Hopefully, the worst weather in which you’ll ever drive is a light drizzle but realistically, that’s not always the case. If you’re driving home and a storm hits, don’t panic! While being in the eye of the storm can be daunting, there are always ways to reduce your risk of being in an accident. Here are some tips for driving home in the rain:
- Be on high alert if this storm is happening after a drought
A period of hot and dry weather can allow grease and oil to accumulate on the roads, and especially on the highways. If this happens, it makes it that much easier for cars to slide or hydroplane on the road. If you can avoid driving during the first rain of the season, do so. If not, be extremely cautious and drive slowly and steadily.
- Give the people around you space
You need more room to come to a complete stop on a wet road than you do on a dry one. If you follow someone at the same distance as you would during dry weather, you’re basically asking to rear-end them. Make sure to account for the rain when behind another car.
- Utilize your headlights
Many states, but not all, require you to use headlights during a storm. Regardless of your state’s laws, always turn your headlights on the minute that a storm hits. When the skies darken and it’s raining sideways, it’s hard to tell if you’re the only person on the road. If you’d like to avoid a collision, play it safe in flip your lights on.
- Slow down
This goes hand in hand with the above rule about following distance. It doesn’t matter if the speed limit is 70 mph if you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you, slow down until it clears up a bit. It’s hard to stop in the rain, and even harder to stop when you’re driving extremely fast. Make things easier on yourself and take things nice and slow. This also reduces the chances that you’ll hydroplane.
- Take care of your windshield wipers
It’s pointless to have windshield wipers if they’re old and falling apart. Regularly check to make sure yours are in top condition – they may end up saving your life.
- Turn off cruise control
It might seem safer to let your car be the one in control during the storm, even more so if you’re not used to driving in the rain and are feeling a bit nervous. But, if your car ends up hydroplaning, it will actually be more prone to accelerating if cruise control is on! Turn the cruise control off and pull over if you don’t feel like you’re in control of your car.
- Use both hands
Put down your food, and stop fiddling with the radio. Using both hands on the steering wheel allows you to have greater control over the car and can help with your reaction time. There’s a reason you were taught to drive using both hands.