Summertime often means long, warm, and relaxing days; but it also brings more rain, which can cause problems while driving. There are several factors of driving in the rain that every driver should know.
Driving While it’s Raining:
More than 20 percent of reported crashes involve skidding. While most drivers are cautious on icy or snow-covered roads, they frequently fail to adjust their speed when driving in rain. Also, few drivers notice early clues that they are about to lose directional control. When they do begin to skid, many drivers do not know proper braking or steering procedures. For instance, few drivers are aware they need a much greater stopping distance in rainy conditions. This additional stopping distance can vary by as much as 165 feet, from 125 feet on dry pavement to 290 feet on wet pavement at 50 mph. Always adjust your speed when roads are wet.
Driving on Wet Surfaces:
Hydroplaning is when the tires of a vehicle have a layer of water between them and the road surface and begin to skim across this layer. Hydroplaning can result in the total loss of vehicle control. Even with properly inflated tires in good condition, a vehicle can hydroplane at 35 mph if water on the pavement reaches a depth of only one-twelfth of an inch.
Standing water on the pavement is always a risk factor for hydroplaning. A good indication of standing water is when raindrops bubble as they strike the road surface. To be safe, reduce your speed whenever you travel a wet road. In a hard, driving rain, keep your speed at or below 35 mph.
Braking on a Slippery Surface:
When braking on a slippery surface, keep your heel on the floor and apply steady pressure to the brake pedal with your toes. If your vehicle does not have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and starts to skid, ease up on the brake pedal while steering smoothly back to the desired path. Reapply brake pressure as needed. Vehicles with ABS will automatically adjust brake pressure if the wheels start to slide due to over-braking.
These are just a few of the factors that can affect your driving abilities when it is raining. It is important to be aware of all the problems that can occur when you are driving in the rain or after it has been raining.