Safe Driving Habits When it Rains
What is with Florida lately? How can we call it “The Sunshine State” when it’s been raining almost all day every day? May 15th was the official start of the rainy season and it’s pretty much been raining ever since. Umbrellas are becoming useless with a little wind, and many of us on the road can no longer enjoy a little open window driving without the fear of getting washed out. Speaking of driving on the road, or off-road if you enjoy a little mudding, getting one’s car ready for rainy weather isn’t a practice to overlook. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46 percent of weather-related crashes happen during rainfall; 17 percent occur during snow or sleet. It’s not too late to get a vehicle rain ready.
When it comes to fixing up one’s car for the rain, having the right equipment is key, especially tire tread. There’s the old advice of inserting a quarter upside between the tread of a tire, and if the tread touches Washington’s head it’s time to start shopping for new tires. But this is the rainy season, and even if the tires on a car look a little worn out, getting them replaced will make keeping the vehicle in control a little easier. Check out other parts of the vehicle, too.
Are the windshield wiper blades still working efficiently? Are they clearing all the water and leaving a clear windshield or are they leaving lots of streaks of water? Many of us should know by now whether they are, and if the rubber has worn down, then they need to be replaced to help keep vision clear during rainfall and on the road. While checking out the windshield wipers, also make sure the headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals are all working. Not only will these come in handy when navigating the roads in poor weather conditions, but they will also help your neighbors on the road know your intentions. Plus, having a busted head or tail light is a quick way to get a citation, and that’s no fun, especially on a rainy day.
Techniques and Driving Behavior
We can’t always control how our vehicle reacts to certain conditions. Take hydroplaning for example – what a scary situation that is. Hydroplaning is when the tires of a vehicle can’t make a connection with the ground, there’s no grip between the road and the tires, and the vehicle is basically travelling on water. It doesn’t take much either – a vehicle going as slow as 35 mph can hydroplane in certain conditions. When this happens, easing up on speed is the best move to take. Also make a habit to just avoid large puddles or flooded areas – driving through these can cause water damage to mechanisms that make up the powertrain or flood the engine altogether.
We also can’t control how other people drive on the road. It’s easy to let road rage take over when someone cuts us off or practically inhales our exhaust because they can’t fathom the idea of merging into the next lane. Don’t let these people get to you. Let karma play that game!
There are many good techniques to help when driving in rainy conditions. The one every driver knows is to slow down. Hydroplaning happens a lot easier at high speeds, wet pavement makes it hard for tires to get traction, and in rainy weather, tires can lose about a third of their traction. A good rule of thumb when driving in heavy rain is to drop 10-15 mph, or a third of the total speed limit, from your speed gauge.
Another good technique is to increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. It may be tempting to keep close in traffic, we don’t want someone cutting us off to get into the “faster” lane, but if we’re already slowing down to avoid an incident, what’s a little extra distance for a little insurance? Better to drive safe and keep the vehicle in control as much as possible, while you can.
These are just a few rainy day techniques, but we know there are plenty. Have some to share? Let us know on University Mitsubishi social media.
Photo Source/Copyright: YouTube/Florida Cracka