Did you know that over 3,400 deaths and over 357,000 injuries occur annually in the United States due to driving in the rain? We all know that rain compromises how well our vehicles engage with the road, but few of us really know how significantly wet roads can impact our car’s driving capabilities. Of course you’ve heard of hydroplaning, but aside from that we rarely consider how terribly heavy rain can affect overall visibility and a whole host of other issues. We’ve reached out to safety experts and compiled a list of safety tips and advice you can put into practice to have an overall safer experience while driving in the rain.
Our favorite safety tips for driving in the rain:
- Keep your windshield wipers in new and clean condition. This may come as a surprise, but you should consider replacing your windshield wipers every 6 to 12 months. When deciding to replace your wipers, you may want to take a few things into consideration: Did you buy quality wipers that need to be replaced less than usual? How much wear and tear is on your current set of wipers (or in other words, how much have you used your wipers since last replacing them)? This can impact whether you should speed up your wiper replacement timeline or wait a bit longer before shelling out for a new set.
- Keep your windshield wiper fluid topped up. Have you ever picked up a wet, dirty rock? Did you notice that the dirt and residue from the rock stuck to your skin even after you put it down? Well, the same phenomenon can occur on your windshield when its raining and the speed demon or truck driver beside you decides to zoom by, splashing your car with dirty water from the road. When you are already dealing with low visibility due to the rain, the last thing you need is a dirty windshield. Having wiper fluid can save you the hassle of an emergency stop to clean your windshield.
- Avoid using your cruise control or ACC system during heavy rainfall. Inclement weather can significantly impact the cruise control system’s ability to safely maintain your vehicle’s speed and avoid hydroplaning. Not only that, but according to Psychological Science, cruise control tends to slow users’ reaction times by approximately 5 seconds. You will want your wits about you and your vehicle under your control to avoid driving through a massive still water puddle at 65 MPH or if you need to swerve out of the way because a vehicle in front of you has lost control.
- Speaking of reaction times, keep at least 4 seconds of space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you in the event that you need to avoid a collision. Typically the rule of thumb is 3 seconds, but in the rain you’re better off leaving additional space. If you haven’t heard of this rule before, the idea is that you should pass the same object as the vehicle in front of you at least 4 seconds after they have.
- Drive slow! This one is obvious, but we’ve seen plenty of AWD vehicles speed by us like they have no care in the world. If you need to drive slower than the speed limit for safety reasons or because you’re uncomfortable with current weather conditions, be sure to turn your hazard lights on so the vehicles around you can be cautious near you. Finally, allow for additional travel time when it’s raining, snowing, sleeting or otherwise. This will allow you time to take every precaution so you can get to your destination safely.
A Quick PSA: AWD is a useful safety feature, but is by no means a reason for you to drive like a jerk in inclement weather. Slow down to save a life.
Driving in the rain can be difficult, but these precautions will make it easier for both yourself and other drivers on the road to keep safe. If you follow these guidelines, you will be better prepared to handle the rain, snow or any other weather condition you’re dealing with. Finally, as a reminder, if it is torrentially downpouring outside, it’s best to wait until the weather clears up before hitting the road.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident due to inclement weather, call the Parrish Law Firm for a FREE case evaluation at (571) 229 – 1800.