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10 Tips for Driving in the Rain

 

10 Tips for Driving in the Rain

Crashing lightning and heavy downpours can cause major hazards on the road, but did you know even a light drizzle or foggy weather can increase your chance for an accident?

As a driver, it’s important to know how to drive in the rain. Even if you live in an area that rarely sees wet weather, knowing what to do when roads are wet can help you stay safe if you get stuck in a rainstorm. Follow these ten essential tips for driving in the rain to lower your risk of an accident on gloomy days.

 

1. Avoid Bald Tires

Keeping your tires in good repair is part of basic car maintenance, but it’s especially important if the road is wet. As you drive, the tread on your tires wears down over time. The less tread on your tires, the less grip they have on the road. A tire with little to no tread left is known as a bald tire.

Bald tires are prone to sliding and spinning as you drive because they can’t get traction on the road’s surface. Once you add water to the road, bald tires become more dangerous than before. Regularly check the tread on your tires to make sure you have adequate tread depth for safe driving..

 

2. Don’t Use Cruise Control

Cruise control and wet roads don’t mix. You want to make sure you’re alert the entire time you’re driving in wet weather. If you use cruise control, you may find your mind wandering and not paying enough attention to the road.

Using cruise control in rain can also increase your chances of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when your car skims over the top of a wet road and you lose control. The water creates a barrier between the road surface and your tires, leaving you without traction.

 

3. Turn Headlights On

It’s a good idea to turn on your headlights in bad weather, regardless of whether or not it’s currently raining. Your headlights make your vehicle more visible to other drivers and pedestrians. Headlights also increase your ability to see the road and those around you.

Some cars have daytime running lights that automatically come on when the car is on. In rainy or foggy weather, you’ll want to switch from running lights to headlights. Turning on your headlights also engages your taillights, which don’t come on with running lights. Taillights make it easier for cars behind you to see you when the weather is bad.

 

4. Know How to Handle Hydroplaning

You can hydroplane anytime there is standing water on the road. In fact, it doesn’t take much water to cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Your chances of hydroplaning also increase after a dry spell, as oil collects on the dry roadway and creates slick spots when moisture hits.

If you start to hydroplane, follow these steps:

  • Don’t panic, most hydroplanes last only a few moments.
  • Ease your foot off the gas, but do not brake. Braking can cause your tires to lock up and your car to spin out.
  • Focus on driving forward and avoid making turns. You’ll probably feel a slight jerk when your car regains traction.

 

5. Get Rid of Foggy Windows

Moisture in your car’s cabin leads to foggy windows and low visibility. Avoid driving with foggy windows by opening a window or using the defrost setting on your climate control to remove the fog. If you find yourself with foggy windows while driving, you can use these methods as well. Remember to pull over and wait until you can see again if foggy windows make it hard to see out of your windshield.

Moisture in your car’s cabin leads to foggy windows and low visibility. Avoid driving with foggy windows by opening a window or using the defrost setting on your climate control to remove the fog. If you find yourself with foggy windows while driving, you can use these methods as well. Remember to pull over and wait until you can see again if foggy windows make it hard to see out of your windshield.

 

6. Use Your Windshield Wipers

Your car’s windshield wipers are designed to keep moisture off the center of your windshield so you have open visibility. Turn on your windshield wipers as soon as it starts raining to give yourself the best range of sight. Use the highest setting you need to feel comfortable while driving in the rain. It’s better to have your windshield wipers going faster than you need to keep water off your windshield than it is to have them too low and lose visibility between wipes.

Make sure you keep your windshield wipers in good condition. Check them regularly, such as when you stop for gas, to make sure they’re not brittle or cracked. As windshield wipers age, the rubber edges that push water off your windshield start to crack and flake. This can cause wipers to no function properly, leaving you with streaks of water or pieces of rubber on your windshield that make it difficult to see.

 

7. Slow Down

Always take your time when driving in wet weather. Going too fast when it’s raining can cause you to hydroplane. In addition, water on the road makes it harder to stop quickly. Reduce your speed in the rain, especially when making turns. However, do keep attention on the speed of the cars around you. Remember to refrain from unnecessary braking.

 

8. Stay Out of the Water

If you come across standing or running water on the roadway, never try to cross it in your vehicle. Although cars are large, heavy objects, it only takes about a foot of water to float most vehicles. You’re likely to lose control of your vehicle at only six inches of water.

Drive slowly if you must go through an area of standing water. Should the water reach the bottom of your car doors, turn around and look for an alternative route. While you may not get swept away, water entering your car’s engine and mechanical systems can cause serious damage.

 

9. Add Distance Between Cars

As a defensive driver, you should keep an eye on how much room you have between your car and other drivers. This becomes more important when the road is wet. You won’t be able to stop your car as quickly on a wet road than you can on a dry road. In fact, braking hard on a wet road often leads to sliding, causing more harm than good. Reduce your risk of collision by adding more distance than usual between your vehicle and other cars.

 

10. Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions

When the rain starts to come down, it’s important that you’re not driving distracted. In addition to staying off your phone and avoiding other activities while driving, keep your eyes open for potential hazards on the road. If you’re approaching an intersection, for example, take a look and see if there are other vehicles approaching from the crossroad. Be aware of how fast they’re moving so you can plan to stop quickly or avoid the other cars if they can’t stop properly.

 

Be Ready for Any Weather

Taking precautions, slowing down and staying alert can help you stay safe when driving in the rain. You should also make sure your car insurance coverage is up to date before you need to drive in wet weather. This helps you be prepared in case of an accident caused by the rain.

 

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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