If you’re out on the road in the rain, you need to take your safety precautions to the next level. Whether you’re making a quick trip 10 minutes away or you’re in the middle of a long journey, rain is one of the most common and dangerous conditions you can run across. After all, 74% of weather related crashes occur on wet pavement and 46% of them occurred while it was raining.
With this in mind, take a look at our top 8 tips for driving safely in the rain:
- Always Be Prepared for Rain A prepared driver takes good care of their vehicle and fixes problems as quickly as possible. When it comes to rain, you never know when it’s going to arrive. That means you should make sure your windshield wipers are always in good condition. Making sure your lights are working is also important in general, but especially for when it rains. Because rain often reduces visibility, drivers rely on being able to see other’s lights to keep track of traffic on the road. Finally, take good care of your tires. Check to make sure they have good tread and are inflated properly. This will help make sure you don’t lose traction in the rain.
- Change Your Attitude If you drive a lot, you may get in the bad habit of going on autopilot. While you should always be alert and careful while driving, you really need to be aware when it’s raining. When it starts raining, try to snap out of your driving routine and pay extra attention to what’s going on around you.
- Slow Down Speed limits are designed based on optimal conditions: meaning a dry road and little traffic. When it’s raining, stopping takes longer, visibility diminishes and things get a bit more unpredictable. To account for this, it’s best to slow down and go below the speed limit.
- Turn Lights On Although you might feel like you can see just fine, you also have to remember that other cars need to see you. To help with visibility for everyone on the road, make sure you turn on your headlights. This will help both oncoming cars and the cars behind you see where you are.
- Give More Space On the highway, you may have heard the 3 second rule. It means you should leave 3 seconds of space between the car ahead of you and yourself. You can count it by watching the car ahead of you go past a mile marker and counting how many seconds it takes you to pass the same marker. In the rain, it takes longer for cars to stop, meaning that you should leave more space between your car and the car ahead of you. Leave at least 2 more seconds following time to avoid rear-ending the car in front of you if they slow or stop. Of course in more urban settings, you won’t use the 3 second rule because you shouldn’t be going that fast. But still, leave plenty of space just in case the car in front of you stops suddenly.
- Turn Off Cruise Control If you’re on the highway and have your cruise control on, turn it off when it starts to rain. This feature, while great for giving yourself a break in dry conditions, means you have less control when it rains. In the event that you begin to lose traction, you can lift your foot off the accelerator to help slow down. But, if cruise control is on, you don’t have this option.
- Know What to Do if You Hydroplane Hydroplaning is when your tires make more traction with water than with the surface of the road, creating a dangerous skidding and sliding sensation. Despite what you might believe, it can also happen at fairly low speeds, at just above 35 miles per hour. The rain doesn’t have to be that deep either, experts say. What should you do if you feel like you’re losing control? Keep steering in the direction you want to go and lay off the accelerator. Avoid braking suddenly or wildly changing your steering which will make matters worse.
- Know When to Wait it Out Sometimes in very heavy rain the safest thing to do is to pull over and wait. If you can barely see the car in front of you or the parameters of the road and your lane, it’s best if you find a rest stop, or in an extreme case, opt for the side of the road. Just put your flashers on and stay put until the rain subsides.
Rain can create some dangerous road conditions, but if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to handle it with ease. Safe driving is important not only for yourself and your passengers, but also for the other cars around you. So, remember to be cautious and take the necessary steps for driving safely in the rain so that you arrive at your destination safe and sound.
Stuck on the roadside? Whether you have a flat tire, break down or have run out of gas, NK Towing can help. Give us a call for 24 hour service.