After months of dry conditions, the rainy season is near. Many Powegians look forward to the cooler, wetter weather, but rain-soaked roads can be dangerous. Motor oil residue from car engines accumulates on the streets during the summer months and the initial rain of the season makes for hazardous driving. The first 10 minutes can be the most dangerous, especially at speeds over 35 mph.
Wet roads may cause tires to hydroplane across slick surfaces, resulting in loss of steering, braking and control. How do you avoid hydroplaning?
• Keep your tires properly inflated and in good condition.
• Slow down when roads are wet.
• Avoid driving in outer lanes, where water tends to accumulate.
• Avoid hard braking and sharp or quick turns
The number of traffic accidents increases dramatically when it rains. Six suggestions may help to prevent you from becoming a statistic:
Plan ahead and leave extra time to get to your destination. If rain is in the forecast, leave earlier to avoid being late. Anticipate slower traffic and accidents.
Slow down! Reduce your speed by one-third. For example, if the speed limit is 60 mph, slow to 40 mph.
Turn on your lights. It’s the law. Some cars have automatic headlights in front, but you also need visible taillights to allow cars behind to adequately judge distance.
Increase the distance between you and the car in front. This will allow another vehicle to change lanes without you having to brake. Ease off the accelerator until a safe distance has been re-established.
Signal before changing lanes. Sounds like a no-brainer, but not everyone does it. During inclement weather, it’s particularly important to let people know your intentions.
Drive defensively! Anticipate the unexpected.
Although these suggestions may seem like common sense and should be part of your routine driving behavior, they are particularly important during unpredictable weather.