5 Tips for Driving in the Rain
Santa Clarita does not see rain very often. However, when it does, drivers may be unprepared to deal with the unique challenges. The roads are slick, traction is reduced, and visibility is limited. This means drivers must use extra caution to avoid a crash. There are several steps you can take to increase your safety while driving in the rain.
- Go slow. When driving in the rain, you need to go about 5-10 miles per hour under the speed limit. Roads are slick, and it is important to reduce your speed so you can avoid hydroplaning (when your tires lose traction). Furthermore, visibility may be low, and driving slower can give you extra time to see obstacles in the road.
- Keep your distance. When driving in bad weather, it is a good idea to maintain a buffer space between your car and the cars around you. This can give you extra time to brake or make a lane change if necessary. Following another driver too closely increases your risk of a crash, because you will have no time to respond if the driver suddenly brakes.
- Use your lights. The California Department of Transportation requires drivers who are using their windshield wipers to also have their headlights on. This not only helps you see better, but it increases your visibility to others on the road. However, it is important to avoid using your bright lights, as these will reflect off the fog and reduce visibility.
- Accelerate and brake gradually. As mentioned above, the risk of hydroplaning is increased during heavy rain. The dirt and oil from cars will mix with rainwater during the first half hour of rain, making the roads very slick. This means, if you brake suddenly or punch the accelerator, your wheels may lose traction and skid. It is best to use the gas and brake pedals gently to avoid hydroplaning.
- Stay alert. Especially in rainy weather, it is important to have your complete focus on driving. This means your eyes should be scanning the road for obstacles, your hands should be on the wheel, and your mind should be focused and alert. This way, if a dangerous condition occurs and you need to make evasive maneuvers, you will be able to do so quickly. This will help keep you safe while driving in the rain.
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