Statistically, even the slightest rain instantly increases the risk of car accidents by at least 35%. Most drivers consider rainy days the most severe and unsafe driving conditions.
Not only heavy rainfall decreases visibility dramatically, but it makes the roads slippery and hard to navigate both for vehicles and pedestrians, and in some places, can make the road impassable at all.
However, each driver has to go through heavy rain at some point. Knowing the fundamental rules and precautions will help you get to your destination point safely and prevent possible damage to the car that can be caused by heavy rainfall.
10 rules of safe driving in the rain
Here are 10 essential rules that will help you make your rainy day driving experience safer both for you and the vehicle:
- Consider waiting till the weather gets better. Driving through heavy rainfall, you put yourself, your passengers, and those who may occur in the street at the moment in serious danger. That is why, if possible, try to postpone your trip until the moment when the weather improves. The good thing about heavy rainfall is that it is usually pretty short, and postponing your journey for 30-40 minutes would hardly do more harm than getting into an accident in the middle of a storm;
- Make sure your car is prepared. Lower visibility and slippery road are the main reasons for accidents during rainy days. To avoid them, make sure that the headlights and backlights of your vehicle work properly, windshield wipers do their job, and tire treads are distinct enough to conduct the rainwater and afford proper adhesion;
- Go slowly. You will have much less time to react driving in heavy rainfall, while your stopping distance will increase dramatically. Make sure to drive slower in the rain than you would have in average weather conditions;
- Turn on the headlights. Even during the day. It is not only you who should see other drivers and pedestrians prevent an accident, but they should be able to see you also;
- Use windshield wipers. Many drivers claim that windshield wipers are annoying; that is why they avoid using them even during rainy weather. It reduces visibility dramatically and can lead to fatal consequences. Always make sure to turn the wipers on and adjust them according to the intensity of rainfall;
- Maintain a safe distance. As we have already mentioned, stopping distance becomes much longer during the rain, and you often cannot see what is going on in front of them ahead of you. Make sure to keep enough distance so you would stay safe even if the other car stops unexpectedly;
- Consider vehicles bind you. Sometimes you may have to hit the breaks, but the driver behind you won’t be able to stop safely. It is primarily true for heavier vehicles such as lorries and pickup trucks. Once you see that another car is following you, try to keep the distance and avoid heavy breaking;
- Don’t drive through standing water or big puddles. Although they may look pretty innocent, muddy puddles may cover obstacles or pitfalls that can damage your car. Also, moving through still water may lead to a phenomenon caused hydroplaning, when the vehicle loses traction and becomes unmanageable on the road;
- Don’t panic! In case you lose control due to hydroplaning, don’t try to hit the gas or slip the wheel trying to get out of it as soon as possible. It will only empower the effect and lead to one of the most common accidents that happen on wet roads. Try to calm down, slowly release the gas paddle, and gently steep the weel towards the direction your car should go;
- Keep an eye on foggy windows. Due to the difference in temperatures inside and outside the car, water can condense on the windows, making them foggy and reducing visibility to zero. As soon as you notice this “fog,” make sure to ventilate the car either through a special system or by simply opening the window to balance the temperature. If neither is possible, pull over as further driving is too dangerous.
Heavy rainfall can also cause severe water damage to your vehicle if the sealing of windows or doors is worn out or you decide (or have to) drive through a flooded area. In case you suspect water damage to your car, make sure to consult a qualified mechanic to eliminate its causes and consequences.
Here at OHS Body Shop, we shall be happy to help you prepare your car for the upcoming season, conduct thorough diagnostics, and make all the necessary repairs to ensure that your driving experience is always safe and pleasant no matter the weather conditions.
Have any questions about proper maintenance of your vehicle or look for qualified mechanics to conduct a routine check and necessary repair in your car? Contact OHS Body Shop today. Our branches are located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson. Here you will find experienced professionals who will make sure that your vehicle is safe, comfortable, and good-looking for as long as possible.