The next few months are typically some of our wettest, which requires an even stronger vigilance of safety and preparedness. Rain can decrease visibility, make roads slippery, and cause overall driving conditions to be more dangerous. Here are some key driving tips to stay safe on wet roads.
Posted speed limit signs are meant for ideal driving conditions. In rainy weather when roads are slick, driving conditions are less than ideal and your driving speed should decrease. Let up on the gas and leave yourself more time to get to your destination…you certainly don’t want to be rushing in rainy weather.
Turn Off Cruise Control
While cruise control can be great to use in normal conditions, in rainy weather it can increase your chances of losing control of your vehicle. Slick roads my require you to reduce speed to prevent loss of traction, and you cannot do so safely (by lifting up on the accelerator) when you are on cruise control. Also, when driving in hazardous conditions it is especially important to pay close attention to every aspect of your driving. Having your car on cruise control may make you less alert, and also limits your options of how to safely respond to a potential loss of traction situation.
Turn on Headlights
It is the law in all states to have your headlights on when visibility is low, and many states also require vehicles to have their headlights on if windshield wipers are in use. Plus – it is simply common sense that you will want to do everything in your power to increase visibility in poor driving conditions.
Be Aware of Hydroplaning Risks
Hydroplaning occurs when your tires are getting more traction on water than the road, causing your car to slide uncontrollably. Even when roads don’t seem flooded at all, you car could still hydroplane – all you need is 1/12th of an inch of water and a speed of more than 35 miles per hour. To avoid hydroplaning, drive slow and avoid quick changes in speed by leaving plenty of space between you and other vehicles. Also, make sure regularly rotate your tires and check treads for wear.
And if you do feel yourself losing control of your vehicle? Don’t panic, and avoid slamming on your breaks to maintain control. instead, continue to look and steer in the direction you want your car to go.
No one enjoys driving in hazardous conditions, but by driving cautiously and remaining alert, you’ll keep the rainy roads safer for yourself and other drivers until the weather clears up.