Spring is right around the corner and regardless of what area of the country you live in, that means rain and lots of it. Driving in rain, whether it’s just sprinkling or torrential downpours can be tricky. Follow these five tips to make sure you remain safe in all weather!
- Slow down- Speed limit signs are posted and designed for ideal conditions, not the conditions during rainstorms. So, slow down, let up on the accelerator and allow yourself more time to get to your destination.
- Focus on the road - When conditions are less than ideal, stay alert and focused on what's going on around you. Pay attention to other drivers and be extra cautious when merging lanes or passing.
- Turn on those headlights & wipers- It's the law in all states to turn on headlights when visibility is low, and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use. Make sure your lights, as well as wipers, are working correctly and doing their job.
- Beware of hydroplaning-Hydroplaning is when your tires lose traction with the road due to excess water on top of the road. The result is that your vehicle begins to slide uncontrollably. It's easy to hydroplane: all you need is one-twelfth of an inch of rain on the road and a speed of more than 35 miles per hour. If your tires have extensive wear and tear, you are more highly likely to hydroplane. You can hydroplane even if you are driving a four-wheel-drive car, SUV, or truck. If you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator (gas pedal) slowly, and steer straight until you regain control. If your car starts to spin, turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning, slowly. Do not turn your wheel against the direction it has begun to spin. Do not jerk the wheel sharply in one direction or the other, as you could flip your car due to overcorrection. Consider taking a driving course through your local DMV to learn how to drive safer on wet roads and better avoid hydroplaning.
- Turn off cruise control-Ironically, on rain- or snow- slick surfaces, cruise control may cause you to lose control. You might think it'll help you stay at one steady speed, but if you hydroplane while you're in cruise control, your car will actually go faster so you need to be in complete control of your car at all times instead of using cruise control.