Follow tips for rainy day driving
April showers bring May flowers, and often a lot of rain, which can make driving treacherous, especially after a long, dry period.
Here are some tips for getting safely from point A to point B:
Be cautious of “hydroplaning”
During heavy rainfall, your tires might ride on water atop the pavement. This is known as hydroplaning, and the loss of tractionwill decrease your steering control. Hydroplaning is more likely to occur if you drive at high speeds or if your tires aren’t inflated properly.
Avoid deep water
Never drive through moving water, especially if you cannot see the ground beneath. You could drift away with no control. Look for alternative paths. Driving through deep water can severely damage your car and pose a threat to your well-being.
If you pass through a deep puddle of water, pump your brakes. The water can saturate the brakes, decreasing their ability to function. Brake lightly to dry them out.
It will take longer to do anything in the rain. You won’t be able to stop or turn as quickly. You also won’t have the same level of control. The other vehicles on the road won’t either. This becomes especially important on curves and expressway ramps.
Increase following distance
Your following distance needs to be increased in the rain for two reasons: (1) your reaction time will be worse, due to your hindered vision and the car’s decreased efficiency and (2) the likelihood that the automobile ahead will do something unexpected will increase drastically.
Turn on low beam headlights
Since rain makes it harder to see, turn your headlights on. Some states require headlights for any weather that requires windshield wipers. Keep in mind that high headlight beams can cause a glare from the rain. This actually decreases visibility.
Signal your turns well in advance
You need to be courteous to other drivers. There are many reasons a car behind you might not react to your direction in time if you signal with standard timing. They might have fewer chances to see it through the rain, or their car might not respond fast enough.
Pull over if necessary
Sometimes the rain can be so heavy that you simply cannot see outside, or cannot see well enough to operate a motor vehicle. Under these circumstances, pull to the side of the road as far from the traffic as possible. Keep headlights and emergency flashers on to alert other drivers of your presence.
Jerry Reynolds is an auto industry expert and the host of nationally syndicated Car Pro Show, heard Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on News Radio KTRH 740 AM. For more information, visit www.carprousa.com.