The first rain that hit Sacramento last fall, I was navigating down US route 50 highway in my car when suddenly my front end hit a rain puddle and hydroplaned out of control. Thankfully I didnt hit anyone else or injury myself. The following rainy weather automotive tips will help you drive safely in wet weather and possibly learn from my mistake.
Image of heavy rain
Prepare your auto for wet weather
- Wiper blades: Make sure your wiper blades are working properly & not streaking. If the rubber wiper part is falling off or tearing, or missing, they should be replaced. Check out an A Autocare blog about wiper blades here.
Image of symptoms to bad wiper blades
- Tires: Make sure your tires are not low on tire pressure or balding. Tire pressure should be atleast 30-35 psi.
image of badly balding tire.
- Lights: Check your headlights, brake lights and turn signals to be sure all are working properly.
Realizing one of your bulbs is out can save you from disaster.
Image of driver side brake light out
- Brakes: Make sure your brakes are working properly. If your brakes are grinding or making noise it could mean your brake pads are gone or almost gone. Also if your steering wheel shakes or the car shakes while braking higher speeds it could mean your brakes have a problem. Steering wheel shake is usually brake or suspension related.
Image of bad brake pad (L), New brake pad (R)
5 tips for driving in wet weather
- Slow down. Drive slower then you normally would. Hydroplaning can happen at 35 mph! Also, never use cruise control on wet roads. Supposedly if you hydroplane under cruise control, the automatic acceleration can cause you to lose control of your vehicle when your tires regain traction.
image of car hydroplaning
- Turn on your headlights. Even if you don’t need them, turn on your headlights. Your headlights will make you more noticeable to other drivers. As they say, if your wipers are on, your headlights should be on.
Image of headlights in a down pour.
- Leave extra distance between cars. In my opinion most drivers tailgate. Use the 3 second rule with normal conditions but in rain conditions increase this to 5 seconds.
Image of car tailgating
- Drive in center lanes, since most roads are crowned in the middle leaving the sides first to flood.
Image of road.
- On a motorcycle, drive in car-tire paths. Cars and trucks can leak oil fluids on the road, usually the center of any lane. The first rain is the worst because the water and oil deposits make the center lane very slippery.
Image of oil depsoit on road.
In the future blogs I will discuss how to check tires, how to refill wiper blades, How to replace headlights and how to replace brake pads.