Rain is the deadliest weather driving hazard. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 5,748,000 vehicle crashes occur each year, and approximately 22% (1,259,000) of those deaths involved driving in hazardous weather. There are on average more than 950,000 automobile crashes each year in the US due to wet pavement, resulting in approximately 4,700 deaths and 384,000 injuries. Driving in the rain is dangerous, so it is important to take the proper precautions to avoid an accident.
Here are 6 ways Atlanta drivers can drive more safely in the rain:
- Inspect the treads and pressure of your tires: Car tires have treads, which are the pattern of indentions and grooves around the tires. Tire treads are important because they create grip on the road by funneling water, mud, and rubble away from the contact patch. Tire tread wears down over time and becomes much more vulnerable to slippery surfaces. Also make sure to check your tire pressure once a month with a tire gauge.
- Check your windshield wipers: Rubber wiper blades tend to compile grime and wear out after usage, which can lead to streaks that make it difficult to see during a downpour. One way to clean them is by rubbing the windshield blade with rubbing alcohol, but if you see any cracks or pieces missing, then it is time to invest in a new set. If your wipers are not working properly then it is time to get them inspected and possibly invest in a new set.
- Turn on your headlights: Check headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals to be sure all are working correctly. Because rain can affect visibility, one of the easiest things you can do to avoid an accident in the rain is to turn on your headlights. This will help you see the road better and it will also help others see you more clearly as well. It’s the law in all states to turn on headlights when visibility is low.
- Beware of hydroplaning: If your vehicle is moving fast enough in the rain, your tires will skim over the surface of the water, causing you to hydroplane and potentially lose control of your vehicle. For your vehicle to hydroplane, all you need is 1/12th of an inch of rain on the road and a speed of more than 35mph. If you feel yourself start to hydroplane do not jerk the steering wheel and slam on the break. Instead, let your foot off of the accelerator slowly, and gradually apply the brakes and steer straight until you regain control. The best way to keep from hydroplaning is to keep an eye out and reduce speed when you approach a puddle.
- Slow down: Wet roads can be slippery and misleading, increasing stopping distances and the potential for skidding. Give yourself more time to react to the wet surface and other drivers by driving 5 to 10mph below the speed limit. It is also helpful to leave several car lengths between you and the driver ahead. It might seem like common sense, but anything you can do to be a slower, more vigilant driver makes wet roads safer for all drivers.
- Don’t use cruise control: Cruise control will ironically make you lose control of your vehicle in wet driving conditions. Cruise control is used to maintain a constant speed, so it significantly increases your chance of hydroplaning since it is not designed to detect water on the road and change speed to accommodate for rainy road conditions. Driving your car under full manual control is vital when driving in the rain.
Driving in Atlanta traffic is stressful enough, but if you add in other elements such as rainy weather and wet road conditions, it can make your drive exponentially worse. Hopefully these tips have better prepared you for driving in the rain. If you happen to get in an accident or have car trouble on a rainy day, Marietta Wrecker Service is here to help out with all of your towing needs. Call us at 770-765-1941 or contact us for more towing information. Check out a list of our services offered here.