According to the US Department of Transportation, of the 1.25 million weather-related crashes each year, 73% occur on wet pavement and 46% happen during rainfall.
If you find yourself caught driving in heavy rain, here are some simple tips you’ll want to follow.
See and Be Seen
We all know that safety starts before you drive, and your goal should be to see and be seen on the road. Start by making sure your windshield wipers are good and your lights work.
- Once your windshield wipers leave streaks and cannot clear your view in a single swipe, it’s time to replace them.
- Make sure all your brake lights, taillights, headlights, and turn signals are properly functioning so that other drivers will see you during storms.
Be Careful Around Large Puddles
If you come across a large puddle, do not drive straight through it. As much as you are able, try to drive around it. Sometimes it is very hard to tell how deep a puddle is just by looking at it. And if you drive over a puddle you risk accidentally hitting a deep pothole or splashing water up into the car’s electrical system and causing your car to stall.
Check Your Tires
When it’s raining, breaking can take up to 4x the normal distance. If your tread is worn, tires have a tendency to hydroplane/aquaplane or skid over the surface of the road with little or no traction. The best way to maintain good traction on wet roadways is to have proper tire tread depth and inflation.
- One easy way is the penny test. Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.
- Don’t forget to check each tire’s pressure, including the spare, at least once a month.
Regaining Control During Hydroplaning
Even careful and experienced drivers can hydroplane. By using effective skid-control maneuvers and a calm approach you can easily regain control of your vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation, use the following steps to recover:
- Continue to look at the road.
- Take your foot off of the accelerator.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although putting your foot on the brake is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
- Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- Then wait till you feel the tire’s treads reconnect with the road.
- Feel free to pull off to the side of the road if you need to take a moment to calm down.
- Driving during heavy downpour increases your risk of an accident. You can maximize your driving safety by being aware of the road conditions, reducing your speed appropriately, and being prepared for challenging situations. And by following the guidelines outlined in this blog, you are well on your way to driving safely in the heavy rain.