Traffic in rainy weather

Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

As snow melts and the rain comes in, it’s safe to say the roads are going to be wet for a while. Unfortunately, that means an extended period of road hazards, standing water, and potentially more potholes. Many drivers aren’t sure how to drive in these conditions and find themselves hydroplaning or spinning out, endangering everyone on the road. To help you stay safe, we’ve put together these tips for driving on wet roads.

Prevent Hydroplaning

The term hydroplaning describes when there is standing water on the road that prevents your tire from making contact with the asphalt. If your tire can’t grip the road, it may glide on top of the road, which creates resistance on the tire and can lead to skidding.

While hydroplaning is a risk whenever the roads are wet, you should take extra care whenever there is visible snow or standing water on the road. Driving into those hazards can quickly cause you to lose control.

Try to identify unsafe road conditions at a distance if possible. That will give you an opportunity to change lanes and potentially avoid puddles of standing water. If you aren’t scanning and change lanes too late, you could inadvertently cause a crash. In fact, about 4-in-10 crashes involving a hazard on the road are caused by drivers swerving to avoid it.

If driving on standing water is unavoidable, you should avoid using the brakes or turning the steering wheel. Doing either of these things when there’s a lot of water on the road could cause you to drift, fishtail, or spin out.

Brake Early

Because water creates resistance on your tires, it’s wise to extend your braking distance. Braking too quickly could cause you to hydroplane and skid. Aim to brake gradually, keeping a consistent pressure while avoiding jolted stops. As a general rule, you should plan to double your braking distance on wet roads.

Be especially careful when driving on highways and double your following distance when possible. If you see brake lights ahead of you, you should start to slow down as well.

Lights On

Dark clouds and fog reduce visibility, which leads to more crashes. That’s why you should turn your headlights on whenever the weather is overcast. This is especially important if you live in urban areas or hilly regions as lights will help other drivers see you before your vehicle enters their field of view. Even if it’s not dark out, remember that it’s harder to see through falling rain and that lights will help you stand out.

Use the Defog

Another way to improve your visibility is by using your car’s defogger. Rains combined with high temperatures can cause your windshield to fog up, making it significantly harder to see. If your windshield is foggy, switch the airflow to defog, turn the heat up, and turn off air circulation. This should clear most of the fog within a few minutes.

That said, resist the urge to rub the windshield with your hand, even if it is difficult to see. You likely won’t clear the fog, but the resulting smudges may make it even harder to see oncoming hazards.

Escape the Fishtail

If you find yourself skidding or fishtailing across the road, you need to remain calm to regain control of your vehicle. Many drivers panic when they drift, instinctively slam the brakes, and try to turn their wheel to fight the skid. This will only make things worse.

The methodology is the same whether you are hydroplaning on snow, ice, or rain.

Stop accelerating

Don’t hit the brakes.

Gradually turn your wheel toward the direction of the drift.

Doing these three things at the same time can help your wheels regain traction and increase your chances of preventing a potentially serious crash.

If you are ever struck by a driver who lost control in rainy conditions, you have options. The weather is almost never an excuse for negligent driving, as everyone on the road is expected to drive safely for the conditions. For that reason, if you are injured by a fishtailing driver, know that you have the right to contact an attorney and pursue justice.

To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Connecticut car accident attorney from Carter Mario Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (203) 806-9256 or send us an email.