Regardless of how much experience and expertise we think we have behind the wheel, driving in the rain can be quite challenging, even to the best drivers. Besides the challenge, rain represents a serious risk that we need to manage with extreme caution. Because of the wet asphalt and the limited visibility, it is important for us to stay alert, as this can keep us, and others on the road, safe from having a serious accident. These are 5 essentials tips every driver should keep in mind when driving in the rain.
With time, driving becomes second nature to most of us, and we tend to do this out of a habit. This can be quite dangerous, as we might not be paying undivided attention to the road and to everything that surrounds us. Driving subconsciously, especially when it rains, can put us at risk of causing an accident, so we need to adjust our thinking to each different situation, and become aware of the dangers of not doing so.
One of the most important law requirements we need to remember is that we should always turn on the headlights of our vehicle when driving under the rain. Every state requires drivers to use their headlights whenever they experience situations of low visibility, and in some states, headlights are required whenever the windshields wipers are being used.
Wet roads are one of the most dangerous surfaces to drive on, as slipper asphalt can cause our car to hydroplane, resulting in a serious accident. Hydroplaning happens when the tires of our vehicle lose traction when on a wet surface, which could make our car or truck slide on the road uncontrollably. The best way to avoid hydroplaning is by making sure we drive at a speed under 35 miles per hour and avoiding any sudden or violent turns.
If we are driving a vehicle that comes with cruise control, the best thing to do when driving on a rainy or snow day is turning it off. It might sound counterintuitive at first, especially when this feature has been designed to help us keep a steady speed. However, when we drive on slippery surfaces, cruise control wouldn’t allow us to adjust our speed, which could turn into a very dangerous situation, making our vehicle hydroplane and even worse, crashing into another car or going out of the road.
Lastly, we need to be extra careful when merging lanes if we are driving in the rain. Driving defensively is a great technique to use, as it will allow us to reduce the risk of collision. If we are passing other vehicles, we need to make sure we are clear, remaining aware of other motorists on the road. Wet asphalt and slippery surfaces will make it more difficult for us to maneuver and avoid hitting another car or any obstacle that we may come across. Therefore, we should always slow down, stay below speed limits, and merge lanes only if absolutely necessary.