Driving in wet weather can be stressful at best and downright treacherous at worst. So, while nobody particularly enjoys driving when it’s raining, this is what you may have to contend with in the coming months in Wichita.
Every year, there are around 34,000 fatalities in the U.S. as a result of motor vehicle crashes. According to a study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, the risk of car crashes increases by 34 percent when it’s raining. As winter turns to spring, snow turns into rain, which means you have to prepare for slick roads and poor visibility.
When you catch yourself driving in the rain, which will happen soon enough as spring approaches, practice the following precautions to keep yourself and others safe on the road:
1. Prepare before driving
Safety starts before you even get behind the wheel and this applies to any weather condition. Before braving the rain-slick roads, make sure your vehicle’s lights are all functioning, especially your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Also, check your windshield wipers to ensure they don’t leave streaks on your windshield. The purpose of these safety checks is to ensure that you can see and be seen even under a heavy downpour.
2. Check your tires
Before driving, you also have to check your tires’ tread depth. A 2/32 of an inch tread depth is considered unsafe. However, an AAA study revealed that even tires with 4/32 tread depth left “could increase the stopping distance of a passenger car by up to 87 feet and reduce a driver’s ability to control a vehicle by 33 percent” so you shouldn’t let your tires go too worn before replacing them.
3. Slow down
It might be obvious but it still bears mentioning: it’s best to slow down when the roads are wet. Driving fast makes it difficult for your vehicle’s tires to scatter the water, which means the rubber may not meet the road. When this happens, there’s a higher chance of hydroplaning or you losing control of your vehicle.
4. Keep your distance
As the AAA study demonstrated above, driving on slick roads makes braking difficult. So, if there is ever an incident when you have to brake unexpectedly, you’ll want to have enough distance between you and the cars around you. With that said, it’s important to stay calm when you need to hit the brakes unexpectedly. Doing so may result in your vehicle skidding, but you should keep steering in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming the brakes once more. This can upset the vehicle’s balance further and make it more difficult to control.
This tip also emphasizes the importance of slowing down. You won’t have to suddenly hit the brakes when your vehicle is moving at a slower speed.
5. Check your car after driving
The humidity present when it’s raining can affect your vehicle’s engine and batteries. Humidity may contribute to battery corrosion, especially if you continuously drive under the rain. So after driving around Wichita in a heavy downpour, check if your vehicle may need emergency car accessories.
Good driving habits, such as maintaining your car and following proper driving etiquette, go a long way to ensuring your safety on the road. Keep this in mind the next time you need to drive when it’s raining.