Driving In Unpredictable Weather

Older man sitting on the bus with rain on his coat

We've all heard the saying, "April showers bring May flowers." But the change in seasons can also bring unpredictable weather and extra challenges when driving a car. Driving in the rain can be quite distracting with reduced visibility and a need for more caution. During spring and summer, the weather can constantly be changing. You can leave your house to go to the grocery store, and the weather can quickly go from a bright sunny day to rain showers in seconds. When driving conditions are less than perfect, it is time for drivers to stay alert and focused on the road. Follow these tips on driving in rain, glare, and fog.

Slow Down. Your view of the road will get distorted due to rain hitting your windshield. Turn your windshield wipers on and continue with caution. When fresh rain hits the concrete, it also brings out the oils on the road making the lane slick.

Turn on your lights. Anytime your windshield wipers are on, your lights should be on. This is the law in 18 states, but it is good practice everywhere. Visit AAA Digest of Motor Laws to see what your state requirements are. Your headlights will help increase your visibility on the road. Also, it makes it easier for other cars to see you. Make sure you are adding space between you and the vehicle in front of you. These two tips together will help you see when others are breaking so that you can avoid collisions. Car manufacturers are adding automatic headlights to vehicles, so headlights will automatically turn on in response to the conditions around you. Visit ChORUS Vehicle Safety Page to find out more information.

Braking. Ensure when you are driving in wet or slippery conditions that you are cautious using your brakes. Avoid hard braking as much as possible. When you slam on your brakes, your wheels are more likely to lock and cause your car to skid. Also, your car will require extra distance to stop under these conditions. Keeping a more significant distance from the car in front of you will allow you the extra distance needed to stop.

Wait the rain out. There is no shame in waiting out the weather. Just because it is raining hard now doesn't mean it will be raining hard in a few minutes. Wait until it lightens up to have more visibility on the road. When the rain stops and the sun comes out, the sunlight will bounce off the wet ground and produce glare that will hit your eyes. Having a good pair of sunglasses will come in handy to protect your eyes.

Driving in fog is like looking at yourself in the mirror after you have taken a hot shower. Other vehicles, objects, and traffic signals and signs may not be visible. The two most important steps to take when driving in fog are to turn your headlights on and slow down. Turning your lights on increases your visibility of the road.  Slowing your vehicle down gives you more time to react and be aware of what's in front of you and gives other drivers more time to see you.

Weather can be unpredictable, but it shouldn't stop you from getting where you want to go. If driving in the rain isn't comfortable, visit the My State Info page to see your community's additional transportation options.