During these fall months, the weather can turn downright soggy. As our regular readers know, water safety extends far beyond the pool. We’ve written about driving safety before, but the changing seasons offer a great opportunity to revisit and revise these lessons. Today, let’s learn how to avoid danger when driving in wet weather.
Keep Those Lights On!
Before we start talking about water danger, let’s shine a light on the darkness! During the fall, Daylight Saving Time comes to an end. This means that, for most of us, it will become a lot darker a lot sooner. According to the National Safety Council, 50 percent of all traffic deaths occur during nighttime. Obviously, driving through darkness is a lot more dangerous than daytime driving. Driving in wet weather in the dark is even more dangerous.
To this point, the best way to avoid danger when driving at night is to turn on your headlights. Additionally, be sure to check all the lights on your vehicle. Even in the fall months, the roads can be more hazardous than most of us realize. Keeping your lights in good working order can help to keep you and others safe. Aside from improving your own visibility, other drivers will be able to see you in the darkness and pedestrians will have plenty of warning that a vehicle is approaching them.
Driving in Wet Weather Means Puddles and Rainfall
Next, let’s talk about water danger. Now, when it comes to rainy weather, puddles and floods are inevitable. In these cases, driving recklessly can lead to skidding and hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is what happens when a vehicle slides uncontrollably across the wet surface of a road. It is different from a skid, but it can feel remarkably similar to the driver. When your tires hit a patch of water, the car may seem to “float.” Your tires lose contact with the pavement and it can seem like you are totally out of control. The trick to avoiding danger when driving in wet weather is to retain as much control as possible.
- If you feel your car beginning to skid or hydroplane, first let off the gas.
- Next, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. Remember: “turn into the skid.”
- Do not slam on your brakes. This is a cardinal mistake when it comes to hydroplaning. Hitting the brakes will upset the balance of your vehicle. It will make your car unpredictable and harder to control. Instead, try to remain calm, let off the gas, and gently guide your vehicle out of harm’s way.
- Take it slow! Always use extra caution in the rain to avoid hydroplaning. Above all, remember to avoid accelerating too fast.
Driving on Leaves
After wet roads, let’s talk about fall foliage. The colorful leaves may look pretty, but as dead and/or wet leaves fall to the ground, they can create a unique danger to drivers. As they accumulate, they can form a road-covering mat that reduces traction for drivers. Driving on too many leaves can result in a dangerous situation that is quite similar to a large puddle. Try to avoid them, if possible. If you cannot, take it slow and treat them just as you would a large puddle of water.
Freshen Up Your Tires
If there is one theme that we’ve seen in this article, it’s that a tire’s grip on the road is crucial. For this reason, it is critical that your tires are inspected and replaced often. A tire’s treads can be the difference between life and death, so make sure you’re not driving on bare tires. Additionally, it is important to keep your tires properly inflated. Here is a helpful video to guide you through testing and refilling your tires:
This is information that every driver should know. It will help you to avoid danger all year long, including when encounter wet weather on the road. Take a look at your manual and speak with an expert. With the proper advice, you’ll be able to eliminate your risk and keep your car out of harm’s way.