Did you know that wet pavement contributes to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year? Safety starts before you drive, and your goal should be to see and be seen. Replace windshield wiper inserts that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe. Make sure all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours. Also, don’t forget to turn on your headlights whenever you drive!
Proper tire tread depth and inflation are imperative to maintaining good traction on wet roadways. Make sure to check tread depth with a quarter inserted upside down into the tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head, start shopping for new tires. Check each tire’s pressure, including the spare, at least once a month, and be sure to check the pressure when the tires are cold.
Wet Weather Driving Tips
Here are some tips you’ll want to follow the next time you’re caught driving in the rain.
- Never drive in the rain with your cruise control on. If you do this and hydroplane, your wheels can reach an excessive speed when not in contact with the road. This has the result of propelling your car forward when the wheels touch down again.
- Slow Down. When water mixes with the oil and dirt on the road it can create slick conditions that encourage skidding. The best way to avoid losing control of your vehicle is to slow down.
- Increase your stopping distance. Make sure if the vehicle in front of you comes to a sudden stop, you have enough space to brake to a stop without skidding.
- Steer into the skid. The first thing you should do is remain calm, ease your foot off the accelerator and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. This is called “steering into the skid” and will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. If your car has ABS brakes, brake firmly as you “steer into the skid”.
- Do not use your high beam headlights. While it is important to use low beam headlights in the wet, high beam headlights are likely to reflect back on you, reducing visibility.
Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you. Also, avoid driving through water and use your headlights and stay alert! These tips will keep you and your passenger’s safe on wet roads.