Rain, rain go away…
Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. Remember that little song as a kid? I sometimes have that song in my head even as an adult. Mainly because there are things I need to do and the rain slows down my day. The main thing the rain does to many drivers is slow down their progress of reaching their destination. Drivers will tend to drive a little slower when the roads are wet. Do you do the same? There are a few more risks about driving in the rain that many drivers tend to ignore.
The obvious problems are the slippery roads. To reduce the risk of sliding on wet roads, check the air pressure in your tires on a regular basis, including the spare tire. To find out the best tire pressure, check the inside door-jam of the driver’s door to determine what pressure the front and rear tires require for your vehicle. The sidewall pressure is only the maximum and not the required pressure for each tire. If the tires are properly inflated, you’ll have more tread reaching the road surface, thus giving you better traction.
When was the last time you checked the tread depth on your tires? The minimum tread depth across the entire face of your tires should be roughly 3 mm deep. Once you lose that depth you’re taking a higher risk on poor road conditions. Beware of hydroplaning as a vehicle can hydroplane easily on any wet surface. If you aren’t sure what hydroplaning is, think of it as your tires riding on the surface of the water; kind of like surfing. Stay away from puddles and standing water if possible. If hydroplaning happens, ease off the gas to allow the transmission to reduce speed gradually. Braking may just cause a loss of control. Avoid making harsh stops or turns as well. Give yourself plenty of time to make those moves while driving in the rain.
Another problem driving in the rain includes our windshield wipers. Wipers will tend to last roughly one year before they should be replaced. Most drivers tend to struggle seeing up the road effectively because their wipers streak too much. Why struggle when a good solution is replacing the wipers? Most drivers will replace once broken, but if you can’t see effectively, aren’t they broken? Before you do replace the wipers, clean the wiper blade with a cleaning solution. The rubber of the wiper can easily build up with grime which causes the streaks. Cleaning the wiper blade regularly may get you a little more life from the wipers.
Windows tend to fog up with the rain and the humidity from inside the vehicle, so keep an eye on your ventilation. Turn on the window ventilation before the windows begin to fog up. This will allow you to keep your visibility when visibility is normally reduced. This includes the rear window defogger as well.
One of my pet peeves is drivers who tailgate the driver ahead of them. This is a bad habit at any time, but extremely bad during wet roads. You need to give yourself time to see the brake lights of the driver ahead, time to move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal and then the actual time to stop your vehicle. At city speeds, you should normally be 2 seconds behind the driver ahead of you, but on wet roads, increase that space to 3 or 4 seconds. Since your tires have something between them and the pavement, it may cause a lack of friction which causes a lack of traction. That, plus the fact your brakes are now wet can also mean your stopping distance will be increased.
If you also look ahead of the traffic and see brake lights up the road, it will give you early notice that you’ll need to slow down. Driving in the rain is not like driving on dry pavement. Make the necessary changes in your driving style and then you and everyone else can arrive at your destinations safely.