Although winter brings its fair share of driving troubles with snow, blizzards, and heavy rain, our winter driving woes are not over yet. With La Niña bringing a cooler and rainier summer season to Vancouver this year, it’s good to be prepared for rainy driving weather. Although many Vancouverites are well equipped when it comes to rainy driving, a surprise storm can catch anyone off guard. It’s good to know what to do in a pinch and keep yourself and your loved ones safe in case of emergency. Of course, if the worst comes, a towing company can be there in a short amount of time to retrieve both you and your car.
Here’s how to keep safe during those long summer drives…
1. Drive slowly, but not too slow
A slower car is a safer car, most of the time. Yes, driving slowly and cautiously provides time to swerve or course-correct in case something goes wrong. However, driving too slowly can cause problems for others on the road and creates a dangerous driving condition for both you and others. When the road becomes obscured by rain or debris, be sure to slow down to have a better vantage point of what’s to come. But don’t slow down too much! Provide yourself the amount of caution required to drive safely without taking other drivers by surprise.
2. Increase your following distance
After slowing down, continue to maintain a larger following distance between your car and the car in front of you. This will give you more time to break in case the car ahead needs to slow down or break too. It takes longer to slow down a car in wet conditions, so be sure to do this if it starts to rain. Many car accidents occur in rainy conditions; therefore, increasing your following distance can prevent a collision in the off chance something unexpected occurs.
3. Stop relying on cruise control
Although tempting, relying on cruise control can be dangerous if conditions change or worsen, especially in the rain. Cruise control works wonderfully in dry conditions; however, it fails to perform effectively in the rain. Learn to drive on the road without cruise control and you’ll be better prepared for a variety of weather conditions and problems they bring.
4. Avoid hydroplaning!
Hydroplaning is when your tires lose traction on a wet road, causing a loss of vehicular control which is incredibly dangerous. Therefore, it’s important to know how to avoid hydroplaning as well as what to do when it happens.
Hydroplaning often happens when the brakes are slammed on a wet road and the momentum of the car continues to push the car forward with the wet road providing little friction. When this happens, it becomes very difficult to steer your car. It happens to many drivers in rainy weather and can’t always be avoided, despite the danger it causes.
To avoid hydroplaning, learn to slow down and avoid puddles when it begins to rain. If it continues to occur despite driving at a moderate speed, check your tires once you’re parked to make sure they’re properly inflated. Poorly inflated car tires will only worsen the problem.
If you find yourself hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas to slow down. But NEVER slam on the brakes! Doing so can cause your car to spin out of your control. If you need to stop to avoid a collision and your car has an anti-lock braking system, steadily press down on the brake pedal and don’t remove it until you come to a stop. If your car has a regular brake system, pump the brake pedal lightly and quickly to come to a stop. Maintain control of the wheel and keep the tires pointed forwards without jerking the wheel in any particular direction. If you find yourself in a bind after a bout of hydroplaning, call our towing company for immediate assistance.
5. Use your headlights
This is highly recommended when it’s raining. Turning your headlights on will increase the visibility of your car for others on the road and will further prevent a collision from occurring. Be sure not to use your high beams as doing so will decrease both your own and others’ visibility.
6. Be aware of larger vehicles
Larger vehicles are more prone to losing control in rainy conditions. Maintain a safe distance when possible. As a towing company, we know that big trucks can be tough to maneuver. As such, our drivers go through extensive training and our trucks are regularly inspected for safety. If you need a towing company you can trust, our team at Mundie’s are up to the task.