As cooler weather begins to approach, it frequently brings with it a sharp change in the kind of driving you can expect. September is, on average, the rainiest month in Ontario, which means that your morning commutes will likely involve some extra precipitation in the next few weeks. After a summer full of hot, sunny days, it’s not uncommon to discover that you need to refresh yourself on how to navigate through a thunderstorm, especially in a car.
Before you grab your umbrella and charge out onto the road in the next downpour, take a moment to review these seven tips for safe driving in rainy weather.
1. Slow Things Down
Rain complicates things. It’s harder to see what’s in front of you, and harder still to estimate how far away something is. Your brakes will only work half as well as they do when they’re dry, which means you’re going to need more space to stop than you’re used to.
If it’s wet, rainy, and drizzly, your first instinct every time you hit the gas should be to go a bit more slowly than usual. In addition to giving yourself more physical room to react to sudden hazards, you’ll also give yourself a bit more time, allowing you to make critical choices for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
2. Light It Up (Literally)
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving at noon on a rainy day. If your headlights aren’t on, they should be, and for a very simple reason. You may not have any trouble seeing the road, but your headlights will help other drivers see you through the spatter on their windshield. This is especially key if the rain is heavy enough to kick up a spray or fog over the road, which can make it extremely difficult to make out other cars, especially if they’re a darker colour.
3. Clear Out the Fog
Your wipers are on full speed, but you still can only barely see through your window. Why? Well, when it rains, the air becomes saturated with humidity, and when this wet air comes into contact with your nice, cool windows, it condenses into fog. Fortunately, there’s an easy trick to help get rid of it.
Simply turn on your air conditioning and route the air through the vents in your dashboard, rather than the defrost setting. Don’t have air conditioning? Cracking your windows open slightly can help keep the air temperature consistent both in and outside your car, which prevents fogging.
If you really want to beat the fog, take an extra step before you head out on the road: apply a thin layer of shaving cream across the inside of your windshield with a clean towel, and wipe off the excess with another clean towel. It sounds more like a college prank than a practical tip, but the shaving cream leaves behind a very thin layer that helps keep water from condensing on the glass.
4. Don’t Panic When Hydroplaning
For many drivers, hydroplaning is a terrifying experience. You’ve lost control of a vehicle that weighs several tons, and now your safety – and the safety of those around you – isn’t certain. However, the very worst thing you can do is also likely your first instinct: to panic.
If you feel the tires lose grip and you begin to hydroplane on a thin layer of water, stay calm. Resist the urge to yank the wheel aside and keep it pointed toward where you want to go. Take your foot off the gas, and weight will naturally shift back to the front of the car as you slow down, helping your front tires regain their grip.
5. Keep Your Brakes Dry
Wet brakes are slick brakes, but how do you avoid them after you’ve gone through a puddle or if you’re kicking up spray as you drive? You can’t swerve around every wet patch of pavement, but you can dry your brakes off. Gently apply your brakes for a moment after driving through a wet area, and the heat generated by the pad contact will help evaporate any water that’s splashed up onto it.
6. Try Not to Splash in Puddles
We’ve all been ruined by cinematic car chases, where the hero speeds through a deep puddle at top speed, causing a majestic spray of mist around their Aston Martin (or whatever other iconic models they happen to be driving). Unfortunately, trying to pull this same stunt in real life can have the nasty side effect of spraying water up into the delicate inner workings of your engine and electrical system. If you have the option to avoid driving through deep water, always take the higher road.
7. Make Sure You’ve Got Car Insurance
Even with all the best tips and advice at hand, you can’t predict everything that you’ll come across while driving, which is why it’s so important to make sure that you, your vehicle, and your passengers are covered by the right automobile insurance. If you do have an accident, or if your car is damaged in some way, your car insurance may be able to help you pay for repairs.
At Will Marshall Insurance Brokers, we have over 35 years of experience in car insurance. Our customers have long-term relationships with us that are more than just professional: we build unique and personal relationships with them. As automobile insurance brokers, we provide unbiased information to our clients and hold the insurance company accountable whenever necessary, so you can relax knowing that both your property and your interests are covered.
Don’t roll into autumn without the right car insurance coverage. If you’d like to learn more about finding the right automobile insurance for you and your family, give us a call at 705-726-2551 or send us a message online.