Blue sky driving can be a lot of fun, but driving in rainy, windy or snowy conditions presents some real challenges, even for the most seasoned and experience driver.
Here’s a top ten list of things to do, not to do and remember when driving in heavy rain:
- If you’re uncomfortable driving in rainy weather, especially when rain is heavy with wind, really think about going out at all. It’s not just you who may not be the best driver during these conditions, it’s everyone else out there who may be less certain than you.
- Keep your car or truck in good working order. Change your wiper blades regularly. Worn out or bald tires won’t give you the traction you need to steer or stop on wet roads. Make sure all lights in your car work and replace any that are burned out.
- Now that they all work, turn your headlights on during rainy or snowy weather. In many states, it’s the law to turn your lights on when you use your windshield wipers. You can see better and other drivers can see you better as well.
- USE YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPERS. Most vehicles these days have wipers with variable speeds, so you can adjust them to match the amount of rain that’s falling. Keep the windshield clear of leaves or built up snow.
- Use your defroster and air conditioner to keep windows clear. Rainy conditions mean that the humidity will be high as well. Running the air conditioner and defroster will keep you windshield clear on the inside as well on the outside.
- SLOW DOWN! It’s not a race. It takes longer to stop in rain or snow. So slow down and get to where you’re going.
- Put more space between you and the car ahead of you. Remember that it will take longer for you to slow down and stop in rainy conditions.
- Avoid heavy or “panic” stops. Anticipate the need to stop at a signal or stop sign by taking your foot off the gas and letting the car slow itself down. Stop gradually.
- Watch for standing water on the road. Driving through standing water can flood braking components that will cause your brakes to fail. In some cases, your engine will quit and you’ll not be able to re-start it. Water in the engine can be an expensive repair. Don’t drive through standing water. Try to drive around it or turn around and find another route.
- If you drive through standing water and find that you’ve lost control of your car due to hydroplaning, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go. Don’t slam on your brakes or make sudden turns. Both of those actions can be disastrous.
Finally, DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH RUNNING WATER ACROSS A ROADWAY. It’s doesn’t take much water to wash away or move your car or truck into a stream. As little as six inches of water can float a car and you’ve lost control. It’s nearly impossible to judge how much water is running across a road, especially in low visibility conditions or at night. Remember: TURN AROUND – DON’T DROWN.