Most of us will have to drive in the rain many times in our lives. Many people attempt driving in the rain as if the conditions were warm and dry, when everything is actually wet and slick. This attitude could be costly, or even deadly.
Stay Safe Driving in the Rain & Driving On Wet Roads
1) Go Slow.
We know, we know, you have been driving for years and you know what you are doing. The fact is, though, that if you really did know what you were doing, you would realize that the first few hours during and after a rainstorm are the most dangerous. This is because all of the grease and oil from cars creates a film on the road during dry conditions and then when it rains, this layer gets wet and extremely slippery. Slow down to accommodate the slick conditions…and to drive defensively against all those other drivers who also think they can drive at top speed because they know what they are doing.
2) Break Cautiously.
One of the primary reasons that cars collide with each other during rainstorms is the fact that drivers tend to slam on their brakes as if it were dry, but the wet road causes the car to slide forward, often right into the rear of another car. Brake earlier than you normally would and do it gently to notify the person behind you that you are slowing down.
3) No Swimming.
Sure, the big splash that happens when you drive through a huge puddle is fun and the kids might like it. However, what does not like it is your car. If water gets up into the engine compartment, the water can damage the internal systems. In addition, you are not a stunt driver and this is not a cool SUV commercial – if you are stuck in running water during a flood, you are literally going to be stuck in the rain with no car. Avoid the temptation, drive around large puddles, and avoid running water. Once you have passed safely, lightly tap your brake pedal to dry off your rotors.
4) Go With The Flow.
If you decided that you really are a stunt car driver and start to hydroplane in the slick conditions, (we did warn you, after all), take your foot off the gas. Put your foot on the brakes firmly and steadily and steer in the direction of the skid. Wait for the car to come to a complete stop before you attempt to readjust yourself in the right direction.
5) Increase Your Visibility.
When it is raining, turn on your low beam headlights whether it is state law or not. This helps other cars see you, which helps everyone stay safe. Stay in the middle lane as much as possible to see what is going around and let others see you. This also helps you stay out of some of the deeper water, which tends to run off to the side.
6) Check the Depth of Your Tire Tread.
If you are driving on tires with less than 1/16″ of trend remaining, then proceed with extra caution when driving in the rain. The performance of a tire is significantly reduced with the combination of wet roads and little tire tread remaining and can lead to hydroplaning especially at high speeds and around turns. Get your tires replaced quickly.
And with that, you will be able to drive safely in the rain. Remember that your top priority is to reach your destination safely and help keep your fellow drivers safe as well.