Minnesotans know well that winter weather can prove to be dangerous. But it’s not just snow and ice that impact your driving—rain is an underrated factor when it comes to safe driving. And with spring and the rainy season at our doorstep, it’s a great time for a reminder on how we should be driving in the rain. Need some repairs before setting out in the rain? At Kennedy Transmission, our Minnesota-St. Paul auto shops are here to help.
Driving in the Rain Risks
While perhaps not as obviously dangerous as snow, sleet, ice, or everyone’s favorite, wintry mix, rain can still be dangerous. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 70% of all vehicle crashes happen on wet pavement, and almost half of all crashes happen in the rain. That’s because of the following risks:
• Limited visibility—A heavy, driving rain can severely limit your visibility. Even a lighter rain can pose a problem if your windshield wipers and headlights aren’t up to the task.
• Flooded areas of the road—Some roads are prone to flash flooding. If you attempt to drive through flooded portions, you could get stuck, so be on the lookout and don’t push your luck.
• Hydroplaning—When your tires cease making contact with the road and instead only make contact with the standing water, that is known as hydroplaning. It results in significantly less friction, and is more likely if you have bald tires.
Tips for Driving in the Rain
Perhaps the simplest tip for driving in rain is also the most obvious despite it being overlooked by many drivers: use both your windshield wipers and headlights. In fact, Minnesota law requires you to run your headlights in the rain. Even if it’s relatively bright outside, your headlights help other cars see you, which helps to prevent crashes.
Other safe driving tips in the rain include:
• Avoiding cruise control—Your cruise control does not know it’s raining, and could do something that would be unsafe for the conditions you’re in.
• Be cool during a skid—When responding to a skid or during hydroplaning, do not make any sudden movements. Take your foot off the gas and continue to steer in the direction you want. Avoid braking if possible.
• Leave more room in front of you—It simply takes longer to stop in wet pavement. By leaving more room in front of you, you give yourself more time to stop (and potentially prevent a crash).
Keep Up With Car Maintenance
No matter how attentive you are at driving in the rain, safe driving tips can only get you so far. It’s vital that you have well-maintained equipment on your car. Brakes, tires, windshield wipers, and headlights can make or break your rainy season drive. Here at Kennedy Transmission, our local auto shops near you can provide all your repair and maintenance needs. We’ll get you driving—rain or shine—in no time.