According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 1.2 million auto accidents each year are directly related to weather conditions. Of these accidents, 73 percent are a direct result of driving on wet roads. (Source: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact....) The good news is that you can minimize the risk of an accident by taking a few safety measures.
First, don’t use your cruise control when driving on wet roads. Although the feature is safe for dry roads, in wet conditions it increases your chance of losing control of your car.
Slowing down will also help you avoid accidents on wet roads. Hydroplaning, a condition that occurs when tires ride on a film of water and lose contact with the pavement, can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles an hour. High speeds, hard braking and sharp turns all increase the possibility of hydroplaning and losing control of a vehicle.
Additionally, you need to leave extra room between your car and the vehicle ahead of you when the street is wet. It takes longer to stop on wet roads, and an extra 10 to 50 feet between vehicles can make a huge difference.
Finally, familiarize yourself with what to do if your car slips, slides or skids. You may wish to take your car to an empty parking lot on a rainy day in order to get a feel for how it handles. Meanwhile, keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t panic.
- Keep your eyes on the road and steer your vehicle in the direction you wish to go.
- Tap the brakes rather than slamming them, keeping in mind that an anti-lock brake system will respond differently than traditional brakes