I know that some of you think rain is really romantic. I bet you’re still reminiscing about that scene from The Notebook, where Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams kiss just as it starts raining.
Despite the rain’s atmospheric and romantic attributes, it’s actually very dangerous if you’re driving, or even walking for that matter.
A lot more car accidents happen when it is raining. According to icebike.org, in 2016 alone, over 4 million (4,166,452) people were injured in car accidents, and almost 150,000 (147,611) were killed in that same year. The total cost of traffic accidents in the US in 2016 was an eyewatering $61,663,484,779.
So how can we prevent ourselves from a horrible accident ever happening by slipping out of control? Well, it mostly depends on you and the car you drive.
Since not many of us have access to all-wheel drive cars, which work better in the rain due to them being less slippery, what can we do?
One thing I should say here, is that if your car is rear-wheel drive… well, you’re screwed. No matter how good your tires and your driving is, there is always, always a chance that the car might spin out of control because of rear-wheel drive cars being prone to oversteer (lose traction).
Have you ever heard of hydroplaning? If not, it’s when the car’s tires come into contact with a small body of water, which causes the traction to be diminished. It’s especially bad when going at high speed. Other factors include water depth, the speed of your car, and the condition of your tires (wear and inflation levels).
This is dangerous because it makes the car drift or skid to the opposite lane or off the road completely.
If you have worn tires that aren’t well inflated, your car is guaranteed to lose traction and you will spin out of control and, God forbid, cause an accident.
If you have good tread percentage and your tires are well-maintained and inflated to the correct pressure, then you have nothing to worry about.
Pump up your tires if they’re getting a bit low on pressure, and if they’re getting worn, get new ones when you can afford them.
The drive in the Rain
If your car has part-time all wheel drive, or an all-wheel drive system with the option to select to what axle the power is distributed, make sure the transfer box is in order and keep the car in AWD mode. This is an extra precaution. If your car is front or rear-wheel drive, then you have no option to choose.
Don’t operate the steering wheel frantically. Combined with the slippery surface, this will simply cause your car to oversteer and probably cause an accident.
When you meet water, don’t hit the brakes hard, but don’t just brush the pedal either. If you have an old car with no anti-lock brakes, by all means, avoid pressing the pedal fully down, as the front wheels will lock up and the rear of the car will fishtail, which again, will probably cause an accident.
Take your foot off the gas pedal instead of braking immediately.
When you’re driving stick, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own. Use the brakes if you absolutely have to. If your car is an automatic, push the brake pedal lightly and don’t let go of the steering wheel.
If your car does have ABS (which it most likely does), you can press the pedal a bit more firmly to bring you to a stop. Remember, don’t push it too hard because even ABS has its limits.
I probably don’t need to say this, but wear your seatbelt at all times. Yes, I know, you’re probably saying “Thanks a bunch, Captain Obvious”, but a lot of people don’t actually wear their seatbelt, and these steps won’t do any good whatsoever if you’re not wearing your seatbelt.
Be safe out there, motorists.