. People tend to be more cautious and drive slower. This means you will need to take into account extra time to ensure you arrive at your destination on time, without rushing! Roads can also be flooded or jammed, causing additional traffic, so always ensure you leave a little earlier when driving in wet weather conditions. Bus drivers should also check the weather forecast before they begin their route. If they require more time, they should leave earlier to ensure they are not behind schedule.
- Make sure you have your headlights on - both buses and cars should always keep this in mind. This will help you see the road better as well as notify other drivers of your presence. Making yourself known while driving in wet weather conditions means that other drivers can see you and potentially avoid any risky or dangerous situations.
- Most of the time, driving in wet weather conditions means the road markings ahead can be glary or hard to see. This is why it is crucial to follow the tracks of the car or bus ahead of you. Following their path can help you see where to go and will also reduce the amount of water between the road and your car’s tyres. It is also crucial that you are extra cautious and aware of their brake lights so that you can anticipate their actions.
- It would be best if you braked earlier during wet weather conditions as the road is usually slippery and dangerous to drive on. This is especially important for bus drivers as they are handling a much larger vehicle and should remain in control. By braking earlier, you are increasing the stopping distance between you and the car/bus in front of you. It also lets the driver behind you know you are slowing down ahead of time. Buses and cars should also turn signals on earlier for other drivers to read driving intentions easily.
- Make sure you keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists on the road as visibility is lower during bad weather conditions, and pedestrians are usually more impatient to get out of the rain. They may make quick and rash decisions when crossing the road. Bus drivers should also be extra cautious and slow when approaching bus-stops as wet weather conditions can cause side gutters to fill up and splash passengers.
- Defog your windscreen! Rain and humidity can cause your windshield to fog up, which is why it is crucial to make sure you turn on the front and back demisters or heaters.
- Avoid large puddles. Cars should avoid water splashing into their engine as this could cause compartment and electrical systems to damage internally. On the other hand, buses should ensure they avoid large puddles as the water can splash on pedestrians and other cars, causing a lack of vision.
- Cars drivers should make sure to give buses and trucks extra distance as these large vehicles can splash water and completely block your vision. If you can, try and avoid these vehicles to help you remain safe.
- Cars and buses can also turn on traction control to help provide stability and control throughout these wet weather conditions. Traction control helps maintain grip by putting the brakes on the tyres grappling for traction.
- Ensure your tyres are inflated properly and make sure they are not worn out. We recommend slowing down when the roads are wet and avoid puddles to avoid any hazardous situations. This is especially important for bus drivers as they are operating a heavy vehicle which requires more control and vigilance when being operated in wet weather.
- Make sure your wipers are in good condition and are functioning correctly. If they are damaged or in bad condition, you must replace the blades - the importance of these safety features is often undermined.
- If driving in terrible weather or wet weather conditions, you MUST pull over and stop driving. Do not take any risks while driving if your vision and confidence is obstructed.
Whether you are driving a bus, truck or car, it is essential to keep these bad weather driving tips in mind! Safety on our roads should be everyone’s number one priority. Remember, it is not only you on the road, and your decision can affect others. Stay safe when driving in wet weather conditions and make sure to consider everyone on the road.
At Intertrain, our Bus Driver Authority Training course teaches future bus drivers safety handling tips in a range of weather conditions. This helps prepare and ensures they can handle themselves in different weather conditions.
If you want to become a bus driver and complete your NSW Bus Driver Authority Training, Intertrain can help! We make the process of applying for an NSW Bus Authority as easy as possible. Contact us today on 1300 222 776 for more information!