This time of year there’s no shortage of bad weather, from hurricanes in the south to surprise blizzards in the midwest, there’s no shortage of slick roads shaking driver confidence. Even the best drivers might experience weather conditions that result in a car accident. That’s why it’s important to adhere to these safe driver tips for heavy rain and wet conditions:
1. Check Your Car’s Equipment Before You Drive
When you’re getting ready to drive in the rain, make sure to check your car’s equipment. This means inspecting the tires, windshield wipers, headlights, and even checking fluids in the car and making sure that everything is at an acceptable level. By ensuring your car is in peak condition before you drive, you reduce the likelihood of a devastating technical error occurring while you are driving in inclement conditions.
2. Drive More Slowly and Carefully
Slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to driving in the rain. Even if you are in a hurry, it’s important you drive lower than the speed limit. Between having limited visibility and the propensity for hydroplaning or otherwise sliding on the wet road, slower really is better when driving in the rain.
3. Ensure Your Headlights Are On: It’s the Law!
It’s illegal to drive with your headlights off in the rain. During the daytime, its an easy thing to forget but, the fact remains, that rain obstructs our vision when we are driving and low-beam headlights help us see through the thick of rain. The experts at AAA say, “Headlights are required to be on when wipers are in use or visibility is less than 500 feet. Headlights must be on from sunset to sunrise, in rain, slow, sleet, or hail, or when conditions.”
4. Use Wipers Appropriately
It’s no surprise that wipers are an important tool for you to use when you are driving in the rain. A rain storm is your wipers’ time to shine, but it’s important you use them the right way. First, make sure before you get in the car that you know how to turn your wipers on and off. Whether the car is familiar or unfamiliar, you don’t want to be grasping for your wiper switch when you need them to work. If wipers are making proper contact with the window, they will wipe away water cleanly, but if they are damaged or old, they may leave smears and marks, and you want to avoid driving completely, if your wipers can’t be used safely. Understand how to change settings and use faster settings for harder rain.
5. Keep a Safe Distance
Remember to keep a car space distance for every ten miles you are driving, as a general rule. If you are driving 40 miles per hour, for instance, you should keep four car spaces between you and the person in front of you.
Remember, you don’t have to drive.
If you’re in a situation where you don’t absolutely have to drive, and you aren’t comfortable getting behind the wheel due to rain, it’s ok! Stay put until the weather improves because it’s a move that can save your life and others.
In bad weather, only drive when it’s absolutely necessary and know when to put your keys down or pull off of the road if it can be done safely. Always put the safety of you, your passengers and the people you share the road with, over other priorities. Even if you are an excellent driver, reducing the amount of cars on the road makes for fewer accidents. The CDC says, 1.35 million people die in car accidents per year. By staying off the road when its raining, you might be able to avoid a fatal accident. But if you can’t stay off the road, practice safe driving by following the tips in this article.