There’s a big difference between knowing safety tips for driving in rainy conditions and remembering to practice them in the moment! Especially if you live in a place where heavy rain is the norm for part of the year, it’s a good idea to review safety driving tips during rainy season.
Adopting any new safety tip is like getting used to a new habit. It’s a good idea to pick out a few driving in the rain safety tips and then practice them. You are at your safest behind the wheel when you’re alert and ready to act automatically. Your honed driving instincts can protect you, but you need to nurture them right!
Let’s look at the top safety tips for driving in rainy conditions:
1. Avoid Driving in the Rain at Night Whenever Possible
The low visibility conditions caused by rain are much more challenging to deal with at night. If at all possible, you should plan your long distance trips so you won’t have to contend with both at the same time. When rain kicks up unexpectedly, see if you can pull over to a diner or gas station for a few minutes until it passes.
2. Avoid Driving in Rain if You Are Tired or Upset
Driving in the rain requires much keener reflexes than most other journeys. With that in mind, you should try to avoid trips in or shortly after rainfall until you are at your best. If you have the option, don’t drive in rain if you are short on sleep, under a lot of stress, or distracted from focusing on the road.
3. Before First Rain, Make Sure Your Windshield Wipers Work
Some safety driving tips during rainy season actually start before the wet weather rolls in. Windshield wipers can be damaged by the cold of winter even if you didn’t spend much time on the road, so it’s crucial to make sure they’re working before you need them. And, yes, refill your windshield wiper fluid.
4. Before the First Trip, Double-Check Your Car’s Components First
Before you hit the road after the first recent rain, go through a quick inspection. Check your headlights, tail lights, and the tread of your vehicle’s tires. Remember, not only is it risky to drive without a light, but you are much more likely to find yourself stopped by the highway patrol.
5. Take it Slow
As a general rule, you should be prepared to drive at least five miles per hour slower than usual when you are in the rain. Be alert to any stretches of road that have a minimum speed as well as a maximum – incautious drivers may reach these areas going too fast to react quickly to wet road conditions.
6. Use Your Headlights
Most states require drivers to use their headlights whenever it is raining out. Even if it is only misting, your lights can make a significant difference in visibility. Know when to use your regular headlights and when your high beams are warranted. Overusing the latter can actually reduce visibility.
7. Avoid Standing Water
Depending on how deep and wide a puddle is, it may do damage to your vehicle’s undercarriage. Going through a puddle at high speed can also cause you to lose control and may impair your vision as well as that of surrounding motorists. Navigate around puddles if you can. Go through at a slow speed only if you are sure how deep the puddle is.
8. Drive in the Tracks of the Car Ahead of You
By driving in another car’s wake, you are giving the driver up ahead the opportunity to displace standing water. Be careful not to follow too closely, however. If your state requires the use of bright headlights during a rain shower, your lights could make driving more difficult for the other person.
9. Do Not Brake or Turn Abruptly
No list of driving in the rain safety tips would be complete without mentioning what to do if you lose control. If you are hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas and keep the wheel straight until your car regains traction. Brake gently if necessary. Never brake or turn the wheel sharply, as you could go into a skid.
10. Avoid Using Cruise Control
Here’s one of those safety tips for driving in rainy conditions that your insurance company wishes you knew. Cruise control can be convenient when it’s dry out, but it has drawbacks in the rain. Not only can it lead directly to hydroplaning, but it reduces attentiveness among even the best drivers around.
11. Use Both Hands on the Steering Wheel
Having both hands on the wheel maximizes control of your vehicle. Distracted driving is one of the most serious modern road hazards. Texting while driving is by far the worst, but anything you need to do with your hands – from eating to applying makeup – can put you and other drivers at risk in the rain.
12. Defog the Windows
If your car has them, make as much use as you can of your front and rear defrosters. Your defrosters will help you keep your windshield from fogging up during rain. Without it, it can be much more difficult to judge how close vehicles are and you may find yourself focusing on others’ headlights.
13. Improve Your Car’s Ventilation
Not all of the fog you see from the driver’s seat is on the outside of your windshield. Because rain increases humidity, the windows’ interior can become foggy, too. Many cars have a special ventilation setting you can use to combat this. It’s okay to run this setting for a few minutes before setting out.
14. Make Sure Others Know Where You’re Going
Even a minor “fender bender” can wreak havoc in the rain. Getting cars off the road and onto the shoulder can take time, and careless drivers may cause accidents. Whenever possible, be sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to be there so they can follow up if you are delayed.
15. Gas Up Your Vehicle Safely
If at all possible, fill your gas tank when the weather is good and visibility is high. If you must gas up during rain, be especially careful. Slick asphalt in gas stations can cause minor collisions. This is especially true entering and exiting the lot, where there is often not much clearance and turns can be tight in the best of times.
Using these safety driving tips during rainy season, you’ll be much more likely to stay safe. Remember, nothing protects you from the worst case scenario quite as much as a good auto insurance policy! You can find your next policy right here on Cheap Insurance – so if anything does happen out there, you’ll be ready!