Driving on wet roads is a different experience than dry roads. Some changes include a more slippery surface, reduced visibility, and even increased road hazards. To navigate wet or slippery roads, there are some small adjustments you can make to your driving technique. Here are seven tips for driving successfully on wet roads.
- Slow down. The first thing taught in driving school is that if visibility decreases or conditions become more dangerous, decrease your speed. When driving on wet roads or through slippery conditions, it is important to drive slower so you can better control your car. Driving slow decreases chances of hydroplaning and from hitting a slippery spot and being unable to stay in control. If you are driving with cruise control, be sure to turn it off.
- Know what to do when hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when the car slides on top of standing water. Hydroplaning happens when a car is going to fast on a wet road and has bald or under-inflated tires. When this happens, you will feel like you are not in control of your car and is scary. The best way to handle hydroplaning is to stop pressing the gas, do not brake, and do not turn suddenly. If you can stay calm, you will feel when the tires hit the road again and you will be in control again.
- Get your tires checked. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have a good tread. To make sure they fall within the inflation guidelines, check the vehicle manufacturer recommendations on the vehicle’s door frame or in the owner’s manual. Be aware that the number listed on the side of the tire is not the recommended pressure, but the maximum air pressure.
- Turn on wipers and headlights. To help see better in these conditions, you should keep your wipers on. Make sure they are wiping most of your windshield clean with each stroke for best visibility. For headlights, they should be on so that you can see better, but also so other drivers can see you more easily too.
- Increase Following Distance. Decreasing your speed is important, but it is also important to allow the other drivers around you to have more space. If someone loses control of their car, having more space means they can have time to correct their car before hitting anyone or sliding off the road.
- Avoid large puddles. Puddles are tricky because you cannot see how deep they are or what is in them. The high winds of a storm can cause branches, sticks, and other sharp items onto the road and that can pop your tires. If these sharp items land in a puddle, you may not see them under the water.
- In extreme flooding, stay out of deep water. Driving through deep water in extreme water conditions can damage your car. If you cannot tell how deep a river is or if a road is washed out, do not drive through that area. It can not only damage your car, but it can lead to your car getting stuck or washed away. This is a dangerous situation, so avoid driving through deep water.
While driving in wet and slippery conditions is not scary for everyone, it is important that you are extra cautious. It is easy to lose control of your car, which is a dangerous situation. Instead, change a few behaviors and keep yourself, and everyone else, on the road safe.