4 Important Wet Weather Driving Safety Tips You Should Know
Interestingly, when rain begins to fall, some drivers seem to throw caution to the wind and operate their vehicles in a manner opposite to how they should. Case in point, we’ve all seen drivers in wet-weather conditions speed, tailgate, and not signal as they turn right or left. And, that is a recipe for disaster on the open road.
While you can’t do much about how the other guys drive in wet weather, you can do what you can to reduce your chances of a crash when driving in the rain. Not only can it help prevent your vehicle from sustaining unnecessary damage, but it can also keep you from having to make that dreaded phone call to your car insurance adjuster.
Start by Making a Few Safety Checks
Of course, you want to start by making a few safety checks of your vehicle before the first sign of rain. This includes replacing windshield wipers so you won’t have to deal with streaks or wipers that just make matters worse.
You also don’t want to take your tires for granted. Inspect the tread depth and inflation pressure before hitting the road – or the road may not be the only thing you hit. Without good traction, you could lose control of your vehicle or be unable to stop in time should traffic suddenly stop or you come upon an object in the roadway.
Double check your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals to make sure all are functioning properly. You can become extremely hard to see in a downpour, so making your presence known is important when visibility is low. This includes driving with your headlights on for added safety.
The following are four important wet-weather driving safety tips you should know:
- Don’t Use Cruise Control
We’ve all become used to setting our cruise control when we drive. However, while this feature works marvelously under dry road conditions, in wet weather, you can greatly increase your odds of losing control of your vehicle – not to mention, adding substantially to your braking distance where every foot is critical.
Whenever you’re faced with wet weather, avoid the cruise control. You’ll have a better feel for the road and be more prepared to react to a potential hazard as well as regulating your speed to keep from losing traction unexpectedly on the wet pavement.
- Reduce Your Speed and Don’t Tailgate
While reducing your speed seems like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how many drivers don’t heed this simple advice. Regardless of road conditions they refuse to slow down in wet weather to reduce their chances of hydroplaning. Even with fairly new tires you could still lose traction in as little as 1/12 of an inch of water.
Furthermore, leave enough distance between your vehicle and the driver ahead of you so you have ample room to stop should you need to. In other words – Don’t Tailgate! This means adding an extra car length or two more than you normally would on dry pavement. And, avoid hard-braking and turning the steering wheel sharply.
- Reacting to a Skid
The first thing you shouldn’t do – is panic. Keep your head and react accordingly by knowing what to do, if your vehicle begins to go into a skid. For example:
- Immediately pick out a distant visual target and keep your eyes focused on that target. Hopefully, there are no other vehicles in your path.
- Steer into the skid and continue to steer into the direction you want your vehicle to go. Do not slam on the brakes as this will only make matters worse.
- If your skid is a rear tire skid, accelerate slightly to transfer weight to the rear of the car. And, simultaneously steer in the direction of the skid.
- If your skid is a front wheel skid, ease off the gas and gently apply the brakes to transfer weight forward to help you regain traction.
- Avoid Using Your Cellphone
In dry or wet-weather conditions you should avoid using your cellphone for any purpose. But, this is even more critical in the rain. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wet pavement contributes to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year.
So, the choice is yours – you can either follow these few safety tips or you can take your chances on the open road and the wet pavement.
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