It’s finally Springtime, which is a welcome change from the icy cold winds and blankets of snow, but April also means rain. As they say, “April showers bring May flowers,” which also brings dangerous driving conditions.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving in the rain is actually more dangerous than driving in the snow! Believe it or not, 46% of weather-related crashes happened during rainfall over the past 10 years, and only 17% were during snow or sleet. Although people are certainly just more likely to stay home during a bad snowstorm, the statistics are also explained by the fact that people just do not adjust their driving habits to these hazardous conditions.
How should you prepare for the weather this month, then? Here’s some tips:
- Prep your car. Tire tread is extremely important for wet road conditions. To see if your tires are good to go, take a Quarter and insert it upside down into your tire tread – if you can see the top of Washington’s head at any point, you have less than 4/32 inch of tread left and you should probably replace your tires. Also be sure to check your tire pressure regularly, and make sure your windshield wipers, headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are working correctly.
- Slow down! Traction on the roads decline significantly when wet – about 1/3 less traction than you normally have, actually! Because of this 1/3 loss, slow down your speed by about 1/3 to make up for it.
- Back off of the car in front of you. This should go without saying, but leave plenty of space between the front of your car and the back of the car in front of you. This will give you enough time to stop suddenly if necessary.
- Know which technologies are helpful, and which aren’t. Technologies such as cruise control or forward collision warning systems can oftentimes be negatively impacted by wet weather and reduce their reliability. However, traction control is a great thing to have on a rainy day – it will help your tires from slipping on the wet pavement. Antilock braking systems (ABS) can also be helpful on rainy days to allow you to keep control of your steering wheel during hard breaking. Finally, anti-skid control and lane-keeping assist features would be a great backup to rely on if all else fails in dangerous conditions.
- Know how to handle your car in a Hydroplane. If you find yourself in this situation, gently take your foot off the gas – it may transfer the weight of your car to the front tires to help gain contact with the road again. If this doesn’t work, try gently pressing the brakes. Whatever you do, though, don’t try and steer out of it – it very well might take you off the road or into a lane of oncoming traffic.
Generally speaking, you should always be on the lookout in less than perfect weather, and you should always do everything you can to prepare yourself for it! Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to you during this rainy Spring month! For more tips or if you have questions about your current coverage, be sure to reach out to us and learn more!