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Use Caution and Care When Driving in the Rain

Scott Monge

The Southeast has been inundated with nearly daily rains all summer. While the rainfall means reservoirs and water tables are rebounding after dry conditions, there are some effects of all these showers that aren’t so positive.

With isolated storms popping up without any warning signs, road conditions can be hazardous. The first few minutes of rainfall on pavement are the most dangerous as oil and other contaminants on the road’s surface mix with water to create a very slick surface. These conditions can easily cause wrecks and other hazards when you’re behind the wheel.

If you’re in the car when the next downpour strikes, follow these tips to keep yourself, your passengers and your vehicle out of harm’s way.

  • Stay near the middle lanes. Water has a tendency to accumulate on the sides of roads. Avoid driving through puddles and large pools of water that can cause hydroplaning.
  • Watch other drivers. You never know what dangers lie ahead. Be sure to watch other vehicles around you to avoid any road hazards. Rain can often limit sight distance as well, so pay attention to the car lights in front of you to make sure you’re keeping a safe distance. You can also use the tread marks ahead of you as a steering guide.
  • Avoid driving behind/near big trucks and buses. Large vehicles can leave quite a big wake when traversing wet roads. Big splashes on your windshield can block your sight, so keep your distance if possible.
  • Always turn on your lights. Visibility is key when driving in the rain. Turn on your lights to improve your sight distance and to make your vehicle more visible to others on the road.
  • Maintain your vehicle. To avoid making your own road hazard, make sure your vehicle is well-equipped to handle driving in the rain. Be sure your headlights are functioning properly; replace old and brittle windshield wipers; check tire tread to make sure you’re getting the right amount of traction.
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