How to drive in case of rainfall
Sooner or later, almost every driver experiences what it is like to drive in bad weather. Heavy rainfall belongs to the group of most problematic and most difficult driving conditions because it reduces visibility and creates slippery surfaces. In the article that follows we are striving to present you a few useful pieces of advice on how to drive in case of sudden rainfall in order to reach your destination safely.
Preparation and general advice
First of all, it is of utmost importance that you adjust the speed to the traffic conditions, reduced visibility and slippery roads. Try to keep as much distance from other vehicles as the situation allows because braking takes longer on a wet surface.
Both you and your car are prepared for bad weather. Make sure that the wipers are fully functional because in such situations clean windows and good visibility are essential. If you have an air conditioning system, turn on the defog mode, and if not, turn on the heating and direct the hot air towards the glass. Pay attention to blind spots and the vehicles behind you because they are more difficult to spot through rain-splattered windshield and windows. If the visibility is so poor that you have difficulty seeing the vehicle in front of you and the sides of the road, it would be best to pull over at a safe place, turn on the warning lights and wait for the heavy rain to stop.
Make sure you are visible to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. If the rainfall caught you during daylight, drive with dipped headlights or day lights which are in any case mandatory by law. Check if all of the lights are working on a regular basis as they play an important role in situations like these.
What goes without saying is that the tires must not be old and worn out. Tires are crucial to avoiding skidding and loss of control over the vehicle. The most critical period is the very beginning of rainfall when water, mud and oil form a very slippery layer. We advise you to pull over at the nearest gas station and lower tire pressure for about 10-15% so that they adhere to the surface better. Avoid driving to the side of the road and in the right lane of the motorway whenever it is safe and possible, because water collects in these areas.
Aquaplaning and skidding
When the tire is unable to press out enough water to keep the tread in contact with the surface, the vehicle gets separated from the road. This is called aquaplaning (or hydroplaning) and it very dangerous, especially at high speeds. If this happens, do not panic. Lift the foot off the gas pedal and do not step on the brakes although your instinct will tell you otherwise. Hold the wheel tightly with both hands and correct your steering in the direction you were following in the first place. The car will slow down and the tires will regain contact with the surface. If you must break, do it lightly. If your car has ABS you can break normally, applying a continuous pressure.
Driving through puddles
If driving through a puddle is the only way to reach your destination, be very careful because you don’t know how deep the puddle is or if there is any object lurking below water level. The best way would be to pull over somewhere safe, find a branch or an object with which you will inspect the water for depth and possible obstacles.
After you have crossed the puddle over, dry out the brakes by applying light pressure, of course, all the time minding other vehicles around you.
If your engine comes to a stop due to passing through water, do not try to restart it because this may lead to a serious wreck. The only thing left for you to do in such situation is to turn on the warning light and call for help.
Don’t depend on to technology too much
Although there are a few systems that can be useful during bad weather like anti-skid control, lane-keeping assist and ABS, it is advisable not to depend on them, but rather consider them as support. The best piece of advice we can give you in this case is to try and imagine they are not there. It is you who must react swiftly, readily and skillfully at any moment.
We hope you found these pieces of advice useful. Feel free to contact us for any suggestions and topics that you are interested in. We will be happy to help.