Drive cautiously on wet roads

Car brake lights at a traffic light in the rain

Wet pavement from the rainy weather of autumn and winter presents adverse driving conditions that account for 60 percent of all weather related fatalities according to the National Safety Council.

When pavement is wet, tires can lose contact with the road and prevent the vehicle from braking or steering properly, resulting in a collision. This loss of contact is known as hydroplaning and is generally worse during the first 10 minutes of rain when the water mixes with the oils on the road to create a slippery surface. In these conditions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends you double your following distance and reduce your speed by half.

To avoid hydroplaning:

  • Maintain good tread on your tires and replace them when necessary
  • Keep your tires inflated properly
  • Slow down when the roads are wet
  • Avoid puddles
  • Drive in the tire tracks of the vehicle in front of you when possible

If you do start to hydroplane, NHTSA recommends the following actions:

  • Don’t brake or turn suddenly —this could result in a skid.
  • To slow down, ease your foot off the gas (even down shift to a lower gear) until your vehicle slows down and you feel the road again.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes, brake firmly as you steer into the skid.
  • Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. Steering into the skid will help bring the back end of your vehicle in line with the front.
Car brake lights at a traffic light in the rain
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

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