Tips For Driving In The Rain
With this much anticipated spring weather comes the inevitable buckets of rain Ottawa experiences every year. Spring time in Canada is notorious for having unpredictable weather. A snow storm on Tuesday, thunder and lightning on Wednesday and shorts and sandal weather by the weekend. Though the calming pitter-patter of rain is a nice change from the howling winds of winter, it can make it difficult to drive. Like any type of stormy weather, it’s important to take caution when driving. Here are some helpful tips for driving in the rain.
In any type of inclement weather, it’s important to slow down while on the road. Whether you’re rushing to work during your morning commute or anxious to get home at the end of the day, speed is not worth putting yourself or others at risk of an accident. In poor driving conditions you should slow down to a speed you’re comfortable with and can see far enough in front of you to make safe and appropriate driving decisions.
Use Your Headlights
Turning on your headlights is often overlooked when it’s raining during the day. When the sky turns grey it’s a sign to turn on your lights so other drivers can see you. Driving on a highway at higher speeds often causes a lot of water to splash up behind your vehicle making it harder for others to see you. By turning on your headlights you’re making yourself more visible to others which can reduce the chances of a collision.
As young drivers we learn to keep both hands on the steering wheel and check the rear view and side mirrors regularly. As time goes by and you become more experienced at the wheel, it’s easy to pick up driving habits like fiddling with the radio, checking your cell phone and driving with only one hand. In rainy weather the roads can be slick and you may be required to react quickly to another driver or debris on the road. Keep all distractions away from you and focus on your surroundings. Keep both hands on the wheel and be aware of what’s going on around you.
Keep Your Distance
A rule of thumb while driving in the rain is to keep a distance of at least five car lengths from the vehicle in front of you. The actions of other drivers are unpredictable and they may be required to swerve or brake suddenly without warning. The farther away you are from the vehicle ahead the more time you’ll have to react to their driving decisions.
Be Aware Of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is when your vehicle has little to no contact with the road while passing through water. The traction is reduced and it can feel like you have no control over your vehicle. The best thing to do in this type of situation is to gently lay off the gas and continue steering in the direction you’d like to go. The worst thing you can do is brake suddenly and panic. Remain calm, steer where you want to go and handle the situation with care.
Be Mindful Of Your Brakes
In any type of driving conditions your brakes may not react as efficiently as they would on a normal, dry day and it’s possible to experience slipping or a slight loss of control when braking too hard. If you are able to, lift your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down on its own.