Tips for Driving Safely in Strong Wind and Rain

Often times, we don’t think about ways in which to respond to hazardous events because, well, we rarely think these events will happen to us. It’s important however that you do have some level of control over events that could happen to you, in this case, if you ever find yourself driving through rough weather conditions. Read more to learn what you can do to drive safely in strong wind and rain this winter!

Keep Your Car Maintained

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Your Windows

  • Clean the inside and outside of your windows regularly to remove dirt, dust, mud, smoke, fingerprints, grime, and other materials.
  • If your windows fog up, turn on the air conditioning or cold air in the car and aim the vents at the windows. Turn on the rear defroster, and open the windows if necessary to increase the airflow.

Your Lights

  • Check regularly to make sure none of your lights have burnt out, and replace dead lights immediately. This includes headlights, brake lights, turn signals, tail lights, and running lights.
  • Keep the light covers on your car clean so that dust and dirt don’t reduce their efficacy.

Your Tires

  • New tires generally have about 10/32 of an inch of tread. Tires should be replaced when the tread gets to 4/32 of an inch. Tires with 2/32 of an inch or less of tread are unsafe and shouldn’t be used.[3]

Drive Appropriately for the Conditions

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  • Turn on your windshield wipers. Along with keeping your windshield clean, you can also improve your visibility in wet conditions by ensuring that your wipers are up to the job, and by using the right washer fluid.
  • Slow down. During any inclement weather or unfavorable driving conditions, your first reaction should always be to adjust your speed accordingly. Wet roads reduce your traction, and slowing down reduces the chances of you skidding out, and will give you more time to react to emergencies.
  • Stay focused. When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important to always pay attention to the road, other cars, and pedestrians.
  • Turn your lights on. When it starts to rain, turn on your headlights immediately, regardless of whether it’s day or night
  • Drive with both hands on the wheel. You should always drive with your hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on the steering wheel, because this gives you maximum control if you have to turn, swerve, or react quickly.
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes. Slamming on the brakes can cause you to slide forward, and you won’t be able to control the car. Hitting the brakes too hard can also force water into your brakes, making them less effective.
  • Take turns slowly. Turning too quickly on a wet road can cause your tires to hydroplane, and this means you won’t be able to control the car, and could skid out.
  • Pull over if necessary. Never be afraid to pull over to the side of the road if you don’t feel comfortable driving.

Know How to Respond in Emergencies

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  • Turn around if you encounter deep or moving water. Driving through deep or moving water can be hazardous for a number of reasons, including that you could get stuck, stall out, damage the car or the electrical components, or be swept away.
  • Be prepared to react if you hydroplane. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles (56 km) per hour, and when it happens your car may not react when you turn the steering wheel, and your back end may feel loose. In the event that your car does hydroplane:
    • Stay calm
    • Avoid turning the steering wheel
    • Ease your foot off the accelerator
    • Apply slow and gentle pressure to the brakes
  • Know what to do if you start to skid. Skidding on a wet road can be particularly frightening, but like any emergency situation, the key is remaining calm. Then, look where you want to go, ease your foot off the accelerator, and gently steer in the direction you want to travel.

 
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