Tips for Driving Safely during Rainy Days
Some bad driving habits, ones that don't cause trouble when the road is dry, can be deadly in the rain.
The following tips could save your life and the lives of others if you decide to drive in the rain, either on short or long trips.
Don't drive toward the sides of the road
While this may not always be possible (you might be on a narrow one-lane road and the sides may be the only place you have to drive), you should practice this whenever you drive, and here's why:
Roads are constructed so that they're highest in the middle. The difference may be slight, but it causes water to run off the center hump (called a crown) and drain toward the edges.
If you're driving in the rain you want to avoid standing water, which means that you want to be where the water isn't - and that's in the center of the road. While the center won't be dry either, especially if it's still raining, it's going to be the driest place on the road.
Turn on your headlights
When it's raining, headlights can help others see you better. In the gloom of a rainstorm, even a light drizzly one, the lack of sunlight casts a grayish tone over everything and it's harder to see other objects. Driving with your lights on in these conditions reduces the chance of someone not seeing your car, and hence there is less chance of a collision.
Just make sure that you're not driving with your high beams on, so that you're not blinding other drivers.
Don't drive if the windshield is so covered with rain that you can't see
You shouldn't drive if there is too much water on the windshield. It's easy to miss dangers when the rain is thick and your wipers can't keep up with the deluge.
There could be stopped cars in front of you that you can't see. or there may be pedestrians wandering into your path.
When visibility gets low, pull over as quickly as it's safe to do so. Stop your car and play Angry Birds on your smart phone (or listen to music). Wait out the torrent until your wipers can clear the water properly.
Don't drive through flooded areas
If you see water flowing across the road from one side to the other and don't know how deep it is, don't try to drive across it!
Every year, hapless drivers figure their cars won't be harmed by fording a tiny little stream of rainwater and then find themselves swept away.
And even if the water isn't moving, if the bottom isn't visible you don't know what's underneath it. There could be a large pothole in which your vehicle could get stuck.
Don't drive too fast for conditions
Speed limits exist to tell you how safe it is to drive under good conditions. When conditions are bad and roads are wet, you should drive slower than posted speed limits. The worse the conditions, the lower the speed you should drive.
The worst danger of driving too fast in rain is hydroplaning.
Usually your tires can slice their way through the water in front of them and keep in contact with the surface of the road. But when the road is wet and you're going too fast, your car can actually begin to float on top of the water and the tire tread loses contact with the road surface.
When that happens, you can no longer steer. You can no longer brake. This is what happens when you hydroplane.
And you often don't know that you're hydroplaning until you hit the brakes and the car goes skidding out of control.
If you do start to hydroplane, don't hit the brakes, because that just makes it worse. Let up on the accelerator so that any remaining traction can slow your speed.
If you do start to hydroplane, don't try to turn. If the car is veering off in a direction you don't want to go, don't fight it; just follow your wheels and take your foot off the gas. As the car slows, suddenly you'll be back under control.
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