Tips For Driving Safely In The Rain

Find yourself traveling in slick rain conditions? Here are some tips on driving safely in the rain.

As it stands, driving can be very dangerous, whether you are on a normal residential street or on a busy highway. With the advent of cell phones, satellite radio and global positioning systems as standard automobile fixtures, driving distractions are at an all-time high. Now, when you throw in other hazards like rainy conditions, driving can make even the safest driver become filled with anxiety. Here are some tips for driving safely in rainy conditions.

* The first few hours of rain are often the most dangerous. In normal dry weather conditions, the roads become covered with a thin layer of oil from car engines, which goes unnoticed. That is, until a light drizzle begins and the rain mixes with the oil to create ultra-slick driving conditions. You always want to be cautious when driving in the rain, but be a little extra cautious when the rain first starts.

* You always want to be on top of your car maintenance to prevent car troubles down the road; however, car maintenance will also help a driver during slick road conditions. One of the leading causes of skids and hydroplaning during rainy conditions is low tire pressure and tires that have thin and worn tread. Check your tire pressure regularly and keep up with your car's basic maintenance issues. In addition to your automobile's tires, be sure to check your windshield wipers to ensure they are always in good working condition. You will want to replace them at least once every year. You do not want to be caught in a rainstorm with wipers that hardly clear the water from your windshield.

* When it begins to rain, turn on your headlights (not your brights) so you are better able to see the cars in front of you and so the cars around you can see you better, as well.

* If you have an appointment to get to or if you are heading to work, leave earlier than normal. You will want to drive a little slower than normal on rainy days due to the road conditions.

* The rule of thumb when driving in normal dry conditions is to keep two cars distance in between you and the car in front of you. Increase this distance when driving in the rain. You will want to have more room should you need to make a quick stop.

* It has been said that when it is raining, the water tends to collect on either side of the road, so try to stay in the middle lane where there will be fewer puddle collections and, thus, less chance of hydroplaning.

* Experts advise against using cruise control when driving in rainy conditions for two reasons. One, using cruise control tends to make the driver keep their feet away from both the gas and brake pedals. If the driver needs to stop for any reason, his reaction time will be greatly increased due to his foot having to travel a greater distance to the pedals. A split second can make all the difference. Second, if an automobile does start to hydroplane, this can cause the car to automatically accelerate to pick up the slack and to keep the car going at the established cruise control speed.

* If the rain becomes so heavy that you can hardly see the car in front of you, pull over to a safe location like a rest stop, gas station or convenience store until the rain begins to clear and you feel you can see more clearly. As your mother always said, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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