How to Safely Drive in Rain

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Studies show that more accidents occur in rain than in snow. In fact, nearly half of all weather-related collisions occur during rainfall. Experts attribute this to drivers being overconfident driving in rainy conditions and far more cautious when snow or ice is present. This is all the more reason for drivers to take care to drive safely in the rain. In this article, Step 1 advises that you keep your car ready for wet weather, Step 2 warns that you should drive more slowly, Step 3 recommends leaving more space than usual between you and the car in front, Step 4 suggests that you steer clear of cruise control, and Step 5 warns you about hydroplaning.

Part 1 of 1: How to drive safely in stormy weather

Reduced visibility and the potential to hydroplane are the two biggest threats when driving in rainy conditions. With proper awareness, preparation, and driving techniques, however, you can greatly reduce your chances of an accident when rain begins to fall.
Step 1: Properly maintain your vehicle for rainy weather. Your tires and windshield wipers play an important role for rain-driving safety.
Every few months, check the tread on each of your tires by placing a quarter inside the tread with the top of President Washington’s head going in first. If you cannot see the top of Washington’s head, your tires have sufficient tread. If you can, it’s time for new tires.
Whenever you notice your windshield wipers don’t clear away rain like they should, go ahead and replace the blades.
Step 2: Slow down. When the pavement is wet, your vehicle’s tires lose approximately a third of their usual traction. This greatly increases your risk of slipping and sliding.
  • Tip: As a general rule, slow down a third of the speed limit in heavy rain to compensate for the amount of traction lost.
Step 3: Hang back further from other vehicles. When it is dry outside, you should have at least a car’s length between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
This distance should increase when roads are slick and visibility lessened due to the greater risk of slides and diminished reaction time. Aim for two car lengths between you and other vehicles in heavy rain.
Step 4: Use technology wisely. Avoid using regular or adaptive cruise control in the rain because this feature actually reduces your traction during the braking process, which can increase your chance of a collision.
Features like traction-control and anti-lock braking systems, however, help drivers stay in control in rainy conditions.
Step 5: Know how to handle hydroplaning. It is easy to tell someone to stay calm when in a scary situation, but simply staying calm may not be enough when your vehicle hydroplanes.
Avoid panic to the best of your ability, but continue to point your steering straight ahead, ease off of the accelerator, and gently depress the brake. When your tires can find traction again, this will help you regain control and stay on the road.
While driving in the rain may be a common occurrence, be aware that such weather conditions pose a safety hazard. Use extra caution and do your best to be prepared, and you greatly increase your likelihood of a safe and uneventful trip.

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