Driving Safely in Inclement Weather

Heavy rainfall can create slick driving conditions with next to no visibility. This type of situation requires that a driver adjust their typical driving style.
Follow these precautionary measures to stay safe while driving in rainy or stormy conditions.
  • First and foremost, slow down.  By reducing your speed, you’ll have more time to react if another car loses control or you encounter a puddle of water.
  • When you know you’ll be driving in rainy conditions, allow for extra travel time.
  • Turn on your headlights to help you see better and to allow other motorists to spot you better. Avoid using your high beams, because you could blind other drivers and the extra light will bounce off the rain droplets, causing more of a distraction for you.
  • Don’t drive with your hazard lights on.
  • If it is raining for the first time in awhile, roads can become extra slippery. In dry weather, engine oil and grease build up on the road and when this combines with water, it makes for a slick drive.
  • Beware of hydroplaning, when your vehicle travels on top of the water and has very little or no contact with the ground. When this happens, you lose or significantly reduce your traction, so you shouldn’t make any sudden motions. The best thing to do is to keep calm, take your foot off the gas, and steer straight in the direction you want to go.
  • Stay closer to the middle of the road and avoid the side of the road, where deep puddles can form.
  • If you encounter a large puddle, don’t drive straight through it. Attempt to drive around it, or turn around and try a different route. It can be hard to tell how deep a puddle is by looking at it.
  • If you do drive through a large puddle, tap the brake pedal lightly to help dry your brakes.
  • Brake earlier and with less pressure than you’d use in normal conditions. Doing so will add more stopping distance between the driver in front of you and yourself. This will also give the driver behind a heads-up that you’re slowing down. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep more than three seconds of distance between you and the car you’re following in bad weather.
  • Don’t cross through running water. The water could be deeper than you think and it could be moving with a lot of more force than you think so there’s a chance your vehicle could get pushed around a little, or even swept away in the current.
  • If the rain causes your windshield to fog up, turn on your window defrosters. Check that the air conditioning is switched on so you can clear away the fog as soon as possible.
  • Keep extra distance from large trucks or buses – the spray from their tires can block your vision and make it extremely difficult to see. Try to avoid passing them, but if you absolutely have to, make the pass as quickly as you safely can.
  • If the rain is coming down so hard that you can’t see anything, find a safe spot to pull over and wait for the downpour to stop. Turn on your hazard lights so other cars can see that you’re on the side of the road.

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