When it rains, it pours. While most parts of Wisconsin do not experience frequent torrential downpours often, storms still have the power to wreak havoc on roads and homes. Driving during storms is never easy or fun, and it can be extremely dangerous if a driver is not prepared. With heavy rain, wind, and decreased visibility, it’s crucial to take extra precautions to ensure everyone on the road remains safe.
How to safely drive through a Thunderstorm
Ensure your vehicle is in good condition before the storm hits
First and foremost, and no matter the climate in which you are driving, it is crucial for safety that your tires are properly inflated, your windshield wipers and brakes are working properly, and your headlights and taillights are functioning.
Plan your route accordingly
Before driving in a rainstorm, plan your route ahead of time and avoid areas that are prone to flooding. If you encounter a flooded area, do not try to drive through it. Turn around and find an alternate route.
Not only do wet roads reduce the amount of traction your tires have, but they can also make it more difficult to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and road signs. By slowing down, you give yourself more time to react to unexpected hazards and increase your chances of avoiding a collision. When it’s raining heavily, your tire traction can become compromised, making it a bit more difficult to control your vehicle. To avoid hydroplaning, be sure to slow down and keep a safe distance from other cars to avoid accidents.
Maintain a safe distance
This is particularly important in heavy rain, when it can be more difficult to see other cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Maintaining a safe following distance can help you avoid rear-ending another vehicle if they suddenly slow down or stop, and it can give you more time to react if another car swerves or changes lanes unexpectedly.
Use your brakes wisely
If you need to slow down or stop, apply the brakes gently to avoid skidding. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm pressure to the pedal to stop the car.
Turn on your headlights
It’s recommended to have your headlights on when your windshield wipers are on, regardless of the time of day. Headlights increase your ability to see other vehicles and obstacles on the road, and you also make it easier for other drivers to see you. This is especially important in adverse conditions.
Watch for standing water
Standing water can be extremely dangerous when driving in heavy rain. Avoid areas with deep water, as this can lead to aquaplaning or hydroplaning. Abrupt movements can cause your car to spin out of control, especially if the roads are wet. Even a small amount of water on the road can cause a vehicle to lose traction and spin out of control. If you are unable to avoid standing water, it is important to slow down and drive through the water as slowly as possible.
Avoid distractions and remain calm
Driving in heavy rain can be stressful, which is why it’s important to stay focused, attentive and aware of your surroundings. Avoid distractions that take your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel such as texting or eating. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the noise and commotion of the storm, but by staying calm and focused, you can maintain control of your vehicle and react to unexpected hazards quickly and effectively.
Stay off the road
If possible, avoid driving if the storm is too severe. If the rain is so heavy that you cannot see the road or other vehicles ahead of you, or if the wind is strong enough to push your vehicle off the road, it is best to pull over and wait for the storm to pass — or stay home. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.
By following these safety tips, you can minimize the risk of accidents when driving during a heavy storm. By putting safety first, you can ensure that you and your passengers arrive at your destination safely, even in the worst of weather conditions. In the event of an accident, having the right car insurance offers the protection you need. To learn more, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.