Springtime means driving in the rain, and while this isn’t quite as much of a challenge as driving in winter weather, you still need to adjust your driving style when it’s wet.
Not only are wet roads slick, but heavy rain can also obscure visibility and cause traffic to slow down, making roads more congested. These 5 tips for driving in the rain will make sure that you and your car are ready when the rain starts to fall.
Before the rain starts, check your wiper blades. If you notice any rips or missing pieces of rubber, then it’s time for a new pair. Even if the rubber looks good, if your wipers leave streaks all over your windshield, then it’s time to have them replaced. Because visibility is reduced in rainy weather, it’s important to ensure that your wipers are up to the task of keeping your windshield clear.
2. Check Your Tires
It’s also a good idea to check your tires. Give them a visual inspection every so often to see if you notice any uneven tread wear. You can also run your hand over the surface of the tire to see if you feel any worn spots. Check the entire surface, including parts toward the inside that are hard to see. You should also check the tread depth to make sure it hasn’t worn too low to be safe.
3. Slow Down
Your tires get better traction when roads are dry, so the moment the pavement gets even slightly wet, you should slow down. This reduces the chances that you’ll slide if you suddenly hit the brakes. Be extra cautious if the rain gets heavy and pools begin to form in the roadway, as hydroplaning over a puddle means a total loss of steering, something you’ll definitely want to avoid.
4. Leave Extra Space
While slowing down reduces the chance that you’ll slide when you brake, leaving extra space between you and the car ahead of you in traffic further reduces the chances of an accident by giving you more time to brake gently. The faster you’re driving, the more space you should leave as a cushion.
5. Pay Attention
This is solid advice any time you’re driving, but it’s especially important when the roads are wet. Keep both hands on the wheel, don’t fiddle with the radio or reach for your phone, and wait until the weather clears or until you can come to a stop to use anything on the climate control or infotainment system. You need to be fully engaged in the driving process when it’s wet so that you have plenty of time to react.
Driving in the rain comes with its risks, but it doesn’t need to be an ultra stressful affair. A little preparation ahead of time and extra caution while you’re driving are all it takes to make driving in the rain a safe and easy experience.
Check out all the rainy weather products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about driving in the rain, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy Flickr.
Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.