Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain

While rain is helpful for crops, landscaping, and lawns, it can make driving difficult and, at times, downright dangerous. The Fifth Gear Automotive mechanics in Lewisville, TX offer the following tips to keep you safe and improve your driving experience in the rain:

  • One of the most important things you can do is to slow down. In rain, especially moderate to heavy rain, it is more difficult to see pedestrians, wildlife, livestock, and other traffic in the road. Not only can your visibility be severely limited, it will take longer for you to stop safely on wet roads. Slowing down reduces the distance required to brake and may mean the difference between being involved in an accident or not. Just one more reason to ensure your brakes are in peak condition and, when in doubt schedule an inspection with our mechanics in Lewisville, TX.
  • Inspect your wipers for damage. If your wiper blades are torn, worn, cracking, skipping, or streaking, it’s time for new ones. Installing new blades can improve visibility, consequently improving your reaction time when dangerous situations affect your commute. If you are unsure about installing new wipers, Fifth Gear Automotive mechanics in Lewisville, TX will be glad to install new wiper blades for you.
  • Distractions are a common cause of accidents; focus on the road and drive. Driving in dangerous driving conditions is not the time to be talking on the phone, looking at a passenger while you talk, hunting for a radio station, fumbling for a CD, or eating. Keep both hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your attention focused on driving safely.
  • Turn off the cruise control and reduce your speed. Don’t try to keep up with other cars that are speeding, stay below the speed limit and maintain a safe speed that allows ample distance for braking.
  • Don’t tailgate the car in front of you. Remember, it takes longer to stop on wet roads. 
  • Remember the rules for skidding and hydroplaning (more on this below), both of which are major risks on wet roads, even for the safest drivers. Rules for safely handling skids and hydroplaning begin with not slamming on the brakes, and steering slowly in the direction needed. Furthermore, consider running tires designed to minimize hydroplaning with your next set of tires. Fifth Gear’s mechanics in Lewisville, TX can provide tire recommendations if you are uncertain, as well as installation, wheel balancing, and 4-wheel alignments when you need it.
  • Stay in the middle lanes (when practical), as water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
  • Drive in the tracks of the vehicles that have traveled ahead of you. You’ll notice that the tire tracks from previous vehicles are often drier.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or other oversized vehicles. The spray created by their larger tires significantly reduces your ability to see.
  • Watch for brake lights in front of you, and ensure all of your lights are functional. If you need headlight replacement, repair of brake lights or driving lamps, schedule your car service today by our dedicated mechanics in Lewisville, TX.
    • Special note: Use your lights safely! Do not turn on your brights! Many people mistakenly think that turning on their brights can maximize their visibility in averse conditions, however they have the opposite effect of being reflected off the rain or fog in the air and back into the driver’s eyes, greatly reducing visibility!
  • Avoid unfamiliar off-roads, and never drive through standing water. It’s hard to accurately judge the actual depth of puddles and standing water where you can easily become stuck or swept away in flood conditions. It takes very little water to lift a vehicle and carry it away.
  • Whenever possible, stay where you are until conditions improve. If you don’t have to travel during a heavy thunderstorm, wait until it is over. Blinding lightning, high winds and heavy rain all make for dangerous driving conditions, not to mention the added risk from other drivers on the road who might be careless or inexperienced.
  • Watch out for low areas of the road where rain or flood water collects, particularly low-lying roads adjacent to streams, and at the foot of hilly areas. Slow down to help prevent hydroplaning.

More About Hydroplaning 

Hydroplaning occurs when the water in front of the tires builds up faster than the vehicle can push out of the way. The loss of traction occurs due to a thin layer of water between the tires and the road. The tires can completely lose contact with the pavement which (obviously) poses the danger of total loss of control. The risk of hydroplaning on a wet road increases with speed, and by having under-inflated or worn tires.

How to Control Hydroplaning and Skids

  • If your vehicle hydroplanes or skids do not brake or turn the wheel suddenly
  • Ease your foot off the gas until the vehicle slows and you can feel traction on the road again
  • Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid
  • As you recover control, gently straighten the wheels; and if you need to brake, use gently light pumping action.
  • If you have passed through deep water, check your brakes. Drive slowly while lightly applying the brakes to dry them out. Ensure they are functioning properly before speeding up. It is possible for water-saturated brakes to warp after drying. If you hear an unusual noise after driving through heavy water, schedule a checkup with our mechanics in Lewisville, TX.

Fifth Gear Automotive’s mechanics in Lewisville, TX provideds full-service for all makes of automobiles and specializes in European automotive repair and maintenance. When your vehicle requires service, repair, or other needs, Fifth Gear Automotive is your one stop shop for quality automotive services performed by our highly trained and certified technicians. Visit our auto repair shop in Lewisville, TX for all of your automotive needs.