According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are annually more than 450,000 injuries caused by crashes in adverse weather conditions, especially on slick pavements. Two key factors to be considered in order to avoid an accident while driving on rain-soaked highways or streets, are speed and visibility.
Most driving experts agree that slowing down is one of the most important things drivers can do when driving in the rain. It is recommended that when driving over 35 mph, your speed should be reduced by 5 mph for every posted speed limit. (In other words, if the posted speed limit is 50, you would slow down to 45). The other thing to remember is to keep your headlights on – that not only helps you see, but helps you be seen by other drivers.
Please consider these tips for safe driving in the rain:
- Don’t follow the car in front of you too closely because your ability to slow down will be hindered by the wet road.
- Oily deposits at intersections can be very hazardous when mixed with rain, causing a chance for skidding.
- Staying in the same lane is safer than changing lanes frequently.
- Be sure your tires are in good condition; bald tires will reduce traction, which can result in hydroplaning, if you are traveling too fast.
- Replace windshield wipers once a year.
- Be sure to watch for car’s brake lights in front of you.
- Humidity causes windows to fog up, so use the defroster to keep windows clear.
- Pedestrians and animals are harder to see during rain, so reducing your speed could help you avoid injury to someone or something else, as well as yourself.
- Never drive through moving water. If water comes to the bottom of your car doors, or the bottom one-third of your tires, do not try to go through it. Attempting that may cause you to be washed off the road. Water can also cause serious damage to the electrical system of the car.
- Use a light touch when steering and braking.
- Driving slowly and carefully can help you keep from skidding.
A good idea for those who drive in rain, snow, or other adverse conditions is to keep a “care package” in the car. Take blankets, snacks, water, ice scraper, flashlight, and a First Aid Kit with you at all times, just in case.
There’s a theory going around that wearing sunglasses when driving in the rain increases your visibility. Personally, I haven’t tried it, but guess it wouldn’t hurt to try. We checked this out on Snopes.com, and it’s still being researched.
Please drive with care in rainy or sunny weather. Let’s leaving the “spinning out” to the winning NASCAR drivers!