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Driving in wet weather conditions can be a lot more hazardous than driving on dry roads. At Beaurepaires, your safety is important to us. Here are a few of our quick tips on how to stay safe driving in rain, fog or snow.
Routinely check your tyres
Always check your tyres before you hit the road and ensure that your tyres are properly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification.
This information can be found in the following places:
- The vehicle door edge
- The doorpost
- The glove box door
- The fuel door
- The owner's manual
Note that the number listed on the side of the tyre is not the recommended air pressure for your tyre; it is the maximum air pressure for the tyre. You should check the air pressure of your tyres at least once a month.
Remember to also inspect your tyres’ tread depth. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and aquaplaning.
As rain falls, it mixes with the rubber and oil on the road to create slippery conditions that are unfortunately perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to simply slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tyre's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.
Know how to recover from a skid
Skids can happen to even the most cautious of drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes. Also, do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead, apply firm and steady pressure to the brakes and steer the car in the direction of the skid.
Keep your distance from the car ahead
It takes approximately three times longer to brake on wet roads than it does on dry roads. As more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Drive in the tracks of the car ahead of you
Following another car’s tracks on wet roads can reduce the amount of water between the road and your car tyres. You should also remember to:
- Avoid using your brakes
- Slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator, wherever possible
- Turn your headlights on, even if it’s only raining lightly
Not only will your lights help you see the road, but they'll help other drivers see you. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly.
Learn how to avoid aquaplaning
Aquaplaning is what happens when the water in front of your tyres builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tyres and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane or even off the road.
How can you avoid aquaplaning?
- Keep your tyres properly inflated
- Maintain good tread on your tyres
- Replace your tyres when necessary
- Slow down when roads are wet
- Avoid puddles
- Try to drive in the tyre tracks left by the cars in front of you
What should you do if you find your car aquaplaning?
If you find yourself aquaplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly – this could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do so gently with light pumping actions.
If your car has ABS, then brake normally. The car's computer will mimic a pumping action when necessary.
Stop the car in heavy rain
Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, allowing an almost continuous sheet of water to flow over the screen. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it’s time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up.
The most ideal places to stop are at rest areas or other protected areas. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers.
Dry your brakes after driving through standing water
If you have driven through standing water deep enough to get your brake shoes wet, apply the brakes lightly to dry them.
Things to keep in mind
First rains make the road slippery
The first rains always make the roads the most difficult to drive on, as the mud and oil on the dry road combines with the water and forms a rather slippery layer. Drivers are likely to experience reduced control, and are cautioned to be extra careful for the first half hour after it begins to rain.
Cloudy weather reduces visibility
If the sky is overcast, use extra caution when passing other vehicles. Turn on your headlights so other drivers are more likely to notice you.