Simple Advice for Driving in Wet Weather

Falling temperatures and increasing seasonal precipitation can worsen driving conditions no matter where you live in the country. Fortunately, however, there are some simple steps you can take to help stay on the road and out of a ditch.

One of the most important parts of staying safe while driving in rainy conditions is to understand how wet conditions affect the operation of your car. Something like rain on the windshield obscuring your vision is a fairly obvious effect. However, one of the most basic, but dangerous, effects of rain is the presence of water on roadways. Water, especially lots of it, makes it more difficult for tires grip the pavement, thus causing them to lose touch with the ground and creating the effect known as "hydroplaning."

Hydroplaning during wet conditions can be a very scary experience for any driver. However, if you stay calm and remember some simple advice, you could help reduce the chance of a serious accident.

How to handle hydroplaning

  • Don’t panic. When a car hydroplanes, the most critical thing is to not panic. Sudden steering wheel movements or slamming on the brakes can make the car more likely to enter a spin, and even more difficult to recover from.

  • Gently pump the brakes. Gently working the brakes and attempting to keep the car straight is a much more effective recovery technique, according to Smart Motorist.

  • Steer toward the skid. Drivers are most likely to notice a hydroplane when the car has already begun to veer to the left or right. If this happens, steer in the direction of the skid, in an attempt to line the back end of the car up with the front along the direction of travel.

  • Use your car’s ABS (if you have it).Whether to brake or not depends on if the car has a modern anti-lock brake system (ABS). If it does, you should apply the brakes during a skid.

  • Leave some stopping space. Finally, hydroplane or no hydroplane, stopping distances will tend to be significantly longer in rainy conditions than when roads are dry. With that in mind, you should allow for longer stopping distance between you and the car in front of you when the roads are wet.

(Source: Smart Motorist)

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