While many drivers don’t think twice about heading out when it is raining, the wet pavement and limited visibility rain causes can lead to dangerous driving conditions. If you have to drive during a rainstorm, there are some things you should keep in mind. Here are some tips for driving safely in the rain.
Slowing down might seem obvious to some drivers, but others might keep their speeds the same as they would when the roads are dry. Slowing your speeds down will help keep you from hydroplaning if you hit a patch water, and make it easier to get back in control. Keep in mind that the most dangerous time to hit the road is right when it starts to rain. As the road starts to get damp, the oils on the pavement create very slippery conditions.
Add Some Space
Add a few extra seconds between you and the car in front of you. This will give you some extra time to stop if you need it, and give you some extra time to react. Wet roads reduce your traction by up to one-third, so you need some extra time to slow down. You can figure out how far back you should stay by watching the car in front of you. Once it passes a marker, count out three to four seconds before you pass the same marker in dry conditions, and stay back five seconds or more in wet conditions.
Prepare Your Vehicle
One of the most important tips for driving safely in the rain is to make sure your car is ready for it. Check your tires to make sure they have enough tread to help keep them firmly on the pavement and check the tire pressure. Have your mechanic check your windshield wipers to see if they are in good condition before you get out there in the rain. If they are showing signs of wear and tear, have them replaced.
Turn Off Cruise Control
It is important to know when to use your extra technology and when to rely on your own skills. When driving in a rainstorm, you want to turn off your cruise control to help keep you from hydroplaning. Driving without cruise control helps because when you have your foot on the gas pedal and see that you need to slow down, you lift your foot off the gas when getting ready to brake. This causes the front of the vehicle to dip down and move some of the weight to the front of the car, so the tires stay more connected to the road.
Also, keep in mind that you can’t always depend on the accuracy of advanced safety systems on wet roads. The water might affect the sensors, so they are not as reliable.
There is no reason to stay home during a rainstorm, but it is important to take some extra precautions. If you pay attention, slow down, and give yourself plenty of room, you should make it to your destination safely.
Photo by bossco via Flickr | Licensed under CC BY- SA 2.0 | Cropped from original