Rain and wet road conditions are perhaps the worst conditions that most drivers will face on a regular basis. Hazards and risks are elevated whenever it starts to rain, or even if roads are still wet from a recent downpour. Many drivers will simply slow down as their only safety precaution when it begins to rain. While reducing speed is a crucial element of how to drive safely in wet conditions, there are several other techniques or considerations that motorists need to be aware of when driving in the rain.
Not to rain on your parade, but heavy downpours can be dangerous.
1. Drive A Clean Car In Good Condition
When visibility is limited by wet weather, it’s important that your car itself doesn’t impede your sight. Once a month, clean the outsides and insides of windshields and windows, and check your windshield wiper blades for wear. Check the level of your washer fluid once a week.
2. Know The Roads
Roads are built to withstand different weather conditions in different parts of the country, so if you’re new to an area, use extra caution during or after a storm.
Take a moment to consider your route, too.
3. Switch On Lights, Not Brights
Though many newer cars come with automatic running lights, turn on the actual headlights when using windshield wipers so your taillights come on as well. The idea behind having headlights is so other people can see you. When you turn your headlights on and your back lights come on, you identify all four corners of the vehicle.
You don’t, however, need to flip on your brights; the brighter light will just reflect off wet surfaces, bouncing back into your eyes and irritating other drivers.
4. Slow Down!
Leave at least five seconds of following distance between your own car and the one in front, and don’t feel pressure to drive the posted speed limit.
And remember: never use cruise control on wet roads. If you hydroplane under cruise control, the automatic acceleration can cause you to lose control of your vehicle when your tires regain traction.
5. Don’t Get In Too Deep
If water is covering the markings on the road, it’s too deep to drive on. You can lose control with as little as three inches of water on the road. And even if you manage to stay in control, a larger vehicle could push some of that water underneath your car, causing your engine to stall.
6. Steer Where You Want To Go
If you’re going too fast and end up hydroplaning. It may take three to five adjustments to get back on course (and a little while longer for your heart to stop pounding).
7. Hold Off On Unnecessary Trips
It’s one thing if you need to get home to your children or you’re already on the road, but otherwise, ask yourself if you’ve driven in this kind of weather before and if you’re ready to handle it right now. But just as you would stay off the roads in heavy snow, it’s OK to stay home in heavy rain. If you have a small business in a flood-prone area and there’s lots of precipitation on the way, try to make arrangements for employees to work from home so they don’t have to worry about making the commute on potentially flooded roads.
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