As summer turns into fall, we can expect to see a lot of weather changes. Throughout these weather changes, we can look forward to rain and shorter days.
If you have ever experienced driving in the rain, you know how scary it can get when visibility is low and you happen to be on the expressway! In this article, we will outline a few tips on what to do the next time you’re stuck in inclement weather!
Light to Moderate Rain
This is the kind of rain that some drivers don’t take seriously! It can be a light and quick sun shower to a consistent stream of rain. Here are tips on how to navigate this kind of weather:
- Use your windshield wipers. Don’t feel embarrassed to turn on your wipers in a light shower or even have your wipers going fast. Having your visibility as high as you can get it is crucial in all weather, especially rain.
- Wear sunglasses. The glare of the road after a daytime sun shower can impair your visibility. Pop on some sunglasses to cancel out the glare!
- Avoid using cruise control. This feature is great in dry conditions, but the chances of you losing control of your car are higher in inclement weather.
- Turn on your headlights and/or your hazard lights (only if needed). In heavy rain, visibility is usually very poor. Turning on your lights and perhaps you hazard lights lets other cars around you know you’re there.
- Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel. In doing this action, you are braced for heavy winds and other hazards that may come with the heavy rain.
- Slow down! Nobody wants to be caught in the rain, but that’s no reason to be rushing to your destination! SLOW DOWN and leave adequate room between you and the car in front of you.
There are some situations that come inevitably when driving in the rain. Here are some tips for various situations that may happen to you while driving in rain.
What To Do if You’re Stuck on the Side of the Road
- If your call happens to stall during a storm, or you notice your car not functioning properly, pull over to the side of the road. Call an emergency number or a professional to retrieve you and your car. It is best to wait for a professional to arrive before attempting to open the hood of your car, as the car’s electrical system may get compromised due to the rain.
Stuck in Mud
- Avoid wheel spin. If you notice you’re stuck in the mud, excess tire spin can potentially dig you deeper.
- Try to create traction. You can try to create traction under you wheel by using your floor mat. Place the tip of the mat(s) in front of or behind (depending on the direction you want to go) the tire(s) that are the most stuck. Then use them as traction to try and get out of the mud.
- Call for help. If all else fails, call a buddy or a tow truck to help pull your vehicle out of the mud.
Flood Water & Standing Water
- In Texas there is a campaign called Turn Around, Don’t Drown. This forbids people to drive through flood water as it is a huge safety risk. Driving through flood water can not only ruin your engine, but the potential to be swept away is very high. DO NOT drive through flood water!
- Standing water also poses risks. Before passing through standing water, make sure it is safe from debris and isn’t deep enough to ruin your car. Drive through the water slowly as to not hydroplane. Once you exited the area of standing water, continue to drive slow as now your tires are wet and still pose a risk for hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning & Skidding
- The most important thing to do when you hydroplane is to not panic. DO NOT accelerate or press the brakes at all, instead, ease your foot off the gas and let your car naturally slow down if you are driving. If you are braking ease your foot off the break and let the car go until the skid is over.
- Steer in the direction you want to do. As we said in the previous point, ease off the brake or gas when hydroplaning. After doing this, veer your car in a direction you want to do, whether it be the shoulder or middle turning lane where you are safe from other cars. Do not make any sharp turns.
- Finally, wait until the skid is over to press the brakes. Hydroplaning usually doesn’t last long if you do not panic, your tires will gain traction again if you follow these steps.
Always keep a packed emergency bag in your car for situations that may call for it. Please read our blog on Hurricane Preparedness: How to Stay Safe in the Event of a Storm for information on how to get you and your car ready for a hurricane. And as always, stay safe out on the road!