During the hot summer days, a brisk walk in the rain can feel very refreshing, even if it’s only for a moment. When the sun sets, and a cool breeze ushers in an evening thunderstorm, a pleasant rain can be the perfect companion as you watch from your back porch.
However, when the clouds begin to separate and the flood gates open, you don’t want to be anywhere near the action. You most certainly don’t want to be trapped in your car driving along the highway. But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of choosing where you’ll be during a rainstorm. Take the time to commit these 5 rainy day driving tips to memory to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Flip on Those Headlights
First and foremost, immediately turn on your headlights as soon as you notice those first drops of rain hit your windshield. It is a law in all states that headlights must be turned on as soon as visibility is compromised. In some states, it is required that headlights be on whenever the wipers are in use.
Be Aware of Unsuspecting Puddles
Standing water can be very deceptive, especially when traveling at high speeds. Driving through these bodies of water at high speeds can cause your vehicle to hydroplane. Hydroplaning is when your tires lose contact or traction with the road. When your vehicle hydroplanes, it starts to slide uncontrollably and becomes very difficult to steer.
Since hydroplaning is something that can easily happen, it’s important to be aware of where you are driving along the road. Rainwater builds up along the shoulder of many roads so make sure to stay a safe distance from the right edge of the driving lane. Wear and tear on your tires will increase the chances of hydroplaning as well.
It is important to always drive defensively but its a must in order to remain safe while on the road during a rainstorm. Driving defensively involves being aware of all vehicles around you, being extra cautious when merging with oncoming traffic, and always being alert in order to react quickly. Drivers can be unpredictable, so anticipating the worst possible scenario can truly save your life.
Avoid Using Cruise Control
It may seem like a smart idea to allow your vehicle to accelerate as you concentrate on steering through the traffic and the rain. But giving away any amount of control while driving in the rain can actually backfire. If your vehicle begins to hydroplane while in cruise control, it will actually accelerate in order to maintain the predetermined speed thereby causing to you lose control.
Maintain Slower Speeds
Last but certainly not least, keep your vehicle at a moderate speed. You don’t want to go so slow that you create unnecessary traffic but even going the speed limit is perhaps still too fast. Maintain a comfortable speed that allows you the most reaction time and the greatest visibility. If the rain increases, it’s always a good idea to put on your hazard lights and significantly lower your speed.
It is never a good idea to approach driving in the rain the same way you would on a clear day. There are too many variables involved to take the risk. Be on guard and arrive at your destination safely.