Saturday, October 10, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Rain and Your Safety

Rain is one of the most common of natural occurrences experienced by everyone on a frequent basis. You should always be aware of the dangers of rainy weather because your life could depend on knowing a few simple precautions for use during rainy weather. Rain is a beautiful and life-giving thing but it can also be quite dangerous if you are not careful to avoid its hazards.

Rain causes thousands of vehicle accidents every year. Most of these accidents can be avoided by following a few safety guidelines. It is important to remember that there is a big difference in driving during rainy weather and times when the weather is sunny. Rain causes asphalt roadways to become very slick. A thin film of water on asphalt roads can cause them to become very slick and may cause your tires to lose traction. Rain will eventually wash away the oil buildup on roadways, but the first few hours are usually the most dangerous time and could result in a greater chance of you losing control of your vehicle.

Rain can also reduce your perception when driving. Many times it is extremely difficult to see when driving in the rain. Many of you may have already experienced driving in what is usually referred to as a “blinding rain” which can reduce your visibility to zero. The rain can also affect the action of your windshield wipers and headlights reducing their effectiveness. Your perception of the road itself can also be affected by the rain. It can also disguise hidden dangers like pot holes or areas of the road that may have been washed away by flash flooding; a hazard associated with heavy rainfall in a short period of time. You should make an effort to be aware of any possibility of flash flooding that may occur in your area. While the majority of people know that it is best to slow down when driving in the rain, there are those who don’t (or won’t) slow down in the rain. An increased awareness of the other drivers around you may help you to avoid an accident due to their carelessness.

Never use your cruise control in rainy weather because there is actually a chance that your vehicle could accelerate suddenly causing a loss of control if you begin to hydroplane on a wet road or highway.

Never try to cross running water. Many roads have low water crossings that can flood during periods of heavy rainfall. Seek an alternate route or wait till the water subsides. If you can't see the entire road there is a chance that it is no longer there. You probably don’t want to see your vehicle floating down the creek while you watch.

It is also important to remember that the brakes on your vehicle will work differently in the rain. Brakes do not work as effectively when wet and you should avoid “slamming” on the brakes during wet weather. You will also have considerably less traction on slick or wet roads created during periods of rainfall. Keep some extra distance between yourself and the other drivers on the road. This will give you the additional time and distance to slow down if necessary. Slow down on curves or when making turns, keep your lights on (some states even require that your headlights to be on when your windshield wipers are being used) and make sure to use your turn signals.

Using a little common sense and keeping your vehicle in good mechanical condition will help you to avoid the hazards of driving in rainy weather.

Staying above the water line!



Ken said...

...great reminders,we've had a 'monsoon' season here in ME Ms lately,don't remember when i've seen so much rain...seems lotsa folks just plain forget how to drive,season to season huh ?...

Ken said...

...ooops,supposed to have been NE...North East'm still digesting first round of coffee this morn'

Riverwalker said...

To: Ken

Same here. Got over 16 inches out at the farm the other day. Washed out the road in a bit and knocked down some fence due to high water in the creek but nothing that can't be fixed.

Thanks Ken.


Joseph said...

Related to driving safety in rain I highly recommend RainX (or something similar). It not only helps strip ice off of windows more easily but significantly improves visibility in harder rains if applied properly.

Also if you smoke or live around a lot of dust take the time to clean the inside of your windows, another thing to help visibility. I've been in some cars that gave me an appreciation for people who need glasses, it was a blurry mess.

riverwalker said...

To: Joseph

As always, another great tip! Clean windows are a must for any type of driving.

It's also a good idea to make sure your defroster is working properly...

Thanks Joseph!


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