“April showers may bring May flowers” is a common English proverb, but driving in wet conditions in any month can be challenging and risky, especially if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Wet roads can cause your car to lose traction, leading to hydroplaning, skidding and accidents. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to drive safely in the rain and other wet weather conditions. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road when driving in wet conditions:
The first and most important rule of driving in wet conditions is to slow down. Wet roads reduce traction, and this can cause your car to slide, skid or hydroplane. Therefore, you should reduce your speed to maintain control of your car and avoid sudden movements. It’s also essential to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you as it takes longer to stop on a wet road.
Check Your Tires
Your car’s tires are the only point of contact between your car and the road. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that they are in good condition, especially when driving in wet conditions. Check your tire treads regularly and replace them if they are worn out. You should also make sure that your tires are properly inflated as underinflated tires reduce traction, especially in wet conditions.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends replacing tires when they reach 2/32”, and many states legally require tires to be replaced at this depth.
Use Your Lights
Visibility is critical when driving in wet conditions, and using your lights can help you see and be seen by other drivers. Turn on your headlights, even if it’s daytime, and use your fog lights if necessary. However, avoid using your high beams as they can reflect off the rain and reduce visibility.
Avoid Sudden Movements
As mentioned earlier, wet roads reduce traction, and sudden movements can cause your car to lose control. Therefore, avoid sudden movements such as hard braking, acceleration or sharp turns. Instead, drive smoothly and steadily, and use gentle movements to maintain control of your car.
Use Your Wipers and Defoggers
Rain can cause your windshield to become blurry, and this can reduce visibility. Therefore, make sure that your wipers are in good condition and replace them when necessary. You should also use your defoggers to keep your windows clear, especially if it’s cold outside.
Beware of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is a phenomenon that occurs when your car’s tires lose contact with the road surface and “ride” on a layer of water. This can cause your car to slide uncontrollably, and it’s a common cause of accidents in wet conditions. Therefore, avoid driving through puddles and standing water, and reduce your speed when driving on wet roads.
Check Local Weather
Wet roads can dangerous, but what about water covering the road? Flash flooding is somewhat frequent in Missouri and Illinois, often with serious consequences. With many creeks and streams in the area, heavy rain can quickly overtake a roadway. Most importantly, never attempt driving through a road that appears to be covered. Water, even in seemingly shallow depths, can be incredibly powerful.
Driving in wet conditions can be challenging, but following these tips can help you stay safe on the road. Remember to slow down, check your tires, use your lights, avoid sudden movements, use your wipers and defoggers, and take time getting to your destination! It’s better that you arrive late, than not at all.