Safety Tips for Driving In the Rain

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of staying home just because of bad weather. We’ve all driven in less than ideal conditions, and this includes rain. Since this may be a pretty common occurrence, it’s easy to go on autopilot. However, driving in rainy conditions can be very dangerous. In fact, falling precipitation increases the risk of an accident by 34%!

Precipitation makes driving so dangerous for two main reasons: decreased visibility and slippery roads. The harder the rain, the more difficult it may be to see other vehicles, road signs, traffic lights, or anything else on the road. To combat this, make sure you replace your windshield wipers every 6 months or so, or as soon as you notice any change in visibility.

Slippery roads occur because when the road first gets wet, oil rises to the surface, so there’s a greasy residue. This can potentially lead to hydroplaning, which happens when the tire actually gets separated from the road by a thin film of water through water pressure, causing you to lose traction. Obviously, this all can make it more difficult to stop, which can potentially lead to an accident.

The following tips may seem obvious, but they are often forgotten or overlooked and can result in an accident.

  1. Wear your seat belt. Always. But especially in slick conditions when the risk of an accident is 34% higher. In Alabama, if you or your front seat passenger aren’t wearing your seatbelt, you could be fined.
  2. Slow Down – but not too much. As mentioned above, rain causes slippery roads which can cause loss of traction, driving slower will improve your tire traction and give you more time to brake if needed. It is important not to go too slow though as excessive slowing could cause a backup which could result in an accident.
  3. Turn your headlights on. When it’s raining, your visibility can be significantly reduced – which means so is the visibility of the cars around you. As a rule, turn your headlights on any time you turn your windshield wipers on. This will allow you to see more clearly in front of you, and allow other drivers to better see you as well.
  4. Give extra space. In normal driving conditions, a safe following speed is about 3 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. When it’s raining, you’ll want to double that to ensure you have extra time to react to traffic.
  5. Keep your eyes on the road. Just as you should any time you drive, stay focused on driving and stay off your phone. This is especially important in slippery conditions. Since visibility is lessened in the rain, it’s important to watch the car directly in front of you. Since it will be more difficult to see any traffic situations far ahead, paying attention to the reactions of the car in front of you will alert you anything coming up.

It’s important to drive safely no matter what conditions the roads are in, but it’s especially important to follow these rules when road conditions are hazardous. If your vehicle is damaged because of weather conditions, be sure to bring it into Performance Auto and get back on the road.

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