Spring rains bring dangerous driving conditions. Be prepared with these tips for preparing your vehicle—and yourself.
Traction is the key to maintaining control in turns and stopping on wet surfaces. Tires that are underinflated or don’t have enough tread increase the risk of hydroplaning, which is when a wedge of water actually separates a tire from the road. At least once a month, check each of your tires for tread depth and proper inflation.
Wipers that are old, cracked or hard can skip and streak, decreasing visibility. Since winter can be especially hard on wipers—from frigid temperatures to clearing the windshield of ice, snow and road salt—the start of spring is an ideal time to replace them. And while you’re at it, top off the washer fluid.
With someone’s help, check the headlights, side-marker lights, emergency flashers, parking lights, front and rear directional signals, taillights, and brake lights. Make sure they work and are clean—a quick wipe can make a big difference. Some states require headlights to be on when it’s raining, but no matter where you are, remember this phrase: “Wipers on? Lights on.”
It is recommended you keep a distance of three to four seconds between vehicles. Increase that distance when it’s raining or the roads are wet. In addition, avoid driving through large puddles—which could be concealing potholes—and standing bodies of water.
While this feature can be very convenient (and improve your gas mileage) on a dry road, when used in wet conditions you risk losing control of your vehicle in the time it takes to disengage or hit the brakes. Whether it’s raining or not, never use cruise control on a wet road.
Driving with your hazard lights flashing is against the law in many states, but even if it’s legal where you live, we advise against this practice. There are safer ways to stay visible, such as tapping your brakes. But if conditions and visibility are so poor that you’re having trouble seeing, better to exit the road and wait until conditions improve.
Douglas Automotive Repair Inc includes a safety check with every oil change free of charge. Give us a call for your spring vehicle safety check.