Spring is here, and we all know what that means. Rain, rain and more rain! Driving in the rain can be just as dangerous as driving in the snow, so to make it easier we put together some tips to keep you safe when the rain comes down while you’re behind the wheel.
- Slow Down! Ok we’re stating the obvious, but slowing down is the easiest thing you can do. Decreasing your speed and increasing following distance will give you more time to spot and react to rainy road conditions, and other vehicles.
- Stay Focused. To avoid getting into an accident, keep your awareness high and pay attention to your driving, and only your driving! Turn off the radio and your cell phone, and tell passengers to keep the noise level down- getting rid of all of these distractions will keep you more focused on the road.
- Stay out of blind spots. Besides the risk of other drivers not seeing you, if you end up in the blind spot of a vehicle you may get sprayed with rain from their tires and reduce your vision of the road.
- Watch for flooding. If you start heading into an area that has been flooded, the best precaution is to simply avoid it. Hydro-planing or flooding your vehicle can result in a dangerous accident, and permanent damage to your vehicle! Look for a different route to take if you come across a water-filled area.
- Watch out for troughs. Low areas, or troughs, are the first to collect water when it rains. If you spot a trough on the road where water has accumulated, steer around it just a few inches. Be sure to check for other drivers around you before doing so!
- Correct skidding in a calm manner. If your vehicle starts to lose control, take your foot off of the accelerator first! Then, turn the steering wheel in the same direction that the back of your vehicle is moving- for example, if the rear end is fishtailing to the right, turn to the right. Pause for a moment to allow your vehicle to react to your steering, then turn the wheel in the opposite direction. This technique is known as CPR (Correction – Pause – Recovery), and will help you regain control of the car. Always stay calm when trying to correct skidding, don’t brake and don’t over correct!
- Don’t use cruise control. If you have the cruise control on, it could work against you when driving in the rain. Having your cruise set at a certain speed may cause your car to react to hydroplaning by speeding up, rather than slowing down.
- Brake sooner. Braking on a wet road will take longer than usual, so start to slow down sooner than you normally would. Slow down before you get to a turn by taking your foot off the gas pedal, and braking while the wheels are in a neutral straight position; then take the corner slowly. If you break while your wheels are turned, you increase your chances of spinning!
- Give your tires some love. Tires with low pressure can increase your vehicle’s chances of hydroplaning. Check the pressure in your tires regularly and make sure they are properly inflated.
- Maintain your vehicle. You don’t want to find out that you need new windshield wipers when you hit a downpour! Bring your car in for regular maintenance, and replace wiper blades at least once a year.
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