Rain Driving

Rain Driving:  9 tips and tricks for driving in the rain.

April showers bring May flowers and unfortunately wet driving conditions. Millions of Americans are thrilled the long winter is over and antsy to hit the road for some warm weather fun.  Unfortunately, with the warm weather will come wet driving.   Driving in the rain can be just as anxiety-producing as driving in the snow.  The U.S. Department of Transportation estimate that there are approximately 707,000 automobile crashes each year due to rain, resulting in 3,300 deaths and 330, 200 injuries.  As you prepare to drive again this spring, we want to make sure you are ready for your journey and arrive safely at your destination. 

Rain Driving Tip 1:  Drive with dry shoes.

If you do not have a garage, your sneakers may very well be wet when you begin to drive in the rain .  As a result, your shoes are likely to slip off the pedals.  Scuff the bottom of your shoes on the rug of your car (it can be either the rubber matting or the carpeting).  This will give the bottom of your shoe traction against the pedal.

Rain Driving Tip 2:  Check your tires.

You never want to drive with deflated tires, but when driving in the rain it is especially important to make sure that your tires are filled with the correct amount of pressure.  If you are not sure what the correct tire pressure is, the number can be found either on the door edge, glove box or fuel door of your vehicle.  It can also be found in the owner’s manual.  Remember, the number on the side of your tire is NOT the recommended amount of pressure, but the maximum amount of pressure for your tire.  It is also recommended that you check the depth of your tire’s treads.  Appropriate tread depth will help prevent skids and hydroplaning.

Rain Driving Tip 3:  Stop driving.

When you are caught in a rainstorm, and it feels like you are driving through a waterfall, don’t be afraid to pull over and stop driving.  Sometimes rain becomes so heavy that your windshield wipers cannot clear the water in time.  If you cannot see the road, or other vehicles, it is time for you to pull over in a rest area and wait for the storm to pass.  Do not wait too long to do this, as pulling over can be challenging in the middle of a down pour.  It is not ideal to stop in the roadway, but if you must, make sure you keep your headlights on and also turn on your blinking hazard warning lights so that drivers around you are alerted.

Rain Driving Tip 4:  Turn on headlights.

You may be lucky enough to drive a vehicle that has the “always-on” headlights feature.  If you do not, it is a good practice to keep your headlights on all the time while driving…rain or shine.  Most states in the U.S. require drivers to turn on their lights when visibility is below 1000 feet, yet there is still an alarming amount of people who do not do this.  The best way to ensure that other drivers will see you (and therefore will not pull out in front you) is to turn your headlights on whenever driving in bad weather or reduced visibility conditions.

Rain Driving Tip 5:  Think.

Have you ever driven home, only to arrive at your house without remembering the drive?  You are not alone.  It is very important, especially in unfavorable driving conditions, to adjust your thinking and make sure you are alert to what is going on around you.  Watch out for fatigue when driving, especially in rainy weather.

Rain Driving Tip 6:  Slow down.

This may seem obvious, but many drivers do not slow down enough in hazardous driving conditions, and as a result they are involved in a car accident.  Remember, speed limits are designated speeds for perfect driving conditions.  If you are driving the speed limit in hazardous driving conditions, consider yourself driving too fast.  Driving at a slower pace also allows more of the tire to make contact with the road, which will allow for better traction.

Rain Driving Tip 7:  Understand hydroplaning.

It’s very easy to hydroplane, and if you have been driving on the roads for a while, chances are you’ve had this unpleasant experience.  It only takes 1/12th of an inch of rain on the road and a speed of 35 mph to hydroplane.  DefensiveDriving.com provides an informative educational video on hydroplaning.  Click on the image below to watch the video.

Rain Driving Tip 8:  Dry your brakes.

Makes sure that you dry your brakes if you have driven through standing water that is deep enough to get your break shoes wet.  To dry your breaks, apply your breaks lightly.

Rain Driving Tip 9:  Drive in tracks.

It is safest when driving in the rain to drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.  Even though you are driving in the tracks, be sure not to tail the person in front and allow greater distance between you and the car ahead.  Avoid sudden stops and turns.


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