MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Summer storms can be dangerous especially when you are driving. You may think that the most dangerous time is during a downpour but it is more risky during the first 10 minutes of when it starts to rain.
It is the most slick when it first starts raining because the oil and grease from cars engine can build up. As the rain comes down, the oil and grease starts to wash away. Rainy pavements can be as slippery as an icy road.
Your tires can lose traction with the road at speeds as low as 30 mph and in as little as one-eighth of an inch of water.
Follow these driving tips.
- Allow extra time to get to get to your destination if rain is in the forecast
- Turn on your headlights so you can be seen and see others better.
- Slow down. In speeds of 35 mph or lower, you’re not as likely to hydroplane because your tires get more traction on wet pavement at lower speeds. Slowing down can also give you enough time to react to standing water, or any sudden traffic slowdowns, disabled cars or debris that may be in the road.
- Give yourself extra space between you and the car in front of you.
- Don’t use cruise control as it can cause your tires to spin faster especially if you begin to hydroplane.
- Don’t drive through flowing water moving across the road even if you’re going slow. A car can be swept away by as little as 12 inches of water.
- Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you.
- Avoid braking hard and suddenly, also avoid, sudden acceleration, and sharp turns.
- Stay in your lane especially when it is hard to see
- Avoid puddles of water. Speeding through several inches of water fast can cause you to hydroplane. It could also splash water into your engine and cause it stall. If you do drive through standing water, check that your brakes are working properly by tapping them gently a few times afterward.
Hydroplaning is when your tires lose contact with the road and start spinning on top of a thin film of water. Hydroplaning can happen at any time, a tire can’t direct water away, fast enough to maintain proper contact with the road. This doesn’t just occur when driving through puddles of water that puts you at risk. When it’s raining hard or when your tires are worn, this it can be a risk.
When you have good tread on your tires, the grooves give the water on the road a place where it can move as the tires turn. If you are driving at a safe speed, you’ll have plenty of rubber in contact with the road to keep enough traction.
It can sometimes happen even when your tires are in good condition, if you are speeding.
If you do hydroplane, take your foot off the gas. Do not slam on the brakes or try to steer. A lot of hydroplane sliding only last a split second. If you are driving a stick shift, disengage the clutch.
According to the Federal High Patrol most weather-related car crashes happen on wet pavement when it’s raining. Every year, 3,400 people are killed and over 357,300 people are injured in crashes when it’s raining.
Keeping proper maintenance on your tires and driving with extra cautiously during rain can help keep you from hydroplaning and hopefully to your destination safely.