Rain can create the perfect breeding ground for dangerous driving conditions, which could end with your vehicle hydroplaning out of control or your accidentally steering into something that you shouldn’t have. Below are a few tips aimed at improving your visibility on the roads during a storm and actually increasing your vehicle’s ability to handle wet conditions.
Replace Your Wiper Blades Regularly
Poor or outdated wiper blades can wind up smearing around grime on your windshield and failing to improve your visibility of the road and other drivers during a storm. The experts recommend changing out your wiper blades every six months, or perhaps more frequently if you’re constantly battling storms and heavy rain (e.g., an area of the country with similar weather conditions to the Pacific Northwest).
Know What to Do
What if the inevitable happens? If you hydroplane, make sure to avoid heavy acceleration or sudden breaking as both can worsen hydroplaning. Simply steer towards where you’d like to go and take your foot off the accelerator.
Mind Your Tire Tread
Having your tires regularly rotated and aligned – these are two different processes – is a surefire way to achieve more even wear on all four tires of your vehicle. A tire rotation simply means moving your tires from one location to another; typically, a mechanic will change up the axle that the tire is on. Tire alignment is a more complicated process that uses technology to ensure your tires are producing clear steering, which is paramount in a storm or hazardous conditions.
Simply driving and braking constantly puts a lot of wear-and-tear damage on tires. The auto experts recommend changing out tires at least every six years no matter individual circumstances. The conventional wisdom also might be slightly misplaced when it comes to treading wear on your tires. You often hear that you need to start looking into getting new tires when the tread is below 2/32 of an inch, but you should begin your search at 4/32 of an inch to get the right traction in slippery conditions. Contact a local mechanic.
Use Your Headlights
Keeping the headlights on, even if you only notice a drizzle or overcast conditions that day, is probably the easiest and most effective way to improve visibility on the road. The wonderful thing about keeping your headlights on is that you can do so by simply flicking a switch, and you’ll improve other drivers’ visibility of your vehicle by making it stand out more in rain on an overcast day. The result? Safer driving conditions for you and other drivers out on the road during a storm.
Drive More Defensively
Simply knowing that the risk of hydroplaning goes through the roof during a storm and that stopping quickly is more difficult, you’ll want to drive slightly defensively in order to prevent bad things from happening. This means that you might want to hang back a few hundred feet from other drivers rather than riding their bumpers.