The autumn and winter months are among the wettest for much of the United States, so now is a great time to brush up on strategies to stay safe while driving in rainy weather, or while the roads are wet. Here are 8 tips for safe driving in rainy weather that you don’t want to miss.
8 Tips for Safe Driving in Rainy Weather
It only takes 1/12th of an inch of water on the road to cause hydroplaning – and that is at speeds of only 35 miles-per-hour (mph). Imagine how much more likely hydroplaning is when traveling at high rates of speed, such as on highways or interstates. Stay safe while driving in wet weather with these tips:
- Think Ahead
If you are planning to travel, but feel uncomfortable driving in the rain, it may be best to postpone your trip. Anxiety and discomfort can impact your ability to think clearly and drive safely.
- Keep Your Car in Working Order
One of the best ways to stay safe while driving in rainy or wet weather is to keep your car in good working order no matter what. Make sure all lights (headlights, tail lights, blinkers, hazards) are working properly. Keep your windshield wipers changed regularly, and inspect your tire tread routinely.
- Slow Down
This is one of the most important tips for safely driving in rainy weather. In addition to keeping to the posted speed limit, you may also need to slow down further, especially when it is actively raining or foggy.
- Leave Room
Wet roadways can make it more difficult to stop quickly. Leave more room between you and other vehicles to reduce the risk of accidents.
- Avoid Braking Heavily
This tip goes hand-in-hand with leaving more room. When roads are wet, avoid braking heavily, which can cause you to hydroplane, skid, or lose control.
- Avoid Standing Water
It is almost impossible to tell how deep standing water is. You should always avoid standing water, if possible. Standing water can cause hydroplaning or skidding, can kick up water onto windshields, and can potentially contain hazards like construction materials.
- Ventilation is Important
When it rains, especially in warm weather, your car may need more ventilation than what your A/C has to offer. If you find your windows fogging up, pull over and check your vehicle’s settings for fog or defrost. Fog that develops on the inside of the windows can be particularly dangerous as it limits visibility.
- Keep Cruise Control Off
When weather conditions are poor, driving takes even more attention. Keep cruise control off during bad weather. Your hands and feet should always be prepared to react quickly and make decisions. Further, cruise control can be incredibly dangerous if you hydroplane, because it could cause the vehicle to accelerate suddenly.