Tips for Driving In a Rain Storm
A Rain Storm can be Fun, but Not When Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 5.7 million vehicle accidents happen each year. Of this number, approximately 22% is weather-related. And surprisingly enough, the highest percentage of vehicle crashes occur during rainy weather (46%), rather than during winter weather (17%). Why? It’s as if people are saying that they are afraid of snow and sleet, but not so much of rain. So they stay home during adverse winter conditions, but drive as if everything is normal even during a rain storm. And that is a mistake that many have to learn from the hard way.
Aside from doing regular vehicle maintenance checks to ensure that everything is working properly, minimize the risk of becoming part of future rainy day vehicle crash statistical data by following these safety practices outlined by Big Sky Collision Center, your auto body shop of choice in Billings, MT.
Be extra careful and alert
With slippery roads and reduced visibility, keeping yourself safe will require a higher level of alertness so you can defend yourself better from unexpected circumstances when driving in the rain. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times. Listen to news bulletins and warnings too so you can stay away from flooded and danger-prone areas.
Driving fast is dangerous in itself. Driving fast during a rainfall is far more dangerous because roads become slippery, and tires have the tendency to slide, rather than grip the roads. Often people think that it’s “just a little rain” and they fail to drive appropriately. But water can be as slippery as ice. So when it’s raining, don’t follow the speed limit; instead, drive a little below it.
Give yourself more space
Don’t abide by the usual safe following distance (3-second rule). Increase it! Also, don’t follow large vehicles like trucks and buses as the spray caused by their big tires might hamper road visibility. And, avoid being boxed in. As much as possible, try to keep your left and right side open so that if ever the vehicle in front of you makes a sudden stop, you’ll have room to move and steer your car away.
Stay in the middle
Because rain water tends to accumulate on outside lanes, it will be safer to stay on the middle lanes.
When it gets dark, turn your lights on immediately. This will not only help you see the road better, it will also help other drivers see you much more easily. A good rule of thumb is, “wipers on, lights on.”
Turn off cruise control
While cruise control can help regulate your speed to maintain a safe driving distance, even its advanced version has its limitations, and driving through bad rain weather is one of those. So rather than rely on technology, you’ll be better off relying on your own vigilance and skill in this kind of situation.
When you need to slow down, gently ease your foot from your accelerator, instead of stepping on the brakes. And when you need to stop, don’t step on your brake too hard. Just apply mild pressure so there is less chance of going into a skid or locking your wheels. Unless, of course, you have anti-lock brakes.
Avoid driving through water
If you can’t see the road because it is covered by deep water or moving water, don’t drive through it as you might risk damaging the electrical system of your car. Even worse, moving water can sweep your car off the road. Stay away from big puddles too because what appears to be just a harmless puddle might turn out to be a dangerously deep one.
Guard against hydroplaning
Hydroplaning happens when your car loses contact with the road and rides on top of a layer of water instead. When your car hydroplanes, it becomes prone to spinning or skidding. Stay calm and in control by slowly taking your foot off the accelerator and steering straight until your wheels regain traction. If you need to brake, do so gently.
Don’t force it
When it is raining too hard and you feel you can no longer stay in proper control because you can’t see what’s in front of you, stop and pull over to the side of the road. Just resume driving when the weather condition and road visibility improves.
Bring Your Dents to Big Sky Collision Center
Big Sky Collision Center is here to help you get back on the road. While we don’t have too many rain storms here in Montana, we do get quite a few in the spring. So if you find yourself caught in the rain, make sure to pay attention to these tips so that you aren’t spinning out of control.
If you get in a fender bender, don’t worry. Just give us a call at 406-259-6328 and we’ll get you an appointment to have your vehicle repaired. Our auto repair specialists in Billings are great at their job; they’ll get your car fixed up in no time.