9 Tips for Driving in the Rain
After months of snow, sleet, slush, and freezing rain, the sunny weather we’ve all been waiting for is here. But even as we enjoy the summer months, storms bringing thunder and rain are still all too common.
You may not realize it, but driving in sudden downpours and heavy rain can be just as dangerous as travelling on icy roads. Rainfall creates slippery driving conditions and can significantly reduce visibility.
Situations such as these require drivers to adjust their driving style to stay safe. To help you and your passengers stay safe, here are our top 9 tips for driving safely in the rain.
1. Keep your car in good condition
Maintaining your car in top working condition is crucial to keeping you and your passengers safe on the road.
Make sure to clean the exterior and interior of windshields and windows so your view of the road is clear.
Do a quick check of the headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and tire treads before driving the car every day. Any faults in these systems make driving hazardous and is also an offence.
It’s essential, too, to ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition, especially after the harsh winter season.
The extremes of heat and cold in Canada can cause wipers to wear out faster than expected, and you may need to replace the rubber strip in the wiper blade to ensure that your wipers are working as they should.
You should also check the level of your washer fluid every week.
Next are your tires. You’ll need good tires with lots of treads to be safe on the road, but check the inflation pressure of your tires as well. Tires lose a pound of pressure a month on average, so check them regularly to avoid a blown tire.
2. Slow down
While it may seem obvious, this tip is not usually practised.
When driving in rainy weather, reduce your speed and leave at least five seconds of distance between your car and the vehicle in front.
Reduced visibility from rainfall makes it harder for drivers to detect hazards. Wet roads also reduce friction between the tires and the road, which means braking and turning require more distance.
Driving slower will allow you more time to react if another car loses control or you need to turn or brake.
3. Switch on the lights
Make sure to turn on your headlights so that your tail lights also come on. This ensures that other drivers on the road can see you and keep the appropriate distance.
However, avoid turning on your high beams as the brighter light will reflect off wet surfaces and cause a distraction for yourself and other drivers.
4. Don’t drive through large puddles
As tempting as it is to speed through a large puddle, it is usually a bad idea.
It’s difficult to gauge just how deep a puddle is by looking at it. You could hit a deep pothole or splash water into the car’s electrical system. Instead, try to drive around it or find a different route.
5. Beware of hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is when your vehicle has very little or no contact with the ground and instead just glides on top of the water.The most important thing to do is stay calm, ease off the gas, and slowly steer the car in the direction you want.
6. Stick to the middle
Most roads in Canada are paved slightly higher in the middle, with the sides sloping down to allow water run-off. Avoid driving on the sides of the road where deep puddles can form, and stick closer to the middle line.
7. Dry the brakes
Wet roads cause wet brakes. Some cars are programmed to remove water from the brakes automatically, but you can also do this manually after splashing through a wet spot by lightly tapping the brake pedals to dry the rotors.
8. Keep your distance
When driving in the rain, make sure you’re maintaining a greater distance than usual from the vehicle in front of you.
Stay well back from big trucks or buses, as sprays from their tires can block your vision and make it difficult to see.
9. Hold off your trip
The best way to stay safe when the roads are wet is to keep off the roads unless necessary.
Remember to check the weather forecast, as the rain may worsen, and it can be dangerous if you’re not prepared for it.
Driving can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially when the conditions are less than optimal. That’s why staying protected with the right car insurance policy is crucial.
At Oegema, Nicholson & Associates, our team of professional insurance brokers is here to help you build the right automobile insurance policy to protect your every need in Ottawa. To request a quote today or learn more about your options, call us at 613-704-7766 or contact us here.