We all know how the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”, but let’s not forget what else rain storms can bring: unsafe driving conditions. More than one million weather-related crashes occur each year, mostly on wet pavement and nearly half while it’s raining. It’s best to be prepared by knowing smart driving techniques that can keep you safe in a rainstorm.
See and be seen
Make sure your car is prepared before you start driving by having proper and up to date equipment. Have all headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights properly functioning. To properly see, make sure to have windshield wipers that clear the glass in one swoop. Turn on your headlights (whether it’s day or night), so other drivers can see you. Use the defroster to clear fogged windows.
Try not to use cruise control
Cruise control can be a great feature on dry pavement, but should never be used on wet conditions. If used, the cruise control could interpret the loss of traction as a reduction in speed and react with acceleration increase, causing the vehicle to veer.
Choose your space wisely
Where you drive on the road effects your chance of hydroplaning. Water tends to be deeper on the outside lanes, so try to drive in the middle lanes. Also try to drive in the tracks of the vehicles ahead of you. Be very careful around large trucks and buses because the water from their tracks could splash your windshield and hinder your vision.
Hydroplaning happens after your vehicle hits a puddle of water, and in response loses traction. To avoid hydroplaning, do the following:
- Slow down and keep your distance from other cars
- Avoid hard breaking or turning
- If you do start to skid, stay calm, ease off the gas, and continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go
Remember, if it’s raining so hard that your vision is poor, don’t drive! Pull off until the storm passes. We hope these tips help prepare you to face a storm when driving.