How to drive safely in wet roadway conditions

How to drive safely in wet roadway conditions
Tips from the FIRST ALERT Weather and Traffic team on how to stay safe while driving on wet road conditions.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The road ways are wet this morning and will likely be wet again tomorrow.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), wet pavement contributes to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year.

Law enforcement officials and transportation experts urge drivers to always use caution when driving in the rain.

Here are some helpful tips from the FIRST ALERT WEATHER and FIRST ALERT TRAFFIC teams to follow the next time you find yourself driving in rainy or wet roadway conditions.

See and Be Seen

Experts at AAA recommend you start with your windshield and say “replace windshield wiper inserts that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe.”

Also, it’s important to ensure all of your vehicle’s lights are working properly including, headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are so you are clearly visible to other drivers during heavy rain. Turn on your headlights whenever you drive in wet conditions.

Tires

Another thing you need to make sure is in good shape is your tires. Experts with AAA say “proper tire tread depth and inflation are imperative to maintaining good traction on wet roadways.”

You check the depth of your tire’s tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into the tire groove.

If you can see above President George Washington’s head, experts AAA say you need to replace your tires.

Also, be sure to check the pressure on each tire, including the spare, at least once a month. The best time to check tire pressure is when the tires are cold.

Avoid Cruise Control

AAA experts recommend turning off cruise control in wet conditions because using it in wet weather can increase the chance of you losing control of the vehicle.

“To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged,” AA experts say.

When driving in wet-weather conditions, it is important to concentrate fully on every aspect of driving. Avoiding cruise control will allow the driver more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss-of-traction situation, thus maximizing your safety.

Slow Down and Leave Room For Other Drivers

According to AAA, “Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water. With as little as 1/12 inch of water on the road, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway.”

To reduce chances of hydroplaning:

  • Slow Down,
  • Avoid Hard Braking
  • Avoid Turning Sharply

Drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.

AAA experts explain that it’s important for drivers to allow ample stopping distance between cars. Be sure to increase the following distance of the vehicle in front of them and beginning to slow down to stop for intersections, turns and other traffic early.

Responding to a Skid

Skids can happen to any driver, even an experienced one.

If you driver feel you car begin to skid, follow these basic steps:

  • Do Not Panic and Stay Calm
  • Continue to look and steer in the direction in which you wants the car to go.
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes 

Slamming on the brakes during a skid will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.

Remember, you always want to be extra cautious in wet weather.

AAA experts say remember to “Slow down, avoid hard braking, or turning sharply, and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you.”

Also, do these things one-at-a-time. Brake, then turn, then accelerate.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.