Pennsylvania – With all of the rain in the forecast for the next few days, including heavy thunderstorms and the chance of flooding tonight, do you know how to drive safely on slick roadways?
First, if you do not feel comfortable driving in heavy rain, consider postponing your trip or commute. If you can, wait until the weather improves. There’s no reason to put yourself in danger if not necessary.
Make sure that all of your vehicle’s equipment is working before the rainy weather hits. That means checking your headlights, tail lights, windshield wipers, and especially your tires to make sure that they are in working condition. Balding tires can severely reduce the traction on wet roads.
Slow down. The speed limit is the fastest you should drive on a road in good conditions. That means that if it’s raining, you actually should be driving considerably slower than the speed limit. Wet roads are dangerous, so don’t be embarrassed to slow down. Your vehicle’s reaction time is much slower when it is raining.
Likewise, keep a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You should stay several car lengths away. Wet roads can make it harder to stop, so increasing your distance can give you time to react to surprising situations.
Avoid braking suddenly. Try to slow down by taking your foot off of the gas earlier than you usually would in order to slow down or stop. Braking suddenly can cause hydroplaning.
Driving through standing water can also cause you to hydroplane, or skid across the surface of the road. If you see a large puddle, it’s probably deeper than what you think. Either drive around the standing water by changing lanes or steer around the puddle.
If there is running water across a road or a large amount of standing water, TURN AROUND and find another route. You could damage your car, get stuck, or even drown.
In Pennsylvania, state law says you must turn on your vehicle’s headlights if driving in the rain. Even if it is only misting, your headlights will help you see the road and will also improve other drivers’ abilities to see your car on the wet road.
Use your windshield wipers. Some people might forget to turn on their wipers in the rain. You can also use one of several products that can be sprayed or wiped onto the glass to help rain slide off of it more easily.
Rain causes humidity levels to increase. If your windows become foggy, use your vehicle’s defogger setting. If you cannot see, pull over until your windows clear up.
Reducing your speed and turning on your lights are two of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing the chances of an accident caused by wet weather.
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