Driving in Rain Tips
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
It may not be raining now but it’s a good bet that it will start pouring sometime soon – most likely when you’re driving to a picnic.
Driving in the rain tests all of the skills of a driver and often without warning. While it may not seem that way, a light mist can be just as dangerous as a heavy downpour. These driving in rain tips will help you steer through most wet road conditions.
Remember – it’s called a “driving rain” because of its intensity – not because it’s safe for driving!
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10. Slow Down!
Decreasing your speed in the rain increases your safety substantially. That goes double for puddles – speed plus puddles equals hydroplaning, which is like flying in a car and you know how much good the brakes do on a plane when it’s airborne. Rain, puddles and darkness also hide obstacles in the road, which are more difficult to avoid when wet pavement makes stopping distances longer.
9. Avoid Braking
If it’s not an emergency, slow down by taking your foot off the gas pedal first, then downshifting. Tap on the brakes to alert drivers behind you that you’re slowing down. If you need to use the brakes, apply them long before you normally would and use gentle pressure – there’s no longer a need to pump them with today’s anti-lock braking systems.
8. Take The Middle Lane
Road surfaces are slightly higher in the middle lanes so water will run to the curb or shoulder. That means the middle is slightly less wet, but also that there will be more water in the side lanes. Slow down in the curb lanes so you have better traction and don’t accidentally splash pedestrians.
7. Dry Your Brakes After Puddles
If you must drive through puddles or standing water, lightly tap your brakes when you’re out of the water in order to dry the brake rotors – it will help your braking the next time.
6. Low Beams Are Better
Turn your headlights on at the first sight of rain – they will help you see better and warn other drivers that something may be happening. Use low beams in the rain – high beams can blind other drivers, especially when they’re reflected through rain drops.
5. Stay Off The Cruise Control
The most important safety feature in your car on a rainy day is YOU, so be in complete control and leave off the cruise control. Besides taking away the ability to slow down by lifting your foot off the gas pedal, cruise control will actually cause the car to accelerate in hydroplaning conditions.
4. Keep Your Wipers In Good Condition
Dry, brittle windshield wipers do a poor job of cleaning water from your windshield, and right in the middle of a sudden downpour is not the time you want to discover this. Clean and inspect the wipers frequently and replace them often – it’s a minor expense that can prevent major accidents.
3. Oil, Water And Driving Don’t Mix
Roads are always covered with a thin, invisible layer of motor oil and tire residue. A fine mist can cause this oily residue to become slick and slippery, especially at intersections or other places where cars stop and start frequently. Don’t be fooled by light rain or a lack of shine in the road – assume it’s slick and slow down.
2. Stay On The Road
If you must turn or swerve to avoid debris or other road hazards, try to stay on the road. Medians, shoulders and lawns can be soft and getting stuck puts you in added danger of getting hit by other vehicles. If traffic is at a standstill, don’t drive over medians or grassy areas to get around – you could be mired in mud waiting for a winch long after traffic starts moving again.
1. Pull Over And Wait It Out
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Storms don’t last forever and many are over faster than you’d expect. Rather than drive under stress or risk an accident, pull over to a dry area or a rest stop and wait until conditions improve. Sometimes the safest driving is not driving at all.
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