Turn on your lights
Whenever visibility is poor, with or without rain, headlights are a good way to let other drivers know where you are. Remember, you are not the only one affected by poor visibility. You may be able to see other vehicles without their headlights on but others may not have vision or windshield wipers as good as yours. If rain is heavy, it is recommended to turn on your hazard flashers, not only to let others know you are there, but also to let them know that you are driving slowly and cautiously.
Check your tires
Tires should be checked on a regular basis. Bald tires reduce your traction on wet roads, and offer little resistance to hydroplaning. When your vehicle drives over water, the water is displaced and it needs somewhere to go quickly. The best place for it is between the treads of your tires.
If your tires are bald, the water has no place to go, and you end up riding on a layer of water (Hydroplaning).
Turn on your wipers – Wipers should be replaced regularly (once a year). Wiper blades in bad condition are unable to clear water from the windshield, and will distort your view. Don’t be afraid to use the washer fluid to clear any dirt or oil sprayed on your windshield by other vehicles. Be sure to carry extra washer fluid in the winter when the salt from the roads is more frequently sprayed, and can cause limited visibility.
It is also important to consider having your windshield treated with a water repellant coating which will help keep the water from pooling and reducing your visibility.
Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, resulting in a continuous sheet of water to flow over windshield. If visibility is so limited that you are unable to see the edges of the road, or other drivers at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at protected areas such as rest stops or shopping plazas. If you have no choice but to stop on the side of the road, pull over as far as possible, and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on hazard flashers to alert other drivers of your whereabouts.
Rain and high humidity can quickly cause windows to fog up. In a car equipped with air conditioning, turn up the heat and direct the airflow to your defrosters with the AC switched on. In a car without AC, direct the heat to the defrosters, and open your side windows to get the air moving.
The airflow will clear the windshield and side windows first, finally traveling to the rear window. If all else fails, a rag or article of clothing will also well. Drivers should regularly clean their windshield and windows, both on the inside and outside, to help them see in good, and bad weather.
Handling a skid
Losing control of your car on wet pavement is frightening. You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Brake before entering curves, and steer and brake lightly when turning.
If you find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. This will bring the back end of your car in line with the front.
Leave lots of space between you and the car in front of you,as it takes longer to stop, and if you have to hit the brakes hard, your tires will lock up, leading you will hydroplane and you will most likely hit the car in front of you. If possible, drive in the fast (left) lane, where there are fewer cars and less oil deposited on the road. Also, because of the built-in slope of the road, water drains towards the far right lanes.
By Sandra Barbaro of Albion Auto Collision