Driving in conditions that involve strong or heavy rain may not seem like the most pressing safety concern for many drivers, but safety professionals know that driving in any type of severe weather can significantly increase your risk and potential for a dangerous situation for you, your family and other drivers. Remember that severe weather demands your undivided attention, so be sure to reduce any possible distractions by turning the radio down or turning off that phone to keep your attention fully on the road. Keep in mind that sometimes the best driving decision you can make is to stay off the road completely until the weather clears.
In addition to the potentially poor visibility that accompanies most heavy rain, drivers should be ready to protect themselves against hydroplaning. Hydroplaning can occur when a vehicle is traveling too fast in heavy rain conditions, causing the vehicle's tires to travel on a thin layer of water rather than grip the surface of the road. This has the potential to make steering and braking difficult and could even lead to losing control of your vehicle. Follow these tips to help you stay safe while driving in heavy rain.
1. Take your time.
Slowing down is the only way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning. Also remember that one of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on roadway make for slick conditions. Waiting a few minutes, rather than rushing to your destination, can be a safer plan when it is raining.
2. Turn your lights on.
Turn your headlights on to help other vehicles see you. Many states require the use of headlights during rain, even in broad daylight.
3. Give other vehicles more space.
Add 1-2 extra seconds of following time in the rain, which gives you and the cars behind you more time to react to traffic.