driving in car in winter

Spring is right around the corner, which means you can expect rainy weather. Wet, slick roads lead to a large number of accidents each year. Here are some tips to keep yourself and others safe.

Prepare Your Vehicle for Rain

Check your tires on a regular basis and replace them when the treads are worn down. Monitor your tire pressure and add air when needed. 

If you put snow tires on your car for the winter, switch back to regular all-season tires at the start of spring. They will handle wet roads better than winter tires.

Your windshield wipers should be able to clean the windshield in one stroke without leaving any streaks. If your wiper blades aren’t performing as they should, replace them. 

How to Drive Safely in the Rain

Turn on the headlights when driving in the rain. That will make it easier for you to see and will help other drivers see you, which can reduce the risk of an accident. Turn on the defroster to keep the windows from fogging up.

When driving in the rain, accelerate and brake slowly to reduce the risk of sliding. When you need to turn, do it smoothly so you don’t lose control of the vehicle. 

Don’t use cruise control in rainy weather. That can cause you to pay less attention than you should to the road, and it can also make it more difficult to control your vehicle. 

It’s harder to stop on slick roads, so you should drive slower than the posted speed limit and leave more space than you ordinarily would between your car and the one in front of you. If you’re traveling on a multi-lane road, try to keep some empty space on at least one side of you. That way, if the car in front of you stops suddenly and you can’t brake fast enough to avoid a collision, you will be able to pull into another lane.

If you find yourself hydroplaning (i.e., the tires are floating on water instead of touching the road), stay calm. Don’t turn the steering wheel or slam on the brakes. Instead, gradually lift your foot off the accelerator. If that doesn’t help you regain control, gently apply pressure to the brakes. If the car skids, turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go.

Always Focus on the Road

If you know that you will have to drive in rainy weather, make sure that you’re well-rested. Don’t fiddle with the radio, use your phone (even with a hands-free device), or talk to a passenger while driving in the rain. Focus on the task at hand. 

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