Rain in the forecast, are you and your car ready?

Rain, or at least some sort of precipitation is a possibility these next few days. Motorists, are you ready? Below are some tips to follow before, during and after a wet weather occurrence tips from the California Office of Traffic Safety:
  • Before the rain begins to fall, replace old or brittle windshield wiper blades.
  • Drive in the middle lanes during rainy weather, as water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
  • Maintain a distance of greater than three seconds behind the vehicle ahead to allow time to stop should that driver suddenly hit the brakes.
  • By increasing your following distance, you may not have to use your brakes as much. Practice taking your foot off your accelerator to slow down.
  • Avoid braking hard when you need to slow or stop. This can cause your wheels to lock and cause your vehicle to skid. Instead, maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Keep an eye out for brake lights in front of you
  • Turn on your headlights when the weather is gloomy, rainy, foggy or overcast to better see and be seen.
  • Do not drive beyond the limits of visibility. Glare from oncoming headlights, amplified by raindrops on your windshield can cause temporary loss of visibility and substantially increase driver fatigue.
  • Avoid driving through deep water, which can cause serious damage to modern vehicles' electrical system.
  • Never drive through moving water if you cannot see the ground, as your car can be swept off the road.
  • Do not use cruise control on wet or icy roads. This function can cause skidding and loss of tire traction.
  • Watch out for places where floodwater can collect, such as low-lying roads near streams and dips under rail or highway bridges.
  • Do not drive with frosted or foggy windows. Let them clear before hitting the road. One way to defog your windows is to open a window to let the cool air inside.
  • If you hydroplane, which occurs when heavy rain and fast speeds makes your car ride atop a thin layer of water opening you up to skidding or drifting out of your travel lane:
  • Do not brake or turn suddenly. Instead, slowly lift your foot off the gas until your vehicle slows down and you can feel traction
  • on the road again.
  • Turn your steering wheel toward the skid. As you regain control, gently straighten the wheels.
  • If you must brake, do it gently with light pumping action. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally because the vehicle’s computer will mimic a pumping action.
Visit http://ots.ca.gov/ for more winter travel tips, including driving in snow.
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