There are all kinds of safety precautions drivers should take before hitting the road in rainy weather, but nothing is more important than the simplest mantra: Slow down.
When you’re driving in the rain, your goal should be to see and be seen. Replace windshield wiper inserts that leave streaks, make sure all lights and turn signals are properly functioning and turn on your headlights whenever you drive.
Proper tire tread depth and inflation are imperative to maintaining good traction on wet roadways. Check tread depth with a quarter inserted upside down into the tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head, start shopping for new tires. Check each tire’s pressure, including the spare, at least once a month… and be sure to check the pressure when the tires are cold.
Avoid Cruise Control
Cruise control works great in dry conditions, but in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase. To prevent loss of traction, we recommend reducing the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged.
When driving in wet-weather conditions, it is important to concentrate fully on every aspect of driving. Avoiding cruise control will give the driver more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss-of-traction situation, maximizing driver safety.
Slow Down and Leave Room
At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway. To reduce chances of hydroplaning, drivers should slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.
Also, it’s important for motorists to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them and beginning to slow down to stop for intersections, turns and other traffic early.
Responding to a Skid
Even careful drivers can experience skids. If a driver feels their car begin to skid, it’s important to not panic and follow these basic steps:
- Continue to look and steer in the direction in which you want the car to go.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes to maintain control.
Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you. Also, do these things one-at-a-time. Brake, then turn, then accelerate.