Well we’ve made it through the April showers and have been enjoying some lovely May flowers here in Baltimore, Columbia and Ellicott City, MD! But just because April is over, doesn’t mean the summertime rainstorms are too.
Summer showers are common, so it’s important that you are prepared to handle the slippery road conditions. Next time you find yourself caught in some bad weather, make sure you remember these 9 tips for safe driving in the rain.
1. Turn on your headlights. Not only is it safer to turn your headlights on when driving in the rain because it helps other drivers see you better, it’s also the law. Maryland Law says you must turn on your headlights when you are using your windshield wipers.
2. Increase the following distance between the car in front of you. It takes longer for your car to come to a complete stop when the roads are wet or slick. Make sure you leave extra room between your vehicle and the one in front of you so you can brake safely.
3. Drive closer to the middle of the road. When driving in the rain, try to stay more towards the middle of the road and away from the shoulder. Puddles tend to form along the edges of the road, and you never can be sure how deep these puddles are. These puddles could be major potholes that could greatly damage your automobile!
4. Be extra cautious if it hasn’t rained in a while. Did you know that the road is slipperiest when it first starts to rain? It’s true. The dried grease and motor oil that is on the road gets pulled to the surface when it starts raining, making the road conditions especially bad. This is even worse if it hasn’t rained in a while. After it’s been raining for a bit this grease gets carried away, and you actually have better traction than when it first started raining.
5. Never use cruise control when it’s raining. When you use cruise control, your car wants to keep you at a consistent speed. So if it’s raining outside and your car catches some water and starts hydroplaning, your car will actually speed up to maintain your speed! This can cause you to lose control of your car and end up in a car accident.
6. Don’t panic if you start hydroplaning. Your vehicle will hydroplane if a layer of water comes between your tires and the road. This causes you to lose traction and possible drift. When this happens, DO NOT PANIC OR SLAM ON THE BRAKE. If you do panic and slam on the brakes, you run the risk of spinning out and completely losing control of your car. Rather than braking, simply let off the gas and keep your steering wheel straight. That way when your tires make contact with the pavement again you’ll be able to safely drive straight out of it.
7. Periodically replace your windshield wiper blades. Windshield wiper blades that work properly without streaking or sticking are vital to safe driving in the rain. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about changing their wiper blades until they are caught in the rain with a streaky windshield. Sound familiar? Next time you think about changing your windshield wiper blades, do yourself a favor and get it done right then. It doesn’t take long, and it will save you a lot of hassle later.
8. Keep up with your car maintenance and tire services. Good tires are especially important when you’re driving in the rain. Make sure they are inflated to the proper tire pressure for your vehicle, and make sure they have optimal tread. If your tread or tire pressure is too low you will have less traction or grip on the road, both when it’s raining and when it’s not.
9. Don’t be afraid to pull your vehicle over. If the weather conditions ever make you too uncomfortable to drive in simply pull over in a safe location and wait out the storm. It’s not worth the risk to keep driving on if you can’t see or are nervous about safely reaching your destination. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Chances are you have some experience driving in rainy conditions, but it’s always important to brush up on the basics just in case. Make sure you and your family members are aware of these 9 tips for safe driving in the rain so you can all be prepared the next time you get caught in an afternoon thunderstorm.
If you ever need any help with your tires, windshield wiper blades or other car maintenance services, the expert mechanics here at AutoStream Car Care Center are always here to help! We have three convenient auto repair shop locations in Baltimore, Columbia and Ellicott City, MD that are here to take care of all your automotive service needs.