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Driving in the Rain: Tips for Staying Safe on the Road this Fall

Wet roads are a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents, especially in the fall and spring seasons. To get you through this fall safely, follow these tips for driving in the rain.

Tips for Driving in the Rain

Stay slow and alert. Take extra precautions when driving in the rain. In fact, any inclement weather—be it rain, snow, or fog—calls for slowing down and staying focused when behind the wheel. Slowing down is the only way to decrease your risk of hydroplaning and losing control. Staying vigilant forces you to break out of autopilot when driving on your regular route.

Pay attention to the condition of the road. After the heat and heavy traffic of summer, roadways can accumulate a build up of oil and rubber. After just one rainfall, those surfaces turn slick. Drive with extreme caution after the season’s first rains as that build up can cause accidents.

Also, be careful when there are leaves on the ground. When combined with rain, dead leaves become very slippery and even harder to see.

Increase your visibility. Rain makes it harder for everyone to see on the road. Illinois law requires you to turn your headlights on in the rain, fog, or other inclement weather when your windshield wipers are on. Turn on those headlights whenever it’s raining, or visibility is an issue, and consider getting heavy-duty wiper blades to ensure your visibility is optimal.

Know how to handle hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when your tires temporarily have less traction on the road than they do on the water and cause loss of control. Decelerate slowly and steer straight when hydroplaning. Don’t slam on your breaks or try to accelerate out of the hydroplane.

Don’t use cruise control. Cruise control can be counterintuitive in the rain and cause you to go faster when hydroplaning.

The Risks on the Road

Fall in Illinois means beautiful foliage, crisp air, and rain. Factors like leaf debris, oil buildup, and low visibility can contribute to auto accidents, but following these tips will help you stay safe driving in inclement weather to ensure you can enjoy one of the most beautiful seasons of the year.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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