8 Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain
A rainy day can put a damper on a lot of things – including ideal driving conditions. Whether it’s a light sprinkle or a total downpour, rain can lead to reduced visibility and slippery roads. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 70 percent of weather-related crashes are caused by wet pavement.
The good news is that being prepared and following a few simple tips can help you stay prepared and keep you safe during your travels, no matter the weather!
1. Turn on your headlights
It’s important to turn your headlights on whenever visibility is low. In fact, many states (including New York) require that your headlights be on when the windshield wipers are in use. This will help you see better and also help other drivers see you.
2. Use your windshield wipers
This one probably seems obvious, but many people forget to turn on their windshield wipers in light rain. It’s important to put your wipers on whenever it’s raining. Also, be sure to replace your windshield wipers whenever they start to wear down. They’re inexpensive to replace and many auto stores will offer to help you install them!
3. Keep a firm grip on the wheel
Keeping a firm hold on the wheel will help you if a strong gust of wind blows and begins to push your car around.
4. Be wary of hydroplaning and know how to handle it
Hydroplaning is when standing water on the road causes you to lose traction and can lead to severe skidding. Avoid hydroplaning by safely steering around areas where water has collected. If your car begins to hydroplane, carefully take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that your front wheels are heading. This will help keep your car from skidding.
5. Avoid heavy braking
Wet roads are often slippery and braking suddenly or heavily can cause your car to slide. Slow your vehicle gradually by easing your foot off the accelerator and slowly braking.
6. Keep a safe distance between yourself and other cars.
For reasons like hydroplaning, it’s important to leave room between yourself and other vehicles. This also includes giving yourself extra time to approach intersections and turns. Remember the four-second rule!
7. Avoid cruise control
In any kind of difficult weather, it’s important to maintain full control of your vehicle. Rainy conditions may call for you to adjust your speed, which you’re unable to do when using cruise control. Pro tip: Only use cruise control on sunny, dry days.
8. Take your time
Above all else, take a deep breath and take your time. As you head out the door to your car, recognize that it may take you longer to get where you are going and remember to be patient.