Drivers have long considered rain-slicked roads to be dangerous, and for good reason. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, weather conditions contribute to 21% of vehicle accidents. Out of those accidents, 46% occur during rainfall. These statistics highlight the importance of weather readiness when it comes to driving in the rain, even in areas with less than average rainfall like Austin, Texas. Keeping your vehicle prepared for rain and practicing safe driving can both help you reach your destination without incident.
A vehicle’s tires are vital to its performance on the road and become even more important when the road is slick from rain. Several factors determine tire quality, including treadwear and tire air pressure. Driving techniques also become more important in adverse weather conditions.
Checking car tires
Tire pressure relates directly to safety on the road. Proper maintenance requires checking them monthly. Keep your tires at the specific pressure that produces optimal performance for your car, which you can find in your driver’s manual.
The traction of your tires is what allows the car to grip wet, slippery roads, and it is partially determined by the tire tread. As you drive your car, the tread wears out and thins down. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration suggests replacing your tires before the tread has reached 2/32 of an inch since that thickness does not provide enough traction for slippery roads or even normal driving.
Using a slower driving speed
Hydroplaning is one of the most dangerous occurrences when driving in the rain or after rainy weather. It happens when a vehicle begins to slide because the treads have lost traction. It is due to water lifting the tires very slightly off the ground, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.
Various factors affect the speed at which hydroplaning occurs, but slower driving is always safer in rainy conditions. Research published by the Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board has found that in cars operating normally, tire pressure is the factor that most affects the risk of your car hydroplaning.