With the arrival of spring comes the transition from snowy white roads to rainy, gray driving conditions. Although rain is not nearly as daunting for drivers as snow, data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that rain contributes to 46% of weather-related crashes. Slick roads and low visibility make roads equally, if not more, dangerous than snow-covered streets. That’s why I’ve put together this list of a few safety tips to keep you safe in the rain this spring.
In difficult driving conditions it is most important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Turning off the radio and keeping your eyes on the road can help to keep you focused and allow you to react quickly to any potential danger.
Increase Following Distance
The following distance is the distance between you and the car in front of you while driving. In clear conditions a following distance of 3-4 seconds is recommended, but in wet weather conditions this should be increased to 5-6 seconds. This will allow you more time to react to traffic and will help to prevent crashes if the roadways are slick.
Turn on Your Headlights
Rain creates low visibility conditions, so it is important that you can see other cars and be seen by other cars. Turning on your headlights can help to increase visibility and to prevent unneeded collisions.
Hydroplaning occurs when you are traveling too quickly in wet weather conditions. Hydroplaning means that the vehicle’s tires are no longer able to grip the surface of the road, which can cause you to lose control of your car. In severe conditions, cars can hydroplane at as low as 35mph. Slowing down on the roads and allowing more time to reach your destination can keep you safe in rainy conditions. If you do hydroplane, be sure not to panic or apply the brake. Braking can make your vehicle harder to control because it upsets the balance of the car. Instead, slowly ease up on the accelerator and continue to steer straight until you have regained control.
Driving in any kind of severe weather condition can be intimidating, but by following these few safety tips you can feel comfortable tackling the road on even the rainiest day!