Regardless of your driving experience, the odds are greater that you’ll have a collision in wet weather. Learning the art of safe driving in adverse weather requires preparation and training. Here are the essential tips on driving safely in the rain.
- Start with a vehicle that’s ready for the rigors of the rainy season: good tire tread, firm brakes and streak-free wipers.
- Get in the right frame of mind before you get behind the wheel. Never drive when you’re emotionally upset or rushed. According to traffic safety authorities, lack of attention is a major contributing factor to auto crashes.
- If you have an appointment with someone, call in advance and postpone it. Everyone knows it is difficult to drive in rain.
In the driver’s seat
- Correct seat adjustment puts you in position to perform the gentle smooth, precise movements necessary for safe motoring in inclement weather.
- Adjust your seat in a way that you sit no closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel while ensuring that you can see the road ahead.
- You should sit close enough to the steering wheel to maintain a bend in your elbows. This position will reduce the chance of injury to your fingers, hands, and forearms if the airbag deploys.
- Shorter drivers may need a wedge cushion or pedal extensions to be able to sit this distance from the steering wheel. Confirm the position of mirrors and environmental controls before you start the vehicle.
- Don’t forget to buckle up, and have all your passengers buckle up, too.
A clear view
A hard rain can limit visibility so that you can’t see the edges of the road, traffic signs or other vehicles on the road.
- Keep your windshield and windows clean.
- Use your defroster to keep front and rear windshields clear.
- On a cold day, move the heat control to “hot” and let the engine warm up before you turn on the defrosters and blowers. This will prevent moisture from collecting on the inside of the glass.
- If the glass gets foggy, open a window slightly and turn the defroster fan to a higher speed.
- Use your air conditioner to reduce humidity.
Turn your lights on
- When it’s raining, turn your headlights on, especially on dark or overcast days. This will make it easier for you to see what is in front of you; thus, preventing any accidents.
- When you drive on wet streets, mud and dirt splash on your headlights, reducing illumination by up to 90 percent. During a long trip, stop periodically to clean your headlights.
Keep both hands on the steering wheel
- Keep all distractions, such as cell phones or even the radio, off and away from you.
- While focus to your front do take a look in back and side mirrors so that you get an 360 degree over view what is happening around – any mud slide or falling tree, electric pole, hanging electrical wires, or in coming hazard etc.
Keep a good distance from the car in front of you
- A good distance from the car in front is important as it is difficult to apply sudden brake. You never know what other drivers are going to do or what could happen to you.
- This can be difficult with others trying to enter between the two cars. However it is better to stay calm and keep your side safe.
- Drive at or below the speed limit to the extent that you are comfortable with, and can see far enough in front of you to appropriately make driving decisions.
- Wet drum type brakes are especially prone to decreased stopping power after driving through deep water.
Avoid using cruise control in wet weather driving conditions
- Cruise control feature works great in dry scenarios, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of your vehicle can increase.
- To prevent loss of traction, you may need to reduce your speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged.
Avoid flooded roads
- Never drive through standing or flowing water in a road way unless you have no choice or you are able to follow someone else to judge the depth of the water.
- Flooding the engine of your car can cause the engine to stall, and deep water can actually float your car and take it off the roadway.
Steering clear of collisions
- You may need to take evasive action in poor weather to avoid a collision. Steering around an obstacle is preferred to braking at speeds above 25 mph because less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop.
Recognize a crisis
- When visibility is so limited that you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance, it’s time to pull off and wait for the rain to ease up. It’s best to stop at a rest area or exit the freeway and go to a protected area.
- If the roadside is your only option, pull off the road as far as you can, preferably past the end of a guardrail. Vehicles parked at the side of the road are frequently struck by other drivers.
- Respect the limitations of reduced visibility and turn headlights off and emergency flashes on to alert other drivers.