Most of us will drive in the rain many times throughout our life. However, many people attempt to drive in wet conditions as if it were warm and dry.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are on average more than 900,000 automobile crashes each year due to wet pavement, resulting in approximately 4,400 deaths and 352,000 injuries.
Follow these rainy weather safety tips to help you when driving in the rain:
The first few hours during and after a rainstorm are the most dangerous. The grease and oil from cars produces a film on roads during dry conditions and when it rains, this layer becomes extremely slippery. Drive defensively in the rain and reduce your speed to below the speed limit to prevent the chance of hydroplaning.
When conditions are less than ideal, drivers need to stay alert and focused on what's going on around them.
One primary reason cars collide during rainstorms is because drivers slam on their brakes as if it were dry, but the wet road causes the car to slide forward, often into the rear of another car. Brake gently and early to alert the driver behind you that you are slowing down.
Avoid the Splash
The big splash you get when you drive through a huge puddle can be costly. If water enters the engine compartment of your vehicle, it can damage the internal systems. Drive around large puddles, and avoid running water. Once you have safely passed, tap lightly on your brake pedal to dry off your brake rotors.
Beware of Hydroplaning
If you begin to hydroplane in slick conditions, take your foot off the gas and steer steadily in the direction of the skid. Wait for your car to regain control with the road and either continue with your trip or find a safe place to pull over to recover from the event.
Increase Your Visibility
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. Drive in the middle lane as much as possible to increase visibility and also avoid deep water, which tends to run off to the sides of the road.
Check Your Tire Tread
If your tires have less than 1/16″ of tread remaining, proceed with extra caution when driving in the rain. Tire performance is significantly reduced with the combination of wet roads and little tire tread, which can lead to hydroplaning, especially at high speeds and around turns.
No Cruise Control
Driving in the rain demands an extra level of concentration and less distraction. If the vehicle starts to hydroplane while cruise control is on, drivers may get confused on whether or not to turn it off. Avoid the extra distraction by leaving it disabled.
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