A rainy day can be refreshing. Driving in the rain, however, can be quite dangerous so avoid it if you can. You may be a very safe driver, driving defensively and obeying all traffic laws. But what about the other drivers around you? If you have to drive on a rainy day, keep your trips to a minimum to reduce your chances of being involved in a collision. Before driving, check traffic reports to see if your route is affected by flooding, traffic collisions or road closures. Here are some more helpful tips for rainy day driving:
- When driving on the freeway, drive in the center lanes as water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
- Turn on your headlights! It will help you see better on foggy or rainy days and it will help other drivers see you!
- Increase your following distance and watch for brake lights ahead.
- Slow down – it takes longer to stop in wet weather. Plus the faster you drive, the greater the chances of hydroplaning!
- Drive slowly through any puddle of uncertain depth. That way if it’s deeper than you thought, you can still back out!
- Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it – you could be swept right off the road!
What do you do if your car starts to hydroplane? The first thing is, don’t panic. And, it’s probably not a good idea to slam on the brakes (they won’t do anything, anyway).
- If you’re moving in a straight line when the cars lose traction, then just keep the steering wheel straight and let off of the gas. Don’t jam on the brakes. Once the tires are able to grab the roadway again, you’ll have control of the vehicle.
- If you’re turning when the tires lose contact, then it’s likely the car will drift further into the turn, and it’s very difficult to correct it. The standard advice is to steer into the skid. Most people will instinctively turn away from the skid in an attempt to counteract it. This doesn’t work when the car is hydroplaning, and the unfortunate result is that as soon as the tires gain traction again, the car will respond to the direction of the steering wheel, and jerk hard, possibly causing loss of control again.
- Check the tread and inflation of your tires. Properly maintained tires provide the added traction you will need on wet roads.
- Before it starts to rain, replace old or brittle wiper blades. Wiper blades are inexpensive and are very easy to change!
- Consider carrying a portable car starter with you. That way, if your battery goes dead you can start your car from inside the vehicle rather than getting out of the car to do a conventional jump start with cables.
Ensure your vehicle is ready for all weather conditions. Stop into Car Care Clinic and get a free 28-point inspection with any oil change.