By Madeline Klein on January 3, 2019.
While it may be more fun to throw on your favorite pair of shades and crank up the music for a long drive, sometimes you have to put up with those rainy day ruts. You won't need your shades, but knowing how to handle a rainy road is really important. And because 10% of vehicle crashes are related to rainy weather, the more you know, the safer you can be next time you’re out and about in the wet weather.
1. Take your time
You may think you can still go the speed limit and be okay on rainy roads. But if it’s wet, the safest thing to do is slow down and take your time. We know this may seem like common sense, but we can’t stress it enough. Going slow can help keep you from hydroplaning in the rain, which can happen at speeds as low as 35 mph.
If you do start to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas and continue to steer. Wait for your car to get its traction back, and then you can continue back on track.
2. Leave some extra room for others
If you’re driving (and maybe singing) in the rain, give the other cars around you some extra breathing room. Leave plenty of stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. This not only gives them some peace of mind because they have some extra space, but it can help lower your stress levels too. Everyone can drive a bit easier knowing the risk of an accident is just a little less by having more room between cars.
3. Skip the cruise control
We know cruise control is one of the greatest inventions ever (well…maybe). But when you’re battling rainy weather, cruise control is not your best friend. You can more easily lose control of your car when you’re using cruise in wet conditions. If you do happen to lose traction, you’ll need to accelerate or decelerate quickly, and you can’t react as fast when you’re cruising.
(PS: When it’s not raining, feel free to cruise it up because you really can save gas with cruise control in most cases!)
4. Keep a firm grip on the wheel
If there were ever a time to drive with your hands on 10 and 2, this would be it. Get a strong grip on your wheel and hold on tight in wet weather. This will help you steer straight if there’s a large gust of wind. Or maybe you get passed by a semi going a little too quickly and have to deal with an onslaught of water.
5. Make sure you’re up on car maintenance
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Car maintenance is key! On wet roads, it’s especially important to have well-treaded tires, brakes that have been checked recently, and well-working windshield wiper blades. Keep up on your car maintenance, and you’ll feel prepared for all weather.
6. Watch out for standing water
Standing water can be hard to see, especially if you’re driving at night. Keep an eye out for any discolored patches of road, or watch for other cars swerving around a specific area. It only takes six inches of water to cause a car’s tires to slide because you don’t have traction. So watch for standing water and either turn around or find an alternate route around.
If you’re hitting the road, be sure to check the weather forecast. If you see rain predicted, try to plan around it. And if you can’t, be sure to use these tips and all your safe driving knowledge to hopefully avoid accidents.