6 ways to decrease your chances of an accident.
Doesn’t it seem like the moment it starts to rain people just instantaneously forget how to drive? There are always those who don’t slow down or safely alter their driving behaviors, even in Florida’s most severe weather conditions. Which is surprising, since driving in the rain is pretty dangerous. According to AAA, it contributes to more than a million crashes per year. What should you do when you’re caught in a rain storm while driving in Florida? Here are some tips that will help you stay safe:
1. Watch Your Speed
When driving in the rain, remember that wet roads mean the traction between your tires and the road is reduced, which in turn means you may find yourself skidding instead of stopping when you need to. The solution, slow down. Reducing your speed by about one third is the rule of thumb, according to Bill Van Tassel, Ph.D. Manager of driver training programs for AAA in Orlando, Florida. So if you’re driving on wet roads and the speed limit is 55mph, it’s best to take your speed down to 40mph or less, which will help you avoid skidding when you’ve lost traction.
2. Stay Back
Not enough space between you and the car in front of you is one sure way to crash when the roads and your brakes are wet. Years ago, experts recommended that you leave a certain amount of car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead of you, but these days, it’s more like a three-second rule. When there’s no issue with the weather, three to four seconds should be enough, but when you’re traveling in the rain, you should increase your distance to twice that much. Add another two to three seconds if you’re driving in the rain at night. By doing this, you’ll decrease the odds of a collision with the car in front of you in the event that you have trouble stopping.
3. Stay in control
While cruise control is a convenient feature, it’s not recommended you use it while driving in the rain. The wet roads may cause you to begin hydroplaning or slide uncontrollably. Cruise control is designed to keep you at a constant speed, so when your car begins to hydroplane, this feature will often automatically accelerate, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you hit the brakes during hydroplaning, which is a common reaction, skidding only becomes worse and your chances of an accident increase.
If you do hydroplane, it’s recommended that you don’t try to turn your steering wheel. Instead, gently lift your foot off of the gas pedal, and then brake softly so you don’t skid. This helps your car regain contact with the road.
4. Light it up
No matter what time of the day or night it is, if you’re driving during a rainstorm, turn on your headlights. It’s not just about helping you see better, it’s also about making sure you’re visible to other vehicles.
5. Be the middle man
When there’s a lot of rain, it’s common for water to pool in the outside lanes and on the edges of the road. Driving in the middle lane or staying in the middle of the lane you’re in will help you avoid driving through the areas that are saturated with water and lower the chances of skidding or losing control of your car.
6. Wait it out
If the rain is so heavy that you cannot see the car in front of you, the best advice is to pull over and wait. In Florida, rainstorms can last as little as five minutes and often go from a heavy downpour to a light drizzle rather quickly.
When weather conditions are severe, follow these tips to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. Of course, if it’s at all possible, the best course of action would be to avoid driving until the storm has passed. And remember, always check for flooded roads and traffic light outages before venturing out during and after a bad storm.
For more tips and valuable information, be sure to check our blog on a regular basis. And if you’re in need of insurance for your car, motorcycle, boat, or RV, give us a call at 305-648-7070 today.