Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day...

Rain is a common cause of driving collisions. With winter just around the corner, it’s a good idea to review safe driving practices, especially for driving in the rain.

● Consult your car owner’s manual for specific safety instructions regarding brakes, cruise control and tires.

● Replace your windshield wipers at least once a year, ideally at the beginning of winter.

● Take time to defog your windows to improve visibility.

● Use extra caution for the first few hours after a long dry spell. Oil and grease accumulate on the road, making it extremely slick.

● Practice extra caution at intersections, on and off ramps, and parking lots. Road oil accumulates more in areas of slow traffic.

● Remember the rule: “Windshield wipers on, cruise control off.” Cruise control slows your ability to recognize changes in weather-related road conditions. Also, when there is less traction, cruise control is apt to malfunction.

● The deeper your tire tread, the more traction you have. Replace worn tires before winter.

● Avoid driving through standing water unless you know it is shallow.

● Vision is compromised in the rain. Another rule: “Windshield wipers on, headlights on.”

● Watch for pedestrians. They’re thinking about staying dry and may make a dash across the street to get out of the rain. Also, rain muffles road noises and they don’t always hear you.

● Posted speed signs are for ideal weather. Reduce speed for less than optimal conditions.

● When it’s raining, slow down. Reduced speed cuts your risk of hydroplaning and allows you more time to stop on slick roads.

● Allow more space than normal from the vehicle in front of you. For one thing, you avoid their spray; for another, it takes longer to stop in wet conditions.


Terri McIntyre said...

Good points! The last one reminded me of being in a car leaving Flagstaff, AZ and the driver pulling into the left lane to pass another vehicle in a heavy downpour. We started spinning and slid off the shoulder. Luckily it was a gentle slope into a grassy ditch. So, I'd add one more point--avoid passing if at all possible when roads are slick.

Mary E. Trimble said...

Good point, Terri. Passing is always dicey with poor driving conditions.