Curious about what steps you should take when driving in wet weather? Tips for driving in the rain typically focus on safety, since this type of weather can create dangerously slick roads and poor visibility conditions. According to the Federal Highway Administration, rain is a factor in 10 percent of all vehicle crashes.
Here are seven essential tips that can help you drive more safely on rainy days:
Your car’s windshield wipers are your first line of defense against wet weather. They work tirelessly to clear rain from your windshield, but if they’re in poor shape, they’ll deliver disappointing results. For optimum performance, your car’s wiper blades should be changed every six months, and blades that frequently face rough weather may need to be changed more frequently. If your wiper blades squeak or leave streaks on the glass, it’s time to get them replaced.
2. Mind Your Tires
Your car’s tire treads give the vehicle traction, which is especially important when driving on roads that are wet and slippery with rain. Hydroplaning is a phenomenon that occurs when there’s a layer of water between your car’s tires and the roadway. It causes your vehicle to skid, and it’s responsible for countless accidents in wet weather. If your car’s tire treads are worn, the vehicle is more likely to hydroplane. Use a tire tread gauge to inspect your car’s rubber at least once a month, and replace the tires if they show signs of wear.
3. Keep Your Headlights On
Rain can do a number on visibility, making it harder for other drivers to see your car. Keep your headlights on when traveling in the rain, since this will help ensure your vehicle is visible to other drivers on the road.
4. Hang Back
Wet roads can increase your car’s stopping distance, and this can have disastrous results if you’re too close to the vehicle in front of you. Never tailgate in wet weather, and leave more distance than normal between your car and the vehicle immediately ahead. This will give you the room you need to safely bring your car to a halt if the vehicle ahead of you makes a sudden stop.
5. Give Your Car’s Cruise Control a Rest
Cruise control can worsen hydroplaning, and it also encourages a lack of attentiveness that can create risky conditions when driving in the rain. Wait until the streets are dry to enjoy your car’s cruise control.
6. Avoid Driving Through Puddles and Standing Water
Your car is more likely to hydroplane when splashing through copious amounts of water. Steer clear of puddles and standing water to keep hydroplaning at bay.
7. Know How to Handle Hydroplaning
If your vehicle hydroplanes, sudden braking, heavy acceleration or sharp steering will make the skid worse. Ease your foot off the gas, and gently steer the vehicle in the direction you want it to travel.
Wet roads can be treacherous, but by following these tips for driving in the rain, you’ll have the knowledge to drive safely in rainy conditions.
Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on tips on how to drive when it’s raining, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.