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Safe Driving in the Rain

Second only to driving in winter weather conditions, driving in the rain presents unique hazards. Rain obviously leaves roads wet and slick, especially early in rainy conditions. Motor oil and other leaked fluids leave a thin film on roadways that, when dry, isn’t always readily apparent. When wet, however, the residue mixes with the water and creates a slippery coating. Other vehicles pose additional risk in heavy rainfall. Not only is your vision naturally inhibited by the deluge, the splash from vehicles and tires can distract and prohibit visibility and quick reaction times. Safe drivers are aware of these hazards and take appropriate precautions.

Rainy Weather Precautions

One of the most important safety precautions when driving in rainy weather is keeping additional space between the vehicle in front and your auto mobile. Because brakes get wet, cars take longer to stop in wet weather, and you will need the additional space to safely bring your vehicle to a stop. Plan on at least doubling the space, allowing for double the two-second rule in rainy weather: Allow a minimum of four seconds in wet weather. You not only allow yourself more time and distance, but you also avoid much of the spray from trucks, vans and other auto mobiles. You grant yourself that additional safety of a clearer field of vision.Keep your windscreen clear of both rain and spray: Don’t let the surface get covered before you engage your wipers. Keep visibility high to increase probability of seeing the hazards ahead.Keep all lights in good working order. You will need your headlights and tail lights, in addition to turn signals and your reverse lights, to ensure proper visibility and movement intention communication for vehicles around you. Even if you believe you have good visibility, use your headlights even in the lightest of mists: If other vehicles cannot see you, they cannot easily avoid you. Don’t use your full beam setting when near pedestrians, animals or other vehicles, however. You don’t gain enough extra visibility to warrant their use, and you risk blinding others around you.

Hydroplaning and Flooding

Hydroplaning is caused by tyres riding above the surface of the roadway, carried on layer of water. Because your vehicle is not in direct contact with the surface, stopping and steering are greatly hampered. You can hydroplane for only moments through puddles or for longer times on roadways. To minimise your hydroplaning risk, ensure your tyres have proper tread depth and continuity, and slow your speed. Don’t turn the steering wheel or tap your brakes if you are hydroplaning: You can easily lose control of your vehicle. Instead, ease off the accelerator to gently and gradually and steer straight through it.Flooding occurs when water fails to drain from the road, and it presents a very real danger to drivers and vehicles. Do not enter any flooded area when it can be avoided. Do not attempt to cross at all if the water level is higher than your tailpipe. If you do cross a flooded area, do so at a very slow pace, at or just above idle speed with your hazard lights flashing. Do not cross at a speed that causes splash waves. Rushing through high water can flood your exhaust, flood your engine compartment and flood the interior of your car. If the water level rises too far, your vehicle could stall, presenting additional hazards to you, pedestrians and other motorists. If you must cross flooded areas, attempt to keep to high ground. Safe driving in the rain always includes avoiding it when possible, slowing down, increasing following distances and maintaining visibility for you and to others.

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