Seven Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain

If you live on the east coast, or even in the south, Spring can be one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. We know you might be thinking… spring, really? What about winter when the roads are covered with snow and ice?

According to the National Weather Service and the Federal Highway Administration, more weather-related vehicle crashes occur in heavy downpours then do in snow and sleet. That’s a scary thought considering spring (especially in Maryland) is one of the most wet times of year.

Fear not, there is no need to lock the keys away and stay off the road until summer. We have done some research and would like to share with you seven tips for successfully driving in heavy rain:

Tip #1: Make Sure your Windshield is Clean Your Wipers are Working Well
Rain, especially heavy rain, can make it difficult to see out your windshield. You will want to ensure that your car itself is not contributing to poor visibility by making sure your windshield is clean (both inside and outside) and that your wiper blades are fresh and in good condition. We suggest that you make it a point to clean your windshield once a month and to check your wipers, headlights, taillights and signals regularly.

Tip #2:  Be Conscious of Your Route
If you know the roads in your area are often slick when it rains, or of you know a certain area is prone to flooding, plan ahead! By planning ahead, you should allow enough time to get where you are going without having to exceed the speed limit. Also, if you usually take back roads, stick with the highway to decrease the changes of flooding.

Tip #3:  Slow Down!
When driving in the rain, our recommendation is to leave one cars length distance between you are the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour you are going. We have found that this allows for ample braking time and keeps you at a safe distance in case the car in front of you were to lose control and hydroplane.

Also, the posted speed limit is ideal for a perfect day with perfect road conditions and may not be the speed you feel comfortable driving in the rain.  Maintain a speed where you are comfortable and don’t let other drivers pressure you into driving faster.

Tip #4:  Use Your Lights So People Can See You
Most vehicles now-a-days come with automatic sensors that turn the light on when the surrounding lighting reach a certain level. Our recommendation is to actually turn your lights on when you are driving in the rain and using your windshield wipers. By turning the lights on, your taillights will come on. This is essential is helping people see all four corners of your vehicle when it dreary, dark and rainy.

Tip #5:  Don’t Get in too Deep
A good rule of thumb for determining if the rain in causing the roads to be unsafe is if water is covering the markings on the road, it’s too deep to drive on. According to James Solomon, subject matter expert on driver safety at the National Safety Council, you can lose control of your vehicle in as little as three inches of water on the road. That is no joke and a good reason to stay off roads that are prone to flooding fast.

Tip #6:  If You Lose Control, Remain Calm and Steer in the Direction You Want to Go
If you feel yourself hydroplaning or losing control of the vehicle, stay calm and steer your vehicle in the direction you want to go. Don’t be afraid if you don’t steer out of the skid on the first try. It may take three of four adjustments to get you back on course. Keep trying and try not to panic.

Tip #7:  Avoid Unnecessary Trips When It’s Raining
If you are not already on the road when a rain or thunderstorm hits, it may be a good idea to hang back and stay where you are until the heavy rain lightens up or stops all together. The more cars that are on the road during any kind of storm (snow or rain) the more difficult it can be to get from point A to point B. If it’s not an emergency or absolutely necessary for you to be on the road, it’s okay to stay home!

Our hope with providing these effective tips for driving safely in the rain is that everyone who reads them will make smarter decision and handle situations in the rain better than they did before. If you need a place to pick up wiper blades or need help with fixing a broken headlight, schedule an appointment with the Jones Junction service department. We are happy to help you out and give you the peace of mind you need to drive safely in the rain.

Categories: Tips for Car Owners

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