Driving in heavy rain can be more hazardous than many people realize – causing skids, hydroplaning, and slick roads. It can be tough to maintain control of your vehicle when roadways are wet, but these tips can help you stay safer.

  1. Don’t drive if you don’t have to: In a torrential downpour – especially if there’s flooding – it is often better to stay where you are. If possible, wait until the worst has passed before you hit the road.
  2. Slow down: Rain means longer travel times. Traffic will be moving slower, and you’ll need to drive more slowly and carefully. Hydroplaning most often occurs when vehicles are driving too fast, so slowing down is essential. Take extra care to slow down when the rain just starts. Even a light sprinkle can cause oil already on the roadway to surface, making conditions very slick.
  3. Never use cruise control in wet conditions: Cruise control in wet weather can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Drivers must remain fully engaged in wet weather, including reducing speed by easing off the accelerator to prevent traction loss… something not possible in cruise control.
  4. Turn on your defroster: Avoid windshield fogging that can interfere with visibility by turning on your front and rear defrosters.
  5. Give extra room to other vehicles: Always maintain a safe following distance but be extra careful to give vehicles in front of you plenty of room. That way, you’ll have more time to react. Watch carefully for brake lights.
  6. Turn your lights on: If your windshield wipers are on, your lights should be, too. Headlights help increase visibility during rain and make it easier for others to see you, helping avoid potential collisions.
  7. Avoid hard braking: Use your brakes as little as possible, taking extra care to avoid hard braking, if possible. Slow down, give others room, and take your foot off the accelerator fast enough so you won’t have to slam on the brakes.
  8. Avoid sudden movements: Gently steer, brake and accelerate on wet roads.
  9. Stay away from areas prone to flooding: Know which roads are likely to flood and take a different route if you’re experiencing heavy rains.
  10. Turn around, don’t drown: Driving into flooded areas can be dangerous, deadly even. Driving on a flooded road can cause your car to float and take on water. It can even be washed away, with you in it! Don’t risk it. Check for depth gauges and know your local roads. If you’re not sure how deep the water is, turn around and find another way.
  11. Never drive off-road during rain: Rain creates puddles… ones that may be much deeper than they seem. Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the bottom.
  12. Know how to handle a skid: If your car begins to skid, don’t panic. Continue to steer in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming on your brakes, which makes controlling your vehicle more difficult.
  13. Be calm if you’re hydroplaning: If your car starts to hydroplane, gently ease your foot off the gas and avoid steering. Just slow down and hold on until your vehicle regains contact with the road.
  14. Drive in another vehicle’s tracks: Make it easy for your tires to handle the water and see what’s up ahead by following in the tracks of a vehicle ahead of you. Just remember to give them plenty of space.
  15. Avoid large trucks and buses: The spray created by large tires can reduce your visibility, so steer clear of them, whenever possible.
  16. Be ready for gusty winds: Rain often brings wind, which can push your car and others around on the road or cause you to lose control. Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel and give a wide berth to other vehicles, which may be more susceptible to wind. Stay focused, you could be hit with strong gusts.
  17. Watch for pedestrians: Take care not to splash pedestrians. Avoid puddles along roadways where people may be walking parallel to the road.
  18. Drive in the middle lanes: Water tends to pool more in outside lanes, so stick to the middle, if possible.
  19. Check your tires: Make sure you have a good tire tread, and that your tire pressure is correct – it’s critical for maintaining traction and staying safe.
  20. Check lights and windshield wipers: Windshield wipers are meant to clear away water quickly, so watch for streaks and replace them as soon as they stop functioning properly. As previously noted, lights give you and others better visibility. Make sure everything is in working order.
  21. Pull over if it’s really bad: If you can’t see cars in front of you or are having difficulty controlling your vehicle, simply pull over and wait for the rain to slow down.

Source: DefensiveDriving.org

Article by Black Car News

Black Car News provides breaking news, editorial, and information to drivers, owners, and other key players in the New York City for-hire vehicle industry.

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