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How To Drive Safely In The Rain

Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in the United States. From getting your vehicle serviced and prepared for the rains to auto insurance, visit CityOf.com to find the services you and your vehicle need.

By: Sylvia Slezak | Nov 2019

Driving in rainPhoto by csp_sarah_jane

Rainy road conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates. It is almost certain that you will be required to drive your vehicle in the rain at some point, no matter what part of the country you live in. Whether it’s a sprinkle or a heavy downpour, driving in rain can be one of the most difficult driving situations a driver will encounter.

The key to driving safely in rainy conditions is knowing how your vehicle will handle on wet roads and reduced visibility.

Postpone your trip, if possible

There is no reason to put yourself in danger if driving in wet conditions is not necessary. In as much as possible, postpone your trip or commute until weather conditions improve. Perhaps you haven’t driven in this kind of weather before and don’t feel comfortable driving. It’s one thing if you need to get home to your family or you’re already on the road, but otherwise, don’t take chances. When bad weather is in the forecast, many people feel they have to go to the store. The same way as you would stay off the roads in heavy snow, you should stay home in heavy rain.

Know the roads

If you’re new to an area, use extra caution during or after a storm. Roads are built to withstand certain weather conditions in different parts of the country. In many southern states, it can rain and the road can look totally dry, but it’s not. That’s because the asphalt isn’t as compressed. Instead, you will squeegee up the water that’s caught in the road aggregate, and your tires will be wet and slick and you won’t even know it. If your route takes you through low-lying bridge underpasses or past ditches prone to flooding, it might be best to re-route.

Do a pre-trip vehicle inspection

It is wise to do a pre-trip vehicle inspection for the first time each day, and in rainy weather, it is crucial to ensure that your car’s equipment is in working order. Check your headlights, tail lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, and tire treads to make sure they will work efficiently when needed. Rain or no rain, it’s a ticketable offense when operating without signal lights. Balding tires can severely reduce traction on wet roadways, and most states require tires to have a tread depth of at least 2/32″ to stay on the road. Every week you should check the level of your washer fluid. You should also clean the outsides and insides of windshields and windows, and check your windshield wiper blades for wear every month.

Slow down

Wet roads are very dangerous and reduced speed is imperative in rainy weather. Your vehicle’s reaction time is much slower when it is raining. Try to slow your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally would in preparation to slow down or stop. Never use cruise control on wet roads, because if you hydroplane under cruise control, the automatic acceleration can cause you to lose control of your vehicle when your tires regain traction. Leave at least five seconds of following distance between your own car and the one in front, and don’t feel pressure to drive the posted speed limit in the rain.

Turn your headlights on

When using windshield wipers, turn on the actual headlights so that your tail lights come on and identify all four corners of the vehicle for other people to be able to see you. Most states require drivers to turn on their vehicle’s lights while driving in the rain. Even if it is only misting, turning your vehicle’s headlights on will increase both your own visibility and other driver’s ability to see your car on the road.

Use your windshield wipers

Some people forget to turn on their windshield wipers in light rain. Most cars have adjustable windshield wiper speeds to clear moisture from the glass in a light mist or in a heavy downpour. There are also several products available that can be sprayed or wiped onto the glass and claim to defer the collection of rainwater.

Maintain a Safe Distance

Realize that stopping your vehicle will be more difficult when driving in the rain. Maintain a distance of several car lengths between your car and other vehicles.

Watch Out For Standing Water

Hydroplaning can occur when driving through standing water. At that time, your vehicle will lose traction and skid across the surface of the road. To avoid hydroplaning, drive around places where water has collected by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas. If road markings are covered by water, then it’s too deep to drive on. As little as three inches of water can make you lose control of your vehicle. Even if you manage to stay in control, a larger vehicle could push some of that water underneath your car and cause your engine to stall.

Let Off The Gas When Hydroplaning

If your car hydroplanes, calmly take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go. Avoid going too fast, making sudden turns, or slamming on your brakes. Hydroplaning is one of the most common car accidents in the rain because drivers can lose control.

Ventilate your car

You may find that your vehicle’s windows become foggy when you operate your vehicle while it is raining. That is because the rain causes humidity levels to increase. It may be necessary to pull over if you are unable to see through your windows. If your vent system doesn’t help, you can quickly lower the temperature inside your by cracking a window.

Stay safe

Remember that turning on your lights and reducing your speed are two of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing the chances of an accident caused by wet weather.

Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in the United States. From getting your vehicle serviced and prepared for the rains to auto insurance, visit CityOf.com to find the services you and your vehicle need.

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