Drive Safely | Heavy Rain & Wind
Be prepared to adjust your driving based on changing road conditions due to heavy rain and high winds. Driving in the wind and rain isn’t anything new, but driving in extreme or unpredictable weather can be cause for concern. This type of weather is exactly that, unpredictable and can put you, your passengers or other drivers in a scary situation. If you at any point feel like the stress of driving is too much for you to handle, pull over at the next available safe area and wait it out. There is no sense in putting yourself, or others in danger if you are not comfortable on the road, stay off completely.
Rain often brings low visibility, hail, overwhelming noise and the potential of hydroplaning if traveling too fast. In these conditions braking, steering, and driving, in general, can lead to losing control of a vehicle. Hydroplaning can occur when a vehicle is moving too fast during heavy rain, causing your vehicle’s tires to travel over the layer of water present, instead of gripping the surface of the road. Some simple tips can make your commute safer in heavy rain.
1. Turn Your Lights On: PLEASE DO THIS! Turn your headlights on to help other vehicles see you. Nothing is worse than coming up behind a vehicle or trying to change lanes in reduced visibility when the vehicles around you can really not be seen. Help yourself, and the drivers around you by turning your lights on.
2. Give Yourself Time: Slow and steady is the rule of thumb here. Keep yourself from hydroplaning, by maintaining a speed safe for your specific weather conditions. Do not let yourself get frustrated by other drivers slowing down, by weaving in and out of traffic. Adding a few extra minutes to your commute is the safer plan when it’s raining.
3. Give Yourself Space: Add 1-5 extra seconds of following time, depending on visibility and amount of water pooling on the road’s surface. Reaction time decreases here, so make sure if you need to stop, you have the space to do so. If an incident happens with another vehicle make sure you both pull over if the space is available, and when it is safe to do so. Take photos, exchange information and file a claim with your insurance company if necessary.
Strong winds can occur at any time, they don’t necessarily need to be in combination with rain or snow. The more open the space, the more surface the wind has to ramp up. Also be cautious in windy conditions when driving through tunnels, using overpasses or exits into open air spaces. The wind can be pushed through these areas more forcefully as it does not have many other ways to dissipate. Some simple tips can make your commute safer in heavy wind.
1. Undivided Attention: Reduce your speed, turn down the radio, and focus your undivided attention towards the road.
2. Keep Both Hands On The Wheel: Maintain a good hand position on your wheel, in the event of sudden gusts, or a consistent pull to one side. This rings especially true for large trucks, those pulling trailers, or 5th wheels.
3. Anticipate Wind Gusts: Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds, and keep up to date with the weather warnings in your area. The news and Twitter are your friends here.
4. Other Vehicles: Be aware of large vehicles on the road. Vehicles can be pushed between lanes during sudden gusts or based on the load that they might be carrying. Large trucks and trailers may have difficulty maintaining a straight line, and can even be tipped over if the wind is strong enough. Give them space, and stay out of blind spots.
Stay safe, and drive cautious during times of severe weather in your areas.