Most driver’s education students are taught how to drive on dry roads. Most people in the United States will deal with wet and slippery roads through portions of the year or will travel to a wet place, so it is important to know how to navigate these conditions. While these skills are taught in driving school, they are hard to remember if they are not used in a long time. It is always good to have a refresher on the rules of driving on wet and slippery roads. Here are some tips you can use to stay safe on the road.
- Slow Down and Make Room. The first rule of driving in any new weather condition or during times of decreased control and visibility is to slow down. With these conditions, you never know when another driver will suddenly stop or slide. Along with slowing down, make sure you are giving everyone around you enough extra room for braking or sliding too. Going slow and leaving room are the keys to avoiding crashing into another vehicle in bad conditions.
- Know How to Handle Hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when a vehicle’s tires lose contact with the road and slide on the water. It is almost like water skiing for cars. This only happens when a car is going fast and there is water on the road. Unfortunately, drivers cannot always see the standing water on the road and will hydroplane without realizing they are in danger. Once you feel contact lost with the road, you will not be able to steer your car very well and the situation feels scary. When hydroplaning, the best car handling advice is to stop pressing the gas, do not brake, and do not make any sudden turning moves. If you are patient and ride it out, the tires will eventually make contact again and you can continue driving.
- Keep Your Tires, Headlights, and Wipers Maintained. No matter what time of year it is or what part of the country you live in, it is important to keep your vehicle maintained. Tires should be well inflated to vehicle manufacturing standards. These numbers are found on the door frame of each vehicle and in the owner’s manual. Please note that the numbers on the side of the tire are maximum air pressures, not recommended pressures. Also, make sure your wipers are making full contact with your windshield to give you maximum viewing during rain and snow. Headlights should be on during a storm or any kind. Headlights not only help you see better in limited visibility, but they also help other drivers see you too.
- Avoid Water on the Road. Do not drive through areas of standing water if you can help it. Puddles can obscure sharp objects that may have blown onto the road from high winds. It is also hard to see how deep a puddle is, causing risk of popping a tire or damaging a car. Areas with deep water are especially dangerous to drive through. If a river is going through a road, your car is at risk of washing away or getting stuck. Be extra careful of these road hazards.
No matter how long you have been driving, it is important to refresh your skills for driving on wet and slippery roads. Teen driving school covers this information, but it needs to be remembered long after that too. While not everyone will come across these conditions regularly, it is important to stay aware of the correct driving protocols.