Navigating Rain Storms: Essential Tips for Safe Driving
New England and the Eastern part of the U.S. is experiencing heavy rain storms and flooding. For many of us, driving to a destination for whatever reason may not be an option. For the remaining, it’s best to stay put and not risk getting into an accident or even worse, well it could be deadly.
Let’s dive into helpful tips to stay safe when you absolutely have to drive in a rain storm and on wet roads.
The first few hours during and after a rainstorm are the most dangerous. Grease and oil leftover from road vehicles create a film on the road during dry conditions. When it rains, this layer gets wet and is extremely slippery. Slow down to accommodate the slick conditions. Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Drive defensively against all those other drivers who also think they can drive at top speed because they know what they are doing.
Break Cautiously and Occasionally
One of the primary reasons cars collide with each other during rainstorms is the fact that drivers tend to slam on their brakes as if the roads were dry, but wet roads cause the car to slide forward, often right into the rear of another car. By testing brakes occasionally to experience how brake pads and brake shoes are reacting to their respective surfaces sets expectations on how a vehicle brakes when the brake pedal is applied. Also, it helps to brake earlier than you normally would and do it gently to notify the person behind you that you are slowing down.
Sure, the big splash that happens when you drive through a huge puddle is fun and the kids might like it. However, what does not like it is your car. If water gets up into the engine compartment, the water can damage the internal systems. In addition, you are not a stunt driver and this is not a cool SUV commercial — if you are stuck in running water during a flood, you are literally going to be stuck in the rain with no car. Avoid the temptation, drive around large puddles, and avoid running water. Once you have passed safely, lightly tap your brake pedal to dry off your brake rotors.
Go With The Flow
If you decided that you really are a stunt car driver and start to hydroplane in the slick conditions, (we did warn you, after all), take your foot off the gas. Put your foot on the brakes firmly and steadily and steer in the direction of the skid. Wait for the car to come to a complete stop before you attempt to readjust yourself in the right direction.
Increase Your Visibility X 3
When it is raining, turn on your low beam headlights whether it is state law or not. This helps other cars see you, which helps everyone stay safe. Stay in the middle lane as much as possible to see what is going around and let others see you. This also helps you stay out of some of the deeper water, which tends to run off to the side.
Rain storms can cause your windows to fog up quickly, affecting your visibility. Make sure your defogger is working correctly and use it when necessary. Additionally, set your climate control system to maintain a comfortable temperature and prevent condensation on the inside of your windows.
The condition of your windshield wipers are important too. To ensure optimal performance, check and replace worn-out wipers. A worn out wiper can hinder visibility during heavy rain.
Check the Depth of Your Tire Tread
If you are driving on tires with less than 1/16″ of trend remaining, then proceed with extra caution when driving in the rain. The performance of a tire is significantly reduced with the combination of wet roads and little tire tread remaining and can lead to hydroplaning especially at high speeds and around turns. you risk hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when your tires lose contact with the road due to a layer of water between them, causing a loss of control over the vehicle. Get your tires replaced quickly.
And with that, you will be able to drive safely in the rain. Remember that your top priority is to reach your destination safely and help keep your fellow drivers and passengers safe as well.
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