Driving in the rain can be dangerous; in fact thousands of car accidents each year are caused by wet driving conditions.
Routinely Check Your Tires
It is a good idea to always check your tires before you hit the road. To ensure your tires are working at their best, make sure you do the following routine maintenance:
- Keep your tires properly inflated. The correct air pressure for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual. The number listed on the side of the tire is not the recommended air pressure for your tire -- it is the maximum air pressure for the tire. You should check your tire's air pressure at least once a month.
- Check the tires tread depth. Tires should have 1/16 inch tread depth in order to perform the in the way for which they were designed. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and hydroplaning.
- Have your tires rotated at least every 6,000 - 7,000 miles. This will aid in detecting alignment problems and help prevent irregular wear.
As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tire's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.
Recover From a Skid
Skids can even happen to the most cautious drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes, and do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead apply pressure to the brakes in a firm manner and steer the car in the direction of the skid.
Keep a Safe Distance
It takes about three times longer to break on wet roads than on dry roads. Since more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Recover from Hydroplaning
When it rains, water creates a barrier between the road and your tires. The liquid film that forms can cause you to lose traction and glide or hydroplane across the water's surface. If this happens, do not brake. It is better to take your foot off the gas, hold the steering wheel in place, and lightly apply the brakes. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own.