Driving in the rain is stress inducing. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it is more dangerous to drive on a rainy day than a snowy one. Most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement-70 percent and during rainfall-46 percent.
“Sometimes rain seems like no big deal, but it’s a good idea to follow safe driving techniques when driving in inclement weather,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.
Slow down and keep calm
When the weather takes a turn for the worst and you must get behind the wheel, make sure you are alert and attentive. Reduce distractions. Also, even if it is raining during the day, it is a good idea to turn on your headlights to increase visibility. Keep your pace slow and steady. Leave plenty of extra space between you and the car in front of you, five seconds is advised.
Hydroplaning is the biggest risk to driving on wet pavement. It occurs when a layer of too much water gets between the road and your tire, preventing the tire’s tread to properly grip the road.
“Rotating your tires and maintaining proper tire pressure will keep you tires it good condition, this helps prevent hydroplaning,” reminds says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.
To prevent hydroplaning, avoid the outer lanes of the road where excess water accumulates. Also, drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. Another word of caution, turn-off cruise control. Cruise control causes you to lose control on wet surfaces. If you hydroplane while in cruise control, your car will accelerate.
Popular Mechanics recommends, “If you start to hydroplane, keep both hands on the steering wheel and gradually apply the brakes. Slamming on the brakes or jerking the wheel can cause a skid.”
Water and wind
Keep a firm grip on the wheel if it is windy. Be aware of vehicles around you, larger vehicles are more susceptible to high winds and could have trouble staying in their lane.
When it comes to standing water, avoid driving through a puddle with an unknown depth. If you are confident the puddle is only and couple of inches, slow down before coming to it and do not brake until you drive out of it.
For those riding on motorcycles, be sure to wear proper gear especially for your feet and hands. Likewise, invest in a clear, anti-fog faceshield or goggles.