April showers may bring May flowers, but they still wreak havoc on our roads. Rain and wet pavement cause more accidents and deaths than snow. It’s harder to see and stop, so follow these helpful tips to arrive safely at your destination.
While rain may not seem as risky as snowy or icy roads, it comes with its own challenges. All too often, drivers travel at the same speed as usual, especially if they’re accustomed to a rainy climate. Speed limits indicate the maximum speed in ideal conditions, not when it is wet and slippery on the roads.
Weather changes affect driving surfaces and rain can lead to unpredictable road conditions. Slowing down makes it less likely that your vehicle will hydroplane. Hydroplaning occurs when your vehicle’s tires cannot grip the pavement and skim over the water on the road instead. This can cause your vehicle to swerve or lead to an accident.
Switch On Lights
If your vehicle isn’t equipped with daytime running light, make sure that you turn them on during inclement weather.
In Rhode Island, you are legally required to use your headlights when you must use your windshield wipers.
When it’s rainy, it’s harder to see what lies ahead and it takes longer to stop. Reduce your speed by at least a third in rainy conditions. For example, drop your speed to about 35 mph in a 50 mph zone and 45 mph in a 65 mph zone.
Test Your Wiper Blades
Wiper blades are essential for good visibility. If the blades on your vehicle squeak, scrape, skip, or leave streaks on the windshield, it’s time to replace them.
This is one job almost any driver can handle themselves. Just look up your vehicle make and model in an automotive stores catalog, unclip the old blades, and clip on the new.
Check Your Tires
Your vehicle’s tires need plenty of tread to shed the water between the road and the tire surface. Tires worn down about 3 mm are candidates for replacement.
Correct tire pressure is also important when driving in the rain. Too low or too high can lead to poor traction, premature wear, and tire failure.
Avoid Cruise Control
Cruise control is a great feature on a highway with dry pavement, but not a wise choice when it’s raining. You need to be able to react quickly if your vehicle hydroplanes, which includes easing off on the accelerator to regain control. Cruise control maintains your speed regardless of road conditions, which could lead to a total loss of control.
Before you head out onto wet roads, check your auto insurance coverage. State minimums do not offer sufficient protection for you and your loved ones. Your insurance agent can set things right quickly so you’re well-protected, no matter the weather.