We’ve had a very wet month…. Between Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois at least 20 people have died so far due to the flooding. Some cases preventable, some not… Here are a few tips when you find yourself driving in bad stormy weather.
- Always stay in tune with your local weather station during severe weather. We’re in Missouri- tornados pass through all the time.
- Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls: steering, clutch, brake and accelerator. Have you ever heard of the car length rule? This was a rule of thumb decreeing that for every 10 mph of speed the following distance should be one car length. At 20 mph, following distance would be two car lengths, and at 60 mph six car lengths. During wet weather you should have even more space between you and the person in front of you. Also, stay toward the middle lanes as water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
- All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly. Also check your tires on a regular basis. Bald tires significantly reduce your traction on wet roadways, and offer little resistance to hydroplaning.
- Replace your wipers regularly- At least once a year. Wiper blades in bad condition don’t clear water from the windshield very well and distort your view. Rain or high humidity can quickly cause windows to mist up inside the car. In a car equipped with air conditioning, turn up the heat and direct the airflow to your defrosters with the AC switch engaged.
- When you see water over the road the best idea is to turn around. We’ve all heard the slogan “Turn around don’t drown”. It’s very true! Fast moving water will sweep a car off of a bridge and into a river. Some roads have meter sticks where the road floods so you can measure the amount of water. If it’s low enough you can pass through very slowly.
- If you successfully pass through a deep water hazard, test your brakes. They may be saturated, and only driving very slowly and braking lightly at the same time will generate enough heat to dry them out. Be sure they are pulling evenly on all wheels before building up speed again.
- Lastly, in rainy conditions pedestrians, livestock, and wildlife are extremely hard to spot and even harder to avoid. Just drive slowly and keep your eyes peeled.
Just a few safe and preventable tips while driving in harsh rainy conditions can be life changing or at least save you from a ruined vehicle or worse…. Remember that you are in charge of your life and can be responsible for others on the road, be mindful of your driving. Know what to do if you need legal help – Call Tad Morlan