Be it light rain, a downpour, or just a light drizzle; you should never act like driving on wet roads isn’t a big deal. You should know how to handle water on the road throughout the year. Rainy conditions cause higher accident rates, and almost half of all weather-related car accidents happen during them.
Any driver will be presented with reduced visibility in those conditions and won’t have much to guide them besides the windshield obscured by rain. Not surprisingly, rain leads to so many accidents. Don’t get too confident about your driving skills; follow these best practices to avoid adding to these accident statistics while on wet roads.
The Dangers of Driving in the Rain
We mentioned that half of all weather-related accidents in the country occur while driving in the rain. The dangers are many, but the two main ones are hydroplaning and the damage the rain can have on your car’s exterior.
Is Driving in the Rain Bad for Your Car?
Another reason you should be extra careful when driving on wet roads is because of damage that can be inflicted on your car, not just accidents. Severe rain and high water, in particular, can wreak havoc on many aspects of your vehicle.
Too much water in your car’s interior to be damp and lead to damage to your engines and electrical systems, especially in older cars that aren’t properly insulated for water damage. While modern cars are more resistant to water than before, they’re not waterproof. Water can easily get sucked into a car’s engine at a depth higher than three feet, leading to terminal failure and leaving you with expensive but preventable damage.
Also, don’t hesitate to wash your car during the rainy season. If you avoid cleaning your vehicle, dirty rainwater (either from the street or the sky) will slowly corrode the quality of your paint job.
Your average rainfall can take a toll on your car’s paint, for example. Rainwater in cities can pick up pollutants as they fall through the urban air, creating droplets that are full of chemicals and even some salt particles if you are near the coast. Many drivers will recognize the effects of salt on their cars as the white smudges left behind on the paint after rain.
Beware of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is one of the main causes of car accidents on wet roads and is a result of a car speeding through standing water. Hydroplaning comes when your car loses traction and the wheels can’t stick to the ground, leading to your car skidding across the surface of the road. Standing water is especially dangerous at night because drivers can’t spot it as easily, which is another reason to slow down during wet weather or if you see a flooded road. Avoid water that spreads out beyond one lane or is accumulating on the side of the road.
If you start hydroplaning, keep calm and remove your foot from the accelerator. Then proceed quickly to steer toward where you want the front of your car to go. Don’t break or turn suddenly, as it will make you lose even more control.
Tips for Driving in the Rain
Slow Down During the Rain.
Always adhere to the speed limit on any roadway, but do so, especially when raining. Driver slower than you would normally, as wet roads are very dangerous even if it’s a drizzle. Your car’s reaction time is slower during the rain or right after on slick roads. Reducing the speed is the top priority when it is raining.
Turn Headlights On.
A majority of states, including California, require drivers to turn the lights on their vehicles when driving in the rain, snow, fog, mist, drizzle, or heavy downpours. Any low visibility event that forces you to use your windshields will mean the use of headlights. It’s not just about helping you with visibility but also making your car visible to others.
Be Mindful of the Vehicle You’re Driving.
What you’re driving certainly affects what actions to take during the rain. A small sedan will have an easier time breaking that a large truck with four-wheel drive. Keep in mind if the drive wheels are in the front or back if you’re hauling another vehicle or trailer, etc. Even the number of passengers will affect the stability of your vehicle if you’re used to driving alone and not a full car. Always remind yourself of these factors before beginning your trip.
Notice Larger Vehicles.
Just as what you’re driving matters, so does it matter what others are driving around you. Big vehicles like trailers are going to be affected by high winds in worse ways than smaller ones, so always keep your distance from them during storms. The larger the vehicle, the slower it can break, so make sure you don’t break too quickly in front of them and don’t get too close to them from behind.
Don’t Use Cruise Control.
During dry conditions, being able to rely on cruise control is neat. But it’s too risky to do it in wet or rainy conditions. You need to be in control as much as you can, reducing and picking up speed at a moment’s notice. Turn it off as soon as the weather goes south.
Always Turn On Windshield Wipers.
Believe it or not, this isn’t common sense. A lot of drivers don’t remember to turn on their front wipers in light rain, mist, or fog, either because of overconfidence in their skills or ignorance of their windshield settings. Most cars come with a wiper speed meant for light mist too, so that it can clean the slow accumulation of moisture on the windshield every few seconds. Always turn on your wipers, in the breeze or downpour.
Follow The Tracks Left By Vehicles In Front.
A good tip during heavy rain is to drive right after a car in front of you, taking advantage of the tracks they leave behind. The vehicles in front have already dispersed standing water ahead, making it safer for you, and you’re doing the same thing for the car behind. Together, drivers can forge a more secure path on the road during the rain.
Keep Your Distance.
Yes, stick close to other cars, but not too close. Slick and wet surfaces are harder to break on, so keep your distance from other vehicles during the rain, and, especially on snow. It always takes more time to come to a complete stop when a layer of water and oils is right under your car. Put enough distance between you and the car ahead of you so that there’s enough time to react to any danger or accident in front of you.
Don’t Heavy Break During Rain.
The combination of slamming on the breaks and wet roads is a very dangerous one. Always do it slowly so that the car comes to a smooth and early stop. Also, avoid changing lanes in an abrupt way, as it increases the chances of hydroplaning too.
Maintain Your Car Ventilated.
Rain will increase humidity levels outside and inside your vehicle, making your windows foggy and damp and obstructing your visibility. All vehicles will have a setting on their ventilation systems that help with fog on the windows or windshield. Your car will blast dryer and hotter air from outside to dissipate the fog from the windshield and windows. But if not even this helps, pull over immediately and try to clean the fog yourself.
Just Wait Until The Weather Improves.
If nothing helps and you’re visibility is impaired or your car skids too much, then just reconsider driving. The weather might just be too much to handle for the moment, so postpone your journey until the weather improves. Don’t put yourself in danger if it’s not an emergency.
Sometimes though, there are no escaping car accidents while driving on wet roads or in the rain, leaving you with a ticket possibly after you crash into a poll or you can’t see a stop sign properly.
Ticket Snipers wants you to be safe out there! We hope this has helped you understand the best practices when driving on wet, rainy roads. On the other hand, if you ever have a traffic ticket issue after driving in the rain, we can fight it for you. Call our team at Ticket Snipers and let our legal experts take over your situation and free you from stress!