We’ve had a great fall weather wise here in the Utica area. But with the leaves coming down soon and the weather probably getting rainy, at some point, every driver here has to deal with wet weather. But many people don’t realize the hazards the rain causes, so they just drive as they normally would.
However, with slick roads, flooded streets, and reduced visibility, that can be a recipe for disaster. So instead, follow these simple tips for safer rainy day travels.
- Stay visible. Turn on your headlights so you can see — and be seen — more easily. Actually, here at SZW, we recommend that you drive with your lights on every time you drive…day or night, rain or shine.
- Be patient. Give yourself more time to get where you’re going, and give people more room. Increase your following distance two to three times. The New York State DMV recommends using the two-second rule when following another car. That means that if you select an object near or above the road ahead, like a sign, tree, or overpass, as the vehicle ahead of you passes it, count “one thousand one, one thousand two.” If you reach the same object before you finish counting, you’re travelling too close. So if it’s raining, increase the count to at least three or four seconds.
- Expect slippery conditions. Rain often combines with oil and grease buildup to create slick roadways. Not to mention you can hydroplane — meaning your tires are riding on water instead of pavement — at speeds of as little as 35 mph. If it happens, slow down, gently apply your brakes and keep steering straight ahead.
- Check your car’s systems. How are your wipers? Do your blades need to be replaced? What about your defroster? Driving in the rain is hard enough; don’t do it with fogged-up windows, too.
- Inspect your tires. Are they inflated properly? Do you have enough tread? Put an upside-down penny into the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head, you probably need new tires.
- Never drive in flooded areas. In a flood, it won’t take much water to sweep you away, believe it or not — just 12 inches for a smaller car or 24 inches for almost any vehicle, according to the National Weather Service, which advises, “turn around, don’t drown.”
- Get – or stay – off the road. When conditions are really bad, pull over and take a break. Or, if you can, just stay home. You’ll probably be happier to stay out of the weather, anyway! And you’re certainly likely to be safer.
With a little extra care, you can help keep your car on the road and your rainy day blues to a minimum. Even while traveling in wet conditions. And, as always, if something does go wrong while you’re driving in the rain and you have a car accident, we’re here to help guide you through it.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.