Admittedly, we’ve had a very mild winter, and while we can all be thankful that the worst is over, we are now facing a new driving challenge… rain. With temperatures on the rise across Canada, we are starting to experience slick roads and poor visibility. If you must drive in the rain, or while the roads are still wet, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Lights On, High Beams Off
In the gloom of a rainy day, one thing you want to maintain is visibility. Also, what better way than to turn on your headlights! They not only help you see outside your vehicle but also help other drivers to see you.
While headlights are a definite necessity, you do not want to blind other drivers with bright lights. If the murky haze were not tough enough being dazzled by someone’s high beams could momentarily blind other drivers. Or even worse, cause an accident. Use them with caution, as always.
Adjust your Speed Accordingly
Speed limits were established to maintain safety and order in good weather, but what about when the weather is poor? All bets are off. Reduce your speed and give yourself plenty of space between neighbours. Almost everyone else will be doing the same thing.
Hydroplaning is one of the many potential consequences of speeding on wet roads and one of the most dangerous. Unfamiliar with the term “hydroplaning”? It is when your tires skim the surface of the water instead of sluicing through it. When this happens, you can no longer steer or brake. You lose all control. The most unfortunate part about it is that you often won’t know you are hydroplaning until you skid out of control.
You can prevent your chances of hydroplaning by decreasing your speed and maintaining complete awareness of everything around you. Be aware of how your vehicle is performing and of the other cars around you, and keep an eye on the weather and road conditions.
Avoid Flooded Roads
Always remember that floods are dangerous and crossing a washed out road should only be done if you are 100% confident that it is safe to do so. Not only is your safety at risk, but the water could also cause irrevocable damage to your vehicle (which may not be covered by insurance!)
If you think that the water is deeper than the bottom of your vehicle, or if the water can cover the bottom third of your tires, do not attempt to cross. Seek out an alternative route instead. If other cars are driving through the water without trouble, then you are probably okay to pass, as well.
In the end, what matters most is the safety of yourself and your fellow drivers. If visibility declines pull over to the side of the road and wait till showers subside. Alternatively, if you do not need to go out, stay put! However, if you do brave the roads, please keep these tips in mind.
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