Wet weather poses risks to drivers of all ages. There are nearly six million vehicle crashes each year in this country, and about 21 percent of them are weather-related, which are those crashes that occur in adverse weather (such as rain, sleet, fog, snow, crosswinds, or blowing sand) or on slick pavement, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. About 5,000 people are killed and more than 418,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes every year.
It’s important to keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers safe as you head out in wet conditions. Heed these tips to avoid getting into an accident, having a tire blowout, or any other kind of unfortunate accident.
Keep Your Car in Good Repair
Protect the things on your vehicle that will best be able to handle the rigors of wet weather driving, such as good tire tread, streak-free wipers and firm brakes.
- Replace windshield wiper inserts that are leaving streaks or don’t do a good job of clearing the glass with a single swipe.
- Make sure all headlights, taillights, turn signals and brake lights work correctly so other drivers can see you in the event of a downpour.
- Make sure you have the proper tire tread depth and inflation, which is vital for good traction on wet roadways.
- Check the tread depth by placing a quarter upside down into the groove. Can you see above the president’s head? Time to replace your tires.
- Check the pressure of each tire, even the spare, monthly, especially when the tires are cold.
Keep a Cool Head Behind the Wheel
Of course, the best way to stay safe in wet weather is not to drive at all. But this is not realistic for most drivers. Use care when you have to head out driving on wet roads.
Turn on your headlights when driving in wet weather or dark conditions. Don’t use your high beams, as the bright light reflects off the rain droplets and makes it more difficult to see rather than easier.
Slow down when it’s wet so you don’t hydroplane. This is when your tires rise up and skim on a film of water. This can occur with as little as 1/12 inch of water, whereby the tires must displace a gallon of water per second to keep your tires on the road. Reduce your speed; even if you’re going 35 mph, you can still lose contact with the road.
Don’t use cruise control. It may work well in dry conditions, but in wet conditions, you increase your chances of losing control. In ordinary situations, you would take your foot off the accelerator to prevent loss of traction, but this isn’t possible with the cruise control on.
Overall, be extra cautious when behind the wheel in wet weather. Slow down, don’t brake hard or turn sharply. Keep plenty of stopping distance between your car and the next.
Contact I&I Tires
If you are in need of roadside assistance or our mobile tire shop, contact us to schedule an appointment in Atlanta or Smyrna.