Even with the reduced visibility and traction that comes with wet weather driving, many accidents are preventable. Below we provide some recommendations on how to lessen some of the risks brought about by rainy day driving.
Rainy Weather Driving Safety
- Think. When conditions are less than ideal, drivers need to stay alert and focused on what’s going on around them.
- Turn on your headlights. It’s the law in all states to turn headlights on when visibility is low, and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use.
- Beware of hydroplaning. That’s the technical term for what occurs when your tires are getting more traction on the layer of water on the road than on the road itself—the result is that your car begins to slide uncontrollably. It’s easy enough 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 you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator slowly and steer straight until you regain control.
- Turn off cruise control. Ironically, on rain 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.
- Slow down. Speed limit signs are designed for ideal conditions. That’s hardly the environment you’re driving in when it’s raining, so let up on the accelerator and allow more time to get to your destination.
- Back off: Forget the old rule about keeping a certain number of car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.Focus on staying 3-4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you in dry conditions. Add more time if it’s raining, staying about 5 seconds behind.