If you’ve ever been caught behind the wheel in a heavy downpour, you know that rain doesn’t make for ideal driving conditions. The truth is, driving in the rain can be stressful, not to mention dangerous. This is mainly because it becomes difficult to see the road, making driving conditions less than ideal. In addition, water affects how your car handles and may turn what might otherwise be a safe ride into an incident. To get where you need to go safely when it’s raining, always plan ahead and adjust your driving habits behind the wheel. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind to drive more safely in the rain.
Don’t be a Hazard
Never ever turn on the hazard lights during a heavy downpour thinking that it will make your car more visible to others. It’s better to turn on the park lights or headlights so as not to confuse other drivers into thinking that you have broken down or parked. Using the hazard lights prohibits the function of the turn signals which is more dangerous. Only use the hazard lights when the vehicle is stalled or stationary.
Maintain a Safe Distance
Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front is always beneficial in any driving condition. However, whenever the road is wet, it is recommended to keep a more than ‘safe’ distance between the other vehicle in front. Doing so allows a considerable distance should the vehicle in front suddenly decide to brake thereby preventing a rear end collision.
Turn with Caution
Rainy conditions bring about wet roads that become slippery surfaces, making sharp and winding turns dangerous. Taking a turn too fast might cause the tires to lose grip causing the car to skid resulting in the loss of car control. Whenever taking a sharp curve, slow down first before taking the turn. This is actually regardless of whether the road is wet or dry.
Driving in the rain involves less than ideal conditions including limiting the driver’s visibility. This is why the driver must be more alert and conscious for any hazards that might appear at any time like a dog suddenly crossing the street or another car that turned without signaling. In such situations, the driver’s reaction time becomes crucial so avoid any distractions while driving.
Hydroplaning is what happens when your tires fail to get a grip on the road and you lose control of your car’s direction. This usually occurs when you step on the brakes abruptly while the car is at high speeds. To prevent your car from hydroplaning, keep your speeds at manageable levels when it rains, and again, keep your distance from other vehicles to avoid a collision.
One of the best tips while driving in the rain is to reduce your speed by a few km/h below the speed limit. Keep in mind that the most dangerous moment to drive is right after the rain has started, as the water mixes with the oil residue on the road creating a slippery and slick surface. Instead of rushing and driving fast, slow down a bit just to be safe as this also helps prevent your car from hydroplaning.
Be mindful of other drivers. When turning or changing lanes, signal in advance to give the car behind you enough time to slow down. Always anticipate what other drivers are doing so you could safely react to abrupt movements such as skidding or swerving. Also anticipate where you want to go to avoid making sudden maneuvers that could cause a mishap.
One of the safest driving decisions you can make is to wait for the weather to clear up. Rainy conditions bring about traffic gridlock, flooded roads, accidents and vehicle breakdowns. If you must drive in heavy rain, check traffic updates for flooded roads and find alternate routes with the least amount of traffic congestion and chances of flooding.