5 Tips to Remember for Driving Safely in the Rain

5 Tips to Remember for Driving Safely in the Rain

Driving in the rain

Singing in the rain is fun. But driving in it? Not so much. Driving in light or heavy floods, or even just rainy, stormy conditions can be anxiety inducing. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are on average more than 950,000 automobile accidents each year due to wet pavement, resulting in approximately 4,700 deaths and 384,000 injuries.

Being behind the wheel with a rain-splattered windshield doesn’t have to be a white-knuckled, nerve-racking experience. Tips and techniques for driving in a downpour:

  1. Think. Many people drive subconsciously, out of habit, when it rains, people often don’t adjust their thinking. When conditions are less than ideal, drivers need to stay alert and focused on what’s going on around them.
  2. Turn on those headlights. It’s the law in all states to turn on headlights when visibility is low, and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use. Well-working wipers and relatively new (not threadbare) tires are must-haves when driving in rain, especially when driving at high speeds on the highway.
  3. Beware of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is the technical term for what occurs when your tires lose traction with the road due to excess water on top of the road. The result is that your vehicle begins to slide uncontrollably. It’s easy to hydroplane: all you need is one-twelfth of an inch of rain on the road and a speed of more than 35 miles per hours. If your tires have extensive wear and tear, you are more highly likely to hydroplane. You can hydroplane even if you are driving a four-wheel drive car, SUV, or truck. 

    If you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator (gas pedal) slowly, and steer straight until you regain control. If your car starts to spin, turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning, slowly. Do not turn your wheel against the direction it has begun to spin. Do not jerk the wheel sharply in one direction or the other, as you could flip your car due to over correction

    Consider taking a driving course through your local DMV to learn how to drive safer on wet roads and better avoid hydroplaning.  
  4. Turn off cruise control. Ironically, on rain- or snow- slick surfaces, cruise control may cause you to lose control. You might think it’ll help you stay at one steady speed, but if you hydroplane while you’re in cruise control, your car will actually go faster.
  5. Slow down. Speed limit signs are designed for ideal conditions, which means driving when you have little traffic and good visibility. That’s hardly the environment you’re driving in when it’s raining. So, let up on the accelerator and allow more time to get to your destination.
  6. Be extra cautious with merging lanes. Motorists should drive defensively and take precautions when passing vehicles to prevent merging collisions.

Extra precautions might help ease the anxiety associated with driving in the rain, making it safer for everyone. If a crash does happen, make sure you know the steps to take after a crash.

After Auto Accidents: Mobile Help and Quick Tips

People looking at scratches on car after accident

Although no two auto accidents are alike, there are preparation and post-accident steps that every driver should take — Here’s what you need to know:

Before an auto accident…

Remember ABP: Always Be Prepared.

  • Print a copy of your insurance to keep handy
  • Stash a copy of your insurance card and registration in your vehicle.
  • Keep a camera handy to document any post-accident damage. If you don’t have a phone that could be used for this purpose, consider spending a few dollars on a disposable camera to keep in your vehicle.

After an auto accident…

Ask yourself: Is anyone hurt? If so, immediately contact emergency services for help.

Always call the police, no matter the severity of the accident. If the accident is minor, you may be asked to file a police report on your own, which you should do.

Get out of the way, if you can.

  • If the vehicles are drivable, move them to a spot on the shoulder or otherwise out of the way of traffic.
  • Turn on your hazard lights and set up emergency cones, if you have them.
  • Get out of the vehicle, unless it is unsafe to do so.

Record all the details.

  • Ask other drivers to share their details, too. That information will be needed once fault and financial responsibility are established. Make sure to record if they are the car owners.
  • Take notes about what you remember of the accident, and take photos, too.
  • Ask for and keep a copy of the police report.

What happens next:

Call your insurance company to begin the claims process. Coverage levels and determination of fault will help outline who is financially responsible for repairs and other costs, including medical bills.

What you should never do:

  • Don’t try to assign blame.
  • Don’t sign anything from anyone other than the police.
  • Don’t leave the scene.

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