Driving in rainy and wet conditions is far more dangerous than many California drivers appreciate. We are not accustomed to driving in the rain. People often fail to show the proper caution in inclement weather, which leads to collisions.
By keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can greatly reduce your chances of striking another vehicle on the road. Driving defensively is always a good idea, but when the roads are slippery, it becomes even more important. Remember to:
- Slow Down and Keep Your Distance. The simplest and most important thing you can do to stay safe when driving on wet roads is to slow down. Wet conditions greatly increase the distance you need to stop your vehicle, so the slower you drive, the more you can compensate for this change. In addition, watch the other drivers on the road and make sure you give vehicles in front of you plenty of space. Since you need more room to stop, you need that extra space, even if you are driving more slowly than usual.
- Plan Ahead and Be Prepared. The right time to start thinking about driving on wet roads is not when the rain begins to fall—it is beforehand. Check your windshield wipers regularly to make sure they are working properly to keep your windshield clear, and replace them as needed. Be sure to check your tire pressure, and also look at how worn your tires are. The tread on your tires is designed to help with traction on wet roads, so old, worn-down tires lose that advantage and are less likely to allow you to stay in control of your vehicle.
- Handle Skids and Hydroplanes. When driving on wet roads, going into a skid or starting to hydroplane can cause panic, but you must stay calm and reclaim control of your vehicle. Do not slam on your brakes, which only makes the situation worse. If you begin to skid, gently turn the wheels of your car in the direction of the skid and pump your brakes slowly or gently apply pressure if you have antilock brakes. Once your vehicle regains control, straighten out your wheel and continue driving at a slower speed. If you start to hydroplane, which means your tires lose contact with the road and ride on the surface of the water, do not hit the brakes hard or try to turn. During a hydroplane, slowly ease up on the gas and keep your car going straight until you feel the tires regain traction. Brake lightly if you need to but do not hit the brakes too hard, even after you reconnect with the road.
- Make Yourself Visible and Watch for Others. When driving in the rain, turn on your headlights as soon you need your windshield wipers. Even if this does not help you, it makes you more visible to other drivers. While driving on wet roads, avoid distractions like looking at your phone, adjusting vehicle controls, and talking to other passengers. Stay focused on driving and the other vehicles around you. This is especially important if you are in areas with lots of curves, like the hills around Santa Barbara, so slow down to maintain control on wet, winding highways.
If you have been in a car accident in Santa Barbara because of someone else not driving safely on wet roads, call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 for a free consultation about your rights and legal options.