Driving in harsh weather conditions is a daunting task, as it can often be frightening and unsafe. However, if drivers are able to drive cautiously and carefully on wet roads, then many car-related issues can be avoided. At RoadLoans, we want everyone to stay safe out on the roads no matter what the conditions, so here are some safety tips for driving in the rain.
Before you leave
Brakes – Make sure your breaks are in tip-top shape so they can easily manage the slippery roads.
Tip: If you’re looking to upgrade your brakes, anti-lock brakes are great for bad weather or rough conditions as they help prevent loss of traction or skidding.
Lights – It is often recommended, and sometimes required by law in certain states, to have your lights on while it is raining: it offers you better visibility in the dark, gloomy weather. So, make sure your lights are functioning properly so you can see other drivers, AND so other drivers can see you.
Wipers – Double check to see that your wipers are in good condition and can wipe away any possible rain or other debris that might come your way with the high winds and water blowing around in a thunderstorm.
Map road conditions – Check local traffic and weather sources to see the current road conditions. This can help you map out the best route to take in order to avoid possible flood areas, or areas with high traffic volumes or accident sites.
On the road
Slow down – My number one tip for driving safe in rainy conditions is to slow down. This gives you more time to react and view your surroundings, while diminishing the opportunity to lose control of your vehicle.
Leave room – When it is raining out, make sure to leave more room than you normally would between your car and the car ahead of you. This allows you ample space in order to react to sudden braking or sliding cars.
Tip: I usually try to leave three to four car lengths of room between me and other cars but on a rainy day try five to six car lengths.
For those of you wondering what hydroplaning is, this term refers to your car tires skidding or sliding across a wet surface. When your tires are no longer able to push water out of the way, a small amount of water can slide between the road and your tires and lead to loss of traction.
Tip: Hydroplaning can also commonly be referred to as aquaplaning, so if you hear someone say that, they are referring to the same thing.
In order to avoid hydroplaning, be aware of the water levels around you, and your tire’s traction on the road. Continue to drive slowly and if you feel yourself losing traction, refrain from immediately slamming the brakes. Instead, allow the vehicle to slow down and turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid to gain control.
Tip: Although you may not think so, hydroplaning can often occur during even a light rain, or at the very beginning of a rainstorm or thunderstorm. So be aware of wet pavement in all conditions, not just during the peak times of a crazy wind and rainstorms.
For more information on hydroplaning, take a look at Safemotorist.com’s hydroplaning basics article.
I hope my tips for driving in the rain help keep everyone safe and protected out there on the road. Just be careful and take extra precautions for safe driving in the rain.