Driving in the rain can be tricky, and if you’re not careful, could put you in a dangerous situation. Rainy conditions directly correlate with higher numbers of auto accidents. Understanding that these conditions can affect your ability to safely operate your vehicle can help you to drive more safely.
If Possible, Wait for the Weather to Improve
If you do not feel comfortable driving in the rain and can delay your commute until the weather improves, do it. It’s not worth putting yourself in danger if it is not necessary to drive in wet conditions.
Double Check Your Car’s Equipment
You always want the equipment in your car to be functioning properly, especially in rainy conditions. Before taking your commute, inspect your headlights, tail lights, and windshield wipers to make sure they are working properly. The tread on your tires should also be in good condition. If your tires are worn down, you are at much higher risk of hydroplaning and losing control of your vehicle.
Following the speed limit is always a good idea when you’re driving. In wet conditions, it’s actually not a bad idea to slow down because your visibility may be impaired when it’s raining heavily and there may be excess water on road surfaces, making it more difficult to come to a complete stop when you need to.
Turn on Your Headlights
Again, visibility is always important, especially in rainy conditions. Not only will you be able to see better, but other cars around you will be able to see you and react accordingly.
Use Your Windshield Wipers
It’s important to use your windshield wipers when it’s raining. Using them will greatly improve your visibility. In addition to windshield wipers, there are several other products you can use to combat the rain from impairing your vision when you’re behind the wheel. Certain sprays can be applied to your windshield that will allow the water to bounce off of the glass. Still, even when using these products, it is recommended that you still use your windshield wipers.
Maintain a Safe Distance Between Cars
Because it will take you longer to come to a complete stop in rainy weather because excess water can lift your tires off of the road surface, it is important to keep a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. If you see large puddles of water on the road surface, consider changing lanes to move around them. As always, be aware of other cars around and always use your turn signal.
Avoid Heavy Braking
It is not recommended that you use cruise control when you are driving in wet conditions. This may seem obvious, but it is important to maintain your focus and attention on your need to brake when you need to and accelerate when the time calls for it. Always pay attention to the road in front of you and minimize distractions.
Watch Out for Standing Water
Standing Water can present a danger to you and others. It’s best to avoid standing water when you can. It can grab your tires and cause you to hydroplane, thus possibly making you lose control of your vehicle. As mentioned earlier, be on the lookout for other cars around you and use your turn signal and side mirrors to notify cars that you intend to change lanes and you can see if you have enough distance between you to move to another lane.
Let Off the Gas When Hydroplaning
It is not uncommon to hydroplane in rainy weather conditions. If this does happen to you, stay calm and gently take your foot off of the accelerator. Steer your car in the direction the front of your car needs to go in. Don’t make any sudden turns and don’t brake hard.
Ventilate Your Car
When it rains, humidity levels tend to increase. Because of this, you may notice your windshield and windows start to fog. To combat this and improve your visibility, turn on your car’s ventilation system. As always, if it’s raining very heavily to the point where you can’t see, consider pulling over to the side of the road and wait for weather conditions to improve before moving on.