Tips for Driving in the Rain
I forgot to check the weather prior to leaving home yesterday. And of course as I am leaving and heading back home I can see the black clouds in the direction I am headed. The icing on the cake: I'm in the Mini Cooper instead of the Expedition. (My first thought: Yikes!)
If you can't wait until the weather improves, here are some tips for driving in the rain.
Slow down. Wet roads can be dangerous. Whenever you are heading, people are generally understanding when it comes to tough weather conditions. Clients will call me when running late and honestly it does not bother me. Thank you for calling and I rather you come in stress-free and accident-free than for body work.
Turn on your headlights. It is the law to have your lights on when it is raining in many states but sometimes, we get so caught up with automatic functions we forget. Be sure to check your lights are on as they let other drivers know where you are on the road. Having the headlights on also ensures your tail lamps are on too! No need for the brights though.
Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. It's always a good practice but be sure to give yourself extra room when it's raining. If a driver ahead of you or even beside you runs into trouble, you are giving yourself more reaction time and space to make the necessary maneuvers.
Look out for standing water. This was my major concerns yesterday. Small country roads can have spots of standing water on them. I was not too familiar with the roads I was driving through and slowed down even more so I could spot standing water and avoid the puddles safely. Some parts of Houston are bad about this as well. We get so used to our own areas that forget to be mindful when we are in unfamiliar territory.
Let off the gas when hydroplaning. When I was getting close to start driving my father would point out when it happened while he was driving. Observing his calm reaction and getting a sense of what it felt like prepared me. So, when it first happened to me, it scared me, but I did not let the fear take over. I was able to identify it. I realized then how lucky I was to have a parent talk me through their thoughts and observations. Another tip is the nose knows! Steer/look in the direction you want to go and avoid sudden jerking of the steering wheel. Just stay calm. In my experience, you will get control of the car again before the adrenaline comes back down.
Ventilate your car. Personally, I hate having any kind of noise while driving in the rain. Music is off, air conditioning is off, and phone is silent. So sometimes I forget this one until I start to see the fog appearing. Make sure you know how to properly utilize your HVAC system before you find yourself in this position.
Don't use the cruise control. It can increase your chances of spinning out of control. Driving through rainy weather demands your full attention, both hands on the wheel and your foot ready.
Never underestimate the power of WATER. According to a subject-matter expert over at the National Safety Council, as little as three inches of water on the road and you can lose control. And even if you manage to stay in control, a larger vehicle could pass you and push some of that water underneath your car causing the engine to stall. (Big car owners, remember to be kind to the little guys!)
After I got back home, I called my sister to warn her of the heavy rains still in my area. She checked the radar map and decided to wait it out. Smart girl!