4 Tips for driving safely in the rain

Did you know it only takes 1/12th an inch of rain and 35 mph to hydroplane? The roads are more dangerous when rain comes after a dry spell. In the first few minutes after it begins to rain, the water mixes with motor oils and oil from new asphalt, resulting in a surprisingly slippery roadway even from a relatively small amount of rain.
Long, heavy downpours wash away the oil and reduce slipping, only to introduce the hazard of moving or pooling water on the roadway. Limited visibility can add to the danger. Drive smart. Follow these four driving tips for driving in rain.

What is hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning occurs when there is more water on the road than your treads can channel away. This relationship is effected by your vehicle’s speed across the water, the pressure in your tires, and your tire tread depth. When hydroplaning your tires are riding on top of the water without contacting the road surface, severely diminishing or even eliminating your ability to steer or brake.

1. Turn your headlights on.

Day or night, keep your headlights on while driving in rain. In many states, laws require headlights during rain or whenever visibility is less than 1000 feet. That is about a quarter of a mile or three and one-third football fields.

If your headlight lenses are cloudy or your bulbs dim, ask your mechanic about headlight restoration and bulb replacement for maximum visibility.

2. Replace worn tires and wipers and keep your brakes in top condition.

Threadbare tires are dangerous, anything 2/32 tread depth or less. Keep your traction at top performance. Maintain relatively new tires with deep tread, and replace worn tires promptly.

Get regular brake checks. We’ll check your brakes at no charge when we change your oil!

Keep your windshield wiper blades ready for rainy days. Worn wipers can drastically impair visibility (and possibly damage your windshield). Plan to replace your wiper blades about every six months.

What to do if you hydroplane?

Ease off the accelerator and continue driving steadily forward.
Do not slam on the brakes.

3. Don’t use cruise control when it’s raining or if the road is wet.

Rainy weather demands your full attention. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your feet ready for action.

Hydroplaning with cruise control on can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, and the lack of traction may cause the cruise control to accelerate.

4. Adjust your driving habits to the conditions.

Leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. You never know if the person ahead of you will spin out.

Do not tailgate, especially in limited visibility.

Slow down. The risk of hydroplaning increases with speed.

Stay in the middle lane on the highway, which is usually higher than the left or right to channel water off the road. You can also follow in the treads of the vehicle in front of you (at a safe distance) where they have already displaced some of the water.

Go around major puddles whenever it is safe to do so, or navigate them at a substantially reduced speed if you can’t.

Come to Hillside Automotive in Hartford for service and our expert mechanics will perform our 50-point courtesy inspection to make sure that you and your vehicle are ready for the rain. Call Bob at 860-951-1083 for an appointment or schedule online today.

Written by Hillside Automotive

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