Many drivers consider snow the most dangerous weather event for driving. In fact, rain can be even more dangerous than snow. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, many more weather-related vehicle crashes happen during rainy conditions (47 percent) versus snow or sleet (15 percent).
To ensure you, your passengers and other drivers are as safe as possible during rain-related weather conditions, follow these simple tips:
- Slow down. Your ability to stop in time for sudden changes in traffic patterns is diminished when roads are wet. While slowing down may not, in itself, prevent accidents, it can help reduce the severity of damage and injury.
- Allow for more travel time. As both you and other drivers will be driving more slowly, you should factor additional travel time into your trip so you don’t feel the need to rush and put yourself or others in danger.
- Increase your following distance to compensate for any potential sliding that may occur if you need to brake suddenly.
- Stay toward middle lanes since water tends to collect on the side of the road. This will help ensure you have maximum control of your car, and help to avoid hydroplaning.
- Don’t use cruise control in the rain. If your car begins to hydroplane while cruise control is engaged there is a chance your car might actually accelerate as it hydroplanes.
- If you do hydroplane, don’t brake or turn the wheel suddenly. Instead, slowly let up on the gas and try to steer straight until the car regains traction. If you brake, short, light taps are best to avoid skidding out and into other cars.
- After driving through a puddle, tap your brakes lightly to help dry your rotors.
- Turn on your headlights as well as your wipers in the rain. Not only does this help you see better, it also helps other drivers see your car and stay alert.
- Be cautious of pedestrians. They may dart into traffic in an effort to “beat” the rain, and because of umbrellas, their field of vision might be severely restricted.
- Do not drive across or through running water. It may be deeper than it appears, or there may be cracked pavement or debris that is unseen that can damage your car and put you – and your fellow drivers – in danger. Try to go around running water or find alternate routes if possible.