You would probably think twice about driving in the middle of a tornado-spawning storm. But what about driving in the rain or when there’s still wet pavement?
Many drivers don’t think twice about it, even though an estimated 1.2 million drivers crash every year because of weather-related problems.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 418,000 injuries occur because of weather-related crashes, most of which are due to wet pavements.
It’s difficult to plan your driving route around the weather. But what you can do is drive defensively and anticipate the dangers. In this discussion, we’ll talk about some life-saving tips for driving in the rain.
Go in “Safe Mode”
You may have always heard “drive slower!”, but do you know why? Because when you speed up you lose reaction time, stress the car’s tire traction, and are more likely to skid.
Rainwater causes a buildup of grease and oil on the road, which already taxes tire traction. Driving slower improves traction and gives you ample time to come to a near-stop if you lose control of the car.
Skidding is the biggest threat and happens when you’re driving too fast to gently push on the brake for a slow down. Driving slower gives you more control over the car, and that’s what saves your life.
Do Not Make Any Sudden Movements
You may have heard the advice to “remain calm”, but why? A calm state of mind doesn’t matter if you’re careening off the road, right?
The point is a calm state of mind will remind you to not panic and make a heavy right or left turn.
Suddenly turning is almost always more dangerous when the road and your car are unstable. Instead of hanging a hard right, use your slower speed to gently move the steering wheel towards the road.
Remember, a collision can happen to anyone, even if you’re a safe driver. Hit and run collisions or weather-related incidents are unpredictable and may not be your fault.
But if you’re ever in an accident, follow the protocol and be cautious, as this attorney blog points out.
Dangers of Driving in the Rain
If you’re already skidding, don’t make the car more unstable by turning too hard or slamming on the brakes. Stay the course and hold onto the steering wheel.
The same lesson applies if you’re hydroplaning. The objective is to regain the traction that is only temporarily lost, not to fly in the opposite direction.
Slowly remove your foot from the gas pedal and try not to steer. Wait patiently until your traction returns. Once you regain control over the car gently push on the brake and reduce speed.
Defensive Driving in the Rain
When emergencies happen, follow your survival instincts and have an exit plan. First, always maintain a safe distance behind the vehicles in front of you.
Following from a distance gives you more reaction time to an unexpected event. This is especially important when driving in the rain at night.
Try to stay 2-3 vehicles away from everyone on the road, especially big trucks and buses. Try to follow the path of vehicles in front of you, since this gives you a clearer view of what’s ahead.
You can also assume the path they just took is safe.
Taking Alternate Routes
When you’re on the road drive towards the middle of the road, where it’s less likely to flood. If you suspect a flood-prone area is flooded, it probably is!
Be careful not to pull over in an area that’s partially flooded or where there’s a lot of mud, since your car could get stuck.
If you cannot see out the front window, even if you’re blasting your A/C (to help defog your view) and your wipers, pull over in a parking lot or another safe location until the heavy rainfall stops.
Avoid that route at all costs and use your GPS system to recalculate a safer route. Some weather apps like Waze are made with the volunteer efforts of map editors and real-time reporting from user to user.
Driving in the Rain Safely
The rules for driving in the rain are easy to remember:
- Drive slower than usual
- No sudden movements
- Pullover if you can’t see
- Take a safer route
But it’s hard to keep calm when you’re involved in a collision! When you stay calm you’re able to react logically and avoid panic movements that cause accidents.
For more life-saving tips on driving and other life hacks, keep following Bizmaa Business Advisor!