The combination of hard rain and rush hour traffic led to a lot of accidents this morning. As I was driving passed the accidents, I could not help but think of all the tips I have received over the years about using precautions when driving in the rain. I wondered if any of these tips could have helped those drivers today. Granted, being from the Tampa Bay area, I (and anyone else who’s from here or lived here more than a year) have been told a number of techniques for driving in the rain. However, because we all know so much, we tend to pay more attention to the minutia, instead of the obvious. Yes, it is really cool to know how to maneuver your vehicle out of a hydroplane at 50 mph, but this post will be more about the simple precautions you can take to avoid being in that position. When hazardous weather hits, the following three tips will help you have a safer commute.
1. Check The Weather: We all know weather reports have their flaws, but if the nightly news, your mobile weather app or some other report strongly suggests rain in the morning, try to get on the road a little earlier that morning. A number of factors cause accidents, but one of the easiest ways to avoid them (rain or shine) is to be on a road with less drivers. Leaving fifteen minutes earlier for work may seem painful when the alarm goes off, but it is certainly a better outcome than a car wreck.
2. Rain Doesn’t Dry Overnight: A number of people who follow the first tip seem so preoccupied in getting the next day’s forecast that they forget it is just as important to pay attention to the weather the night before. Most of the time, rain does not dry overnight and yet, because it may not be raining when people head out in the morning, they forget the roads may still be slick. If you fell asleep to one of Tampa’s many wondrous thunderstorms, treat the next day’s morning commute like the rain is still coming down.
3. Practice: Practice? I know, this one may seem a little odd, but let’s consider this idea. Almost every profession requires continuing education (officially or unofficially), so you are expected to keep your skills sharp and to grow them…why wouldn’t you do the same thing for driving? If the last time you practiced a skill was when you were sixteen, you probably would not be that fantastic at it. However, that’s usually the last time anyone practiced driving, and make no mistake, just driving around town is not the same thing as practicing driving.
For example, www.weather.com provides the following tip for driving in the rain: “You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Steer and brake with a light touch. When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.” Well, that advice sounds easy enough, except that “a light touch” and “mild pressure” are subjective terms; they will differ depending on the driver and the car. It is important that you know how your automobile responds in the rain to your “light touch” and your “mild pressure” before you’re late for work on I-275 in a thunderstorm. Fortunately (sort of) it doesn’t just rain during the work week. The next time your Saturday at the beach gets canceled and you can’t stomach another daytime weekend movie, get to a safe area and practice driving in the rain!
Pay attention and practice. It’s simple advice, but therein lies the beauty of it. I hope this post provided you all with some valuable information on how to keep you and your family safe on the road. As always, if you or anyone you know has been in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact us: [email protected] or call us 727-853-6034.
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