Driving Safely in Rain
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that more than 20% of accidents in the country are caused by poor weather conditions. And over 400,000 people, on average, are injured in weather-related crashes each year.
Specific weather conditions require specific responses. Of all inclement weather situations, you’re most likely to find yourself caught driving in rain.
Losing control of your car on wet pavement, also known as hydroplaning, is a frightening experience. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone unless you take preventative measures. Hydroplaning feels like your vehicle is floating or going in a direction that you can’t control. If you have ever experienced hydroplaning while driving, you know it can be a scary situation because you have little control over your vehicle. With wet streets, the chances that your vehicle hydroplanes are pretty good, and it doesn’t take a lot of water or high speed to cause your car to hydroplane. In fact, your tires can lose contact with the road when driving 35 mph in as little as one-tenth of an inch of water.
Safety tips for driving in rain include:
- Turning on your car’s running lights.
- If the rain is heavy, turn on your low beams. This will increase the chances that you will be seen by other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
During wet weather, road surfaces are most slippery immediately after the rain begins to fall. This is because the oil and grease on the wet pavement have not yet been washed away. Driving on a road covered with oil and water can be like driving on ice. You should turn off your cruise control, reduce your speed, use extra caution and allow twice the normal following distance.
You can prevent skids by driving slowly, especially on curves.
Follow these additional safe driving tips when driving in rain:
- Steer and brake with a light touch.
- When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal when braking.
If you do find yourself in a skid:
- Remain calm.
- Ease your foot off the gas, apply the brakes, and
- Steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. This is called “steering into the skid.”
If driving in rain or other adverse weather conditions caused you to be in an accident, a defensive driving course may help offset an increase in your auto premiums. Talk to your local Farmers Union Agent for further details; note not all carriers may offer this discount.