The amount of rain we have can make for hazardous driving conditions with slick roadways, reduced visibility and longer drive times. When the rain begins to fall, remember how to keep yourself safe if you must drive.
By taking precautions, you can remain in control of your vehicle even in dire situations. Take your time, be patient and pull over if conditions are bad enough.
Car Proof has a few tips that can help keep you safer:
First and foremost, slow down! By reducing your speed, you’ll have more time to react if another car loses control or you encounter a deep spot of water. You’re more likely to lose control yourself if you are driving too fast.
When you know you’ll be driving in rainy conditions, allow for extra travel time from your reduced driving speed and traffic generally moving slower. Be patient.
Turn on your headlights if your windshield wipers are on. It’s not just a safety tip, it’s Louisiana law! Your headlights help you see better and allow other motorists to see you better. However, avoid using your high beams.
If it hasn’t rained for a while, then keep in mind that the road could be extra slippery from accumulated engine oil and grease buildup. When they combine with rain, they create a slick covering on the road that takes a little time to wash away.
If you come across a large or deep puddle, don’t drive straight through it. Try to drive around it (but be cautious of other vehicles or curbs) or turn around and take a different route. Don’t risk driving through it and striking a deep pothole or splashing water up into your car’s electrical system.
After you do drive through a large puddle, tap the brake pedal lightly to help dry your rotors.
Don’t drive through running water. The water could be deeper than you think, and it could be moving with more force than you think. Water with a current has the power to push your vehicle around or even take it away. Remember the phrase, “Turn around, don’t drown.”
Brake earlier and with less pressure than you’d use in normal conditions. Doing so will add more stopping distance between the driver in front of you and yourself. This will also give the driver behind you a heads-up that you’re slowing down. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep more than three seconds of distance between you and the car you’re following in bad weather.
Beware of hydroplaning, when your vehicle actually moves on top of the water and has very little or no contact with the ground. When this happens, you lose or significantly reduce your traction. If it happens, don’t make any sudden motions. The best thing to do is to keep calm, take your foot off the gas pedal and then steer straight in the direction you want to go.
Keep your distance from large trucks or buses – the spray from their tires can block your vision and make it extremely difficult to see. Avoid passing them, but if you absolutely have to, make the pass as quickly as you safely can.
If the rain is coming down so hard that you can’t see anything, find a safe spot to pull over and wait for it to stop. Turn on your hazard lights so other cars can see that you’re on the side of the road.