As we have witnessed in recent weather events, water can be very dangerous. Since it is in our everyday lives, we don’t often think of its potential hazards. Water and roads, mixed with driving can be a deadly combination. Being aware of the dangers of wet roads and how you can protect yourself just might save you from an unfortunate situation.
Hydroplaning on Wet Roads
The condition of your tires and the amount of standing water on a road can lead to hydroplaning. This is a phenomenon where water builds up under the tires of your car faster than it is pushed away. The vehicle is essentially riding on top of the water with no traction to turn or stop. Your car is now at the mercy of momentum and the flow of the water. Highways in the US are built to arch slightly, higher in the middle and lower at the edges. Many roads, however, are not built to this standard. And even roads that are can experience standing water when significant amounts of rain fall quickly. The state of your tires is a huge factor when it comes to hydroplaning. Lower tread, worn-out tires cannot funnel water outward quickly enough. Driving faster increases the risk as well. When stuck in a big downpour, reduce your speed. And beforehand, check your tires. Is the tread low? Have they not been replaced or rotated in years? Purchasing new tires may be necessary.
Other Wet Road Tips
Keep you and your passengers safe when wet roads lie ahead.
*Slow Down – Maintain an increased distance behind cars to avoid accidents and reduce your speed. Even small amounts of rain can cause roads to be oily and slippery.
*Avoid Standing Water – Judging the depth of puddles is nearly impossible. Don’t drive through them.
*Use Wipers – Make sure your wiper blades are always in good condition, replacing them once a year.
*Turn on Headlights – Many modern cars do this automatically when wipers are engaged or it gets dark outside. If yours doesn’t, be sure to turn them on manually.
*Brake Less – Sudden braking can lead to hydroplaning or a collision. If possible take your foot off the gas to slow down and brake slowly.
*Wear Sunglasses – During a rainstorm sunglasses can often help you see more clearly.
*Pull Over – Should rain become too heavy for wipers to keep up with and visibility is bad, pull over. Be sure to turn off your lights so others don’t follow behind you.
Staying safe on the roads is essential. Even if your ride takes longer due to wet roads, arriving safely is the ultimate goal. Always be alert and extra vigilant when driving in the rain. Should you experience an unfortunate accident and need auto body repairs, Barbosa’s Kustom Kolor in Parkville, MO is ready to put the pieces back together for you. They’ll work with your insurance company and even help secure a rental car. Stay safe out there especially on wet roads!