Rain can create dangerous driving conditions, so it’s important for drivers who find themselves stuck in a storm to proceed with caution. Those who live in rainy climates should be especially careful about ensuring that their cars are properly maintained and prepared to handle a range of weather conditions, but even the best-maintained vehicle won’t be able to handle the low visibility, slippery roads, and puddles created by sudden rainstorms by itself. Drivers need to take things slow and realistically evaluate changing weather conditions and their own capabilities so they know if it’s time to throw on the hazards and slow to a crawl or pull over to wait for the rain to stop.
Learning how to drive safely in the rain requires more than just remembering to turn on the car’s windshield wipers when visibility becomes a problem and activating the headlights when visibility becomes poor or the hazard lights when traveling at slow speeds. Read on to find three tips for maximizing safety when driving in the rain that can help to avoid accidents and protect everyone on the road.
1. Maintain a Safe Distance
It’s always important to maintain a safe distance from other cars on the road. When it starts to rain, that distance should be extended to at least several car lengths since wet roads can make it difficult to come to a quick stop. Drivers who keep plenty of distance between the hoods of their own cars and the rear bumpers of the cars in front of them will have more time to stop, allowing for more controlled braking, and will be able to limit the risk of a front-end collision.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to control other drivers’ actions. That means rear-end collisions are much more difficult to avoid if other drivers aren’t exercising caution. If someone else rear-ends the car in the rain, pull off to a safe location, call for medical help if needed, alert the authorities and both drivers’ insurance companies, and call Alan Byer Collision to make arrangements to have the vehicle repaired.
2. Watch for Standing Water
Water collects in low spots on the road. That includes both potholes and areas at the bottom of hills. Standing water doesn’t have to be very deep to cause problems for drivers, so take things slow on poorly maintained and poorly draining roads or those located in areas prone to flooding.
Hitting standing water can cause hydroplaning, sending cars into uncontrollable skids. There are few things drivers can do to stop hydroplaning other than keeping calm, concentrating on the road, and waiting for the skid to stop. Once the car reaches the other end of the puddle, drivers can regain control.
3. Use the Ventilation System
Even light rain can cause window fog and drivers don’t want to open their windows in the middle of a storm. Get rid of that excess humidity by turning on the ventilation system to defog the windshield. If that doesn’t work, pull the car over and wait ’til it’s safe to drive again.
The Bottom Line
If drivers don’t know what they’re doing or their cars aren’t well-maintained, driving in the rain can cause serious accidents. The best ways to avoid accidents caused by inclement weather are to drive carefully, learn how to handle common problems in advance, and know when to pull over and wait for the storm to pass.