According to the FWHA, 75% of motor vehicle accidents occur on wet pavement and 47% happen when it’s raining. With our neighbors to the south recently experiencing a hurricane and heavy rainstorms, now is the time to remember what we can do as motorists to avoid accidents while operating our vehicles in the rain.
If you feel uncomfortable driving in the rain, the safest option is to wait until the storm passes. No trip is worth endangering your life or others. If you feel that you’re capable, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always check that your vehicle is in proper working order before braving rainy weather. Working lights, windshield wipers and mirrors are especially important. Also ensure your tires are not balding. Bad tire treads could result in you losing traction on a wet road.
- Watch your speed. It’s important to follow the speed limit when driving on wet roads. Consider driving a bit slower than normal during rain storms. Your vehicle’s reaction time is slower during inclement weather.
- Turn on your headlights; it’s required by law in the state of Georgia. It will allow you to see during a storm and it improves visibility of your vehicle to other drivers. Them seeing you is as important as you seeing them.
- Use your wipers. Windshield wipers are crucial in improving your ability to see while driving in the rain. In a heavy downpour, they make all the difference.
- Maintain distance between vehicles. Stopping is more difficult in the rain. So try to maintain the length of at least two cars between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Avoid hard braking. Slow down by easing off the accelerator earlier than normal, then brake smoothly.
- Avoid standing water if possible. Driving over standing water can cause hydroplaning. Change lanes or steer around the collected water.
- If you do hydroplane, let off the gas. Take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that you want the front of your vehicle to go. Hydroplaning is one of the most common types of accidents that a driver can experience in the rain, so it’s important to remember this tip.
- Ventilate your vehicle. If you’re having trouble seeing out of your windows due to developing fog, turn on your car’s ventilation system right away. If the fog is too dense you should pull over.
Remember these tips and driving in the rain will become less stressful and your chances of being involved in an accident will be greatly decreased.