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How to Drive Like a Pro in Heavy Precipitation

Whether it’s white and fluffy snow or wet and pounding rain, driving in heavy precipitation can wreak havoc on your nerves and your ability to drive safely. Find out what the pros know and be better prepared for winter than ever before.

Heavy precipitation varies depending on where you live and the season. Heavy rain can occur at any time of the year, but is most likely to happen during the spring and summer. Winter brings with it the opportunity for heavy sleet, ice and snow. Being prepared for how to drive during these conditions will help you build confidence as a driver and keep you safer on the wet and slippery roads.

Driving in Heavy Rain

While rain might not seem like it’s too dangerous, it is responsible for scores of accidents on the roadways. Visibility is greatly reduced and there’s the possibility for the vehicle to lose grip on the road in areas of standing water and suddenly be hydroplaning.

Slow it Down

The posted speed limit is for when there are ideal weather and road conditions. Driving 55 mph in a heavy rain event isn’t a good idea. Others might be driving more quickly than you are, and if that is the case, you will likely feel more comfortable driving in the far right lane. Give yourself plenty of time for braking and leave a little extra time to get to your destination.

Headlights On

In many states, the law is to turn your headlights on whenever you run your windshield wipers. Even if it isn’t the law where you live, it’s a good habit to get into. The decreased visibility makes it more difficult to see other drivers (and for them to see you) so having your headlights on will put you in a safer driving mode.

Be Aware of Hydroplaning Conditions

The first few minutes of a rainstorm are generally the most dangerous, as the mixture of rain and oil on the road make the pavement especially slick. Waiting a bit before heading out is a good way to avoid this. Be aware though, that if you encounter standing water at an increased speed you could hydroplane and lose control of your vehicle. To avoid this, drive slowly through standing water if you can’t get around it. If you do end up hydroplaning, let up off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you want the car to go.

Avoid Standing Water When Possible

There are some areas that are renowned for standing water: underpasses, valleys, exit ramps, etc. It only takes a couple of inches of water for you to lose control of your vehicle and for it to cause damage to electrical components.

Driving in Heavy Snow

Getting yourself and your vehicle prepared for the snowy season is a great start to conquering it! While it can be intimidating to drive through heavy snow, you can alleviate some of the stress by knowing what to do when you encounter it.

The first rule for driving in the winter is – take your time. Don’t expect that a 15 minute commute in the summer will be the same length in the winter. Get use to padding your commute time.  

Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly

When the roads are covered with snow, ice or rain they are a different animal than when they are dry. Your car is going to respond to the roads differently. Accelerating and decelerating slowly will allow the tires to gain traction as opposed to skidding sideways or spinning out.

Increase Follow Distance

Keep as large a distance as possible between you and the driver in front of you. At least 5 or 6 seconds in the winter is really ideal, though sometimes that isn’t possible depending on traffic. Adjust speed as necessary if you aren’t able to keep the distance. You’ll need longer time and space to stop.

Avoid Stopping

Stopping on snowy roads can make it difficult to start back up. When you are approaching a changing light, try to slow down instead of stopping altogether so that you can (safely) go through it when it turns green. In the same vein, when you’re going up a snowy hill, you’ll need inertia to help get you to the top, so you won’t want to lose that by stopping mid-hill.

Drive like a pro this winter by employing and practicing safety tips that will get you through the roughest of what winter has to offer. Another pro tip is to make sure you have the right car insurance, just in case! Before the roads get tricky is the time to review car insurance quotes that can meet your commute and daily needs for a long, arduous winter.

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