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

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