VIDEO: 6 Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

by Community Manager ‎02-11-2015 01:45 PM - edited ‎03-05-2015 09:21 AM (1,444 Views)

Spring rains bring dangerous driving conditions. Be prepared with these tips for preparing your vehicle—and yourself.

 

If you’ve ever hydroplaned, you know that driving in wet weather can be unsafe. Avoid crashing by keeping these tips in mind when you’re behind the wheel.

 

Tires

Traction is the key to maintaining control in turns and stopping on wet surfaces. Tires that are underinflated or don’t have enough tread increase the risk of hydroplaning, which is when a wedge of water actually separates a tire from the road. At least once a month, check each of your tires for tread depth and proper inflation.

 

Windshield Wipers

Wipers that are old, cracked or hard can skip and streak, decreasing visibility. Since winter can be especially hard on wipers—from frigid temperatures to clearing the windshield of ice, snow and road salt—the start of spring is an ideal time to replace them. And while you’re at it, top off the washer fluid.

 

Headlights

With someone’s help, check the headlights, side-marker lights, emergency flashers, parking lights, front and rear directional signals, taillights, and brake lights. Make sure they work and are clean—a quick wipe can make a big difference. Some states require headlights to be on when it’s raining, but no matter where you are, remember this phrase: “Wipers on? Lights on.”

 

Following Distance

AAA recommends keeping a distance of three to four seconds between vehicles. Increase that distance when it’s raining or the roads are wet. In addition, avoid driving through large puddles—which could be concealing potholes—and standing bodies of water.

 

Cruise Control

While this feature can be very convenient (and improve your gas mileage) on a dry road, when used in wet conditions you risk losing control of your vehicle in the time it takes to disengage or hit the brakes. Whether it’s raining or not, never use cruise control on a wet road.

 

Hazard Lights

Driving with your hazard lights flashing is against the law in many states, but even if it’s legal where you live, AAA advises against this practice. There are safer ways to stay visible, such as tapping your brakes. But if conditions and visibility are so poor that you’re having trouble seeing, better to exit the road and wait until conditions improve.

 

To ensure your vehicle is as prepared as it can be for driving in inclement weather, have it checked by a qualified technician. AAA Car Care Plus and AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities offer members a free 24-point inspection covering most of the components addressed here. Find one near you at AAA.com/CarCarePlus or AAA.com/AAR.

 

A version of this story appears in the March/April 2015 issue of AAA Living magazine.

 

Image credit/source: Masterfile

 

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