February - Wet Weather Driving Tips
Wet Weather Driving Tips
The winter-wet season is upon us again. I think that after living out of the USA for a few years, one becomes more aware of driving habits and takes for granted our mode of driving. In other countries, the people tend to drive in wet conditions the same as they do in dry ones, totally offensive, with no regard for their welfare or other people.
We know that rain; fog and early darkness or the combination of any of these factors causes thousands of accidents every year. We all drive many miles each year and because of the nature of our travel, we can't pick or plan our schedule around the weather.
Even though this has been discussed before, it never hurts to have a "mind jogger." I hope these tips and suggestions will serve this purpose, and if it saves one accident or injury, the time will be well spent.
The most important thing you can do to prevent an accident on wet roads is to slow down. When you drive slowly, the tires have more rubber on the road, resulting in better traction. At the same time, with slower speeds, it will help you to avoid puddles of water in depressions that splash up on the engine causing stalls or hydroplaning. We should try to drive at a steady pace and avoid jerky movements when braking, accelerating or turning. Be extremely careful and try to avoid passing cars at night in, especially in wet conditions.
KEEP SAFE DISTANCES
According to authorities, it takes three times longer to stop on wet roads. Even with good-treaded tires this is true. So, we should keep a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you. I
Like to drive with my headlights on so that other vehicles will see you coming and it helps for you to be able to see them.
SKIDDING OR HYDROPLANING
If you lose control or start to skid in your car, don't slam on the brakes. Apply them gently, in a slightly firm manner, and steer in the direction of the skid. On vehicles equipped with anti-locking systems, you should apply more pressure to the brakes, but avoid pumping them.
Hydroplaning happens when your tires glide across surface water on the road. If you feel hydroplaning happening, let off the accelerator and apply the brakes
(don't stomp them) lightly but steady and hold the steering wheel firmly. If you are driving a standard shift, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on it's own.
DRIVING TIRED OR DISTRACTED
Obviously, we should always try to avoid driving when we are tired or tempted with distractions. Using common sense, we know that in any conditions, we should try to avoid fatigue and distractions. However, it is even more important to avoid these two reactions in wet or inclement weather. It would be smart on your part to pull off the road and take a "power nap" for fatigue and just pull off and wait for the heavy rain to let up. There is one thing in particular that I notice almost daily in driving that has nothing to do with wetness, but lends itself as an "accident looking for somewhere to happen." That is a person driving with a cell phone glued to their ear and a cigarette in the other hand with only a couple of fingers or the palm of their hand controlling the vehicle. I want to tell them that they are taking their life in their own hands as well as the possibility of others, but I would probably end up being the culprit. We should also avoid drinking, or eating, adjusting the radio or attempting to handle kids or doing anything that will prohibit us from giving the
Road or highway our full and undivided attention. Actually, this should be our practice at all times, regardless of weather conditions, but is more critical in wet conditions because of the lack of control.
Bad Weather Demands that You Drive Carefully!
Stay Alert & Don't Get Hurt!
Excerpts: Auto Insurance.com
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.