Living in West Texas, we all know that when it rains, it pours. Driving in the rain is something that many people try to avoid altogether, but sometimes mother nature will surprise you while you’re behind the wheel. Today, we will go over some tips and tricks to keeping yourself and your vehicle safe on rainy days. 

 

Don’t Drive If You Don’t Need To

 

This is the simplest way to stay safe on rainy roads… don’t drive on them! Unless you must be on time somewhere, stay put where you are and wait for the rain to clear before going anywhere. While it may seem like a waste of time to stay home, rain and snow increase the risk of fatal car crashes by 34 percent. 

 

Keep a Larger Distance Between Vehicles

 

Most people know the cardinal rule of keeping one car’s distance between you and the vehicle and front of you for every 10 MPH you are driving. However, it is recommended to double the distance between cars in rainy conditions. Tests from Continental Tire have shown that on wet roads, stopping distances from 62 mp/h increase by approximately 40 feet.

 

Keep a Safe Distance

Keep Your Lights On

No matter the time of day or how bright you may think it is, it’s always best to keep your headlights on while driving in rainy conditions. Headlights are going to make it much easier to see what’s happening right in front of you, as well as make your vehicle more noticeable to other drivers on the road. Remember, if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should be too. 

Windshield Wipers

All of the time, but especially in a storm, it is important to make sure your windshield wipers are working correctly. It is recommended that you replace your windshield wipers every 6-12 months; doing this ensures that you will have the maximum amount of visibility from behind the wheel of your car.

Windshield Wipers

Be Gentle

Slick roads intensify everything on the road. From turning to braking to simply changing lanes, it is important to do everything with finesse and control while driving in the rain. Gently pushing on the brakes or turning the steering wheel could be the difference between your vehicle spinning out of control and you getting home safely. 

Drive Slow 

Besides staying off the roads altogether, driving slow is the easiest way to keep yourself and other drivers safe. Driving ten mph below the speed limit is recommended in the rain because of the added distance it takes to stop your vehicle on a wet road, referenced earlier from the Continental Tire experiments.   

Drive Slow Sign

Drive in the Middle Lane

It is not uncommon in Lubbock and all over West Texas to have standing water on the roads during or following a storm. It is extremely dangerous to drive through water as your car could lose control or develop significant engine issues. It’s recommended to drive in the middle lane if you have the choice because generally, the middle lane will have the lowest water level and therefore cause the least problems.   

High Wind Sign

Don’t Be Afraid to Pull Over

If you’ve utilized all these strategies for driving in the rain and still feel uncomfortable on the road when a storm pops up, do not be afraid to pull over! Pulling over will give you a second to relax and hopefully give the storm time to die down. If you are going to do this, it’s crucial that you pull over somewhere safe and easily visible. Finding a parking lot or drive-in would be the best scenario for pulling over in a storm, but it often isn’t that easy. If you absolutely have to pull off to the side of the road, you need to make sure you’re in a well-lit area with your hazard lights on to ensure other vehicles driving in the rain can see you.   

If you can avoid driving in the rain, you should do so by all means! But, if you must be on the roads in a storm, it’s essential to remain calm, confident and remembers these tips. The road can be a dangerous place, and understanding how the rain affects yourself and your vehicle could save your life.

Gusty Winds

Rainstorms are usually accompanied by high wind gusts, which can be extremely dangerous, especially if you’ve never experienced driving in high-speed winds before. If you find yourself in a gusty area, the most important thing is to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel while remaining gentle in all of your vehicle movements.

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