How to Drive Safely in Wind and Rain
Spring is upon us, and summer is right around the corner. That means more rain, wind, and hazardous driving conditions. To help you drive safely in heavy rain and wind, here are 15 tips on driving in bad weather, straight from HEART!
If you do run into problems, stop by one of HEART’s three Chicago area locations — HEART Wilmette, HEART Evanston, and HEART Northbrook — and we’ll have you good as new in no time.
Not only do we provide fully transparent car repairs, taking photos to show you why repairs are needed, but we also offer loaner cars should you need to run errands while your car’s being worked on.
Luckily you won’t need it too long: 98% of our service is completed the same day, one of the many reasons we have over 700 five-star customer reviews!
How to Drive in the Rain
Driving in the rain may seem simple enough but remember that a little rain can lead to very dangerous conditions. Not only is the water wetting the surface, but it’s also pushing dried oil to the surface, creating a perfect storm for skidding.
1. Pay More Attention
The average driver spends around 7 hours on the road each week, so it’s easy to go into autopilot when on the road, especially if you travel the same route every day. Avoid this habit, particularly if it’s raining. You’re operating a machine! Stay focused and alert.
2. Turn on Your Headlights
Many state laws require headlights in poor driving conditions, including rain. Even if you don’t have such laws, it’s best practice to turn on your headlights if a downpour occurs, or even a drizzle!
3. Turn on Your Wipers
This one may sound obvious, but what’s not obvious is that windshield wipers should be changed every six months to a year. Stop into HEART for you next pair of windshield wipers, and we will install them for you!
4. Check Your Car’s Tires
Worn tires have less tread, which is dangerous, particularly in rainy weather. If it’s raining, pouring, or even sunny, make sure your tires have a reliable tread and plenty of it. (For more on tire maintenance, read our “Nine Best Practices for Tire Maintenance: (https://heartautocare.com/best-practice/tire-maintenance/)If you are still unsure stop by one of HEART Certified Auto Care’s convenient locations in Evanston, Wilmette, or Northbrook, Illinois.
5. Give Them Space
Safe drivers should always leave 2 seconds of time between them and the car ahead, but it’s best to double this in rainy weather, especially on the highway.
6. Slow Down
Be sure to go at least 10 mph less than the limit on rainy days, preferably more. This leaves more time between you and other cars and gives more reaction time, should you encounter a slick spot, wind or another obstacle.
How to Drive in High Winds
Wind is far more dangerous than many people realize. It can come out of nowhere and easily move your car, as well as large trucks. While more common in open spaces, high winds can whip especially hard on highways, in tunnels and when driving between large mountains.
Here’s how to avoid being carried away by high winds.
1. Be Ready
The best way to handle wind gusts safely is to be prepared. If you know a strong storm’s coming through, or you’re in a windy area—the plains, for example—you should expect wind at any moment.
2. Avoid Large Vehicles
Tractor trailers and other tall vehicles are especially vulnerable to wind gusts, so be aware of where they are when driving in windy conditions, and try to avoid these areas by passing through them or slowing down. Driving fast in inclement weather is simply not a good idea.
3. Get a Grip
Place both hands on the wheel. It helps prevent wind related pushing by maintaining a strong hold of your wheel at all times, assisting you in steering against any wind that comes your way.
How to Avoid Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is a very real hazard. In case you’re not familiar with this phenomenon, hydroplaning happens when your car’s tires lose traction, reducing contact with the road. The most common cause is water—in fact, it takes just 1/12 of an inch to create hazardous conditions—but oily roads and poor tire tread could be a factor, too. So, how do you avoid hydroplaning?
1. Slow Down!
The easiest—and only—way to prevent hydroplaning is by slowing down. Rain brings road oils to the surface, producing slicker roads and decreasing friction. No friction means more skids. Save yourself the scare, or worse, by driving slowly when raindrops fall.
2. Get Your Tread On
Worn tires also lead to hydroplaning. Avoid losing control by keeping your tires up to date. For more information, read our “Nine Best Practices for Tire Maintenance: https://heartautocare.com/best-practice/tire-maintenance/ If you are still unsure stop by one of HEART Certified Auto Care’s convenient locations in Evanston, Wilmette, or Northbrook, Illinois.
How to Stop Hydroplaning
Follow these simple steps if you start hydroplaning.
- Gently lift your foot from the gas pedal.
- Steer straight. If your car starts to spin, turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning, slowly.
- Do NOT turn the wheel against spin. This can throw your car further off balance.
- Do NOT jerk the wheel. This can lead to a roll over and serious injury.