SAN ANGELO, Texas — During the few times it rains in the state of Texas, it pours, so it is important to know how to keep yourself and your vehicle safe when driving on wet roads.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation. (TDT) rain accounts for more than 85% of weather-related roadway crashes in Texas.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has these tips for driving in the rain:
- Use turn signals early. Give plenty of notice to other drivers before slowing down to take a turn.
- Turn off the cruise control. The uncertainty of road conditions during bad weather requires that drivers remain in control to make necessary adjustments.
- Avoid hard braking. When braking during bad weather, the driver should remove their foot from the accelerator and lightly brake to stop. Always watch for brake lights ahead.
- Avoid sharp or quick turns. Quick driving maneuvers can lead to skids and accidents.
- Never drive beyond the limits of visibility. The glare of oncoming lights and the rain, fog, or snow on the windshield can cause temporary loss of visibility and increase fatigue.
- Drive in the middle lanes. Stay on higher ground. Rainwater tends to pool on the outer edges of the road.
- Steer clear of puddles and low-lying areas. Driving into puddles or low-lying areas where rainwater collects, such as dips under rail or highway bridges or near streams, can cause vehicles to hydroplane out of control.
- Do not follow trucks or buses closely. Large vehicles can create a spray of water that can reduce nearby drivers’ visibility. Always give other vehicles plenty of room.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. When coming to a flooded road, turn around. Flash flooding and strong currents can happen quickly, often sweeping drivers off of roadways and into life-threatening situations. Never travel through water if the ground beneath it is not visible. Additionally, driving through deep water can damage a vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems.
How to Handle a Hydroplaning Vehicle
Step one is to step off of the accelerator. Ease off the gas until the vehicle slows and the tire traction grabs the road again. The next step is to turn in the direction of the skid. Although it may seem counterintuitive, gently turn the vehicle’s steering wheel in the direction of the skid and wait to feel the tires reconnect with the surface of the road. Gently straighten the wheel as the vehicle regains control. Once the tires gain traction brake gently as needed. Brake normally if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes; pump brakes gently if in an older vehicle without antilock brakes.