Hurricane season brings battering winds, torrential rains and potentially dangerous wet and flooded roads, as do heavy rainstorms.
These safe driving tips for rain and hurricane season could save a life – yours, a passenger, pedestrian or those in another vehicle.
Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally
This does more than simply increase the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. It also lets the driver behind you know you’re slowing down.
Be more meticulous about using turn signals
That will help other drivers know your intentions.
If your vehicle is equipped with a lane departure warning system, it may not work when the road is well-covered with water.
Slow down and allow yourself enough space so you can stop safely. And take turns and curves with less speed than you would in dry conditions.
Beware of puddles and flooded areas
Avoid large puddles, which can be deeper than they look. After you cross a puddle, tap your brake pedal lightly to dry off some of the water on your rotors.
Beware also of flooded areas, which also can be deeper than they look.
Modern vehicles are full of electronic controls, including for safety systems such as airbags. Flooding your car could cause those systems to short out.
Avoid using cruise control
If you hydroplane, there’s the chance your car could actually accelerate.
Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals, which is not a great idea when reaction time is so important.
If you start to hydroplane, do not brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction.
Pay special attention to pedestrians
Keep a sharp lookout for people, because even the most observant pedestrian may become distracted by fiddling with an umbrella or a rain slicker, especially in windy conditions.
Plus, raindrops deaden sound, so the usual audio clues pedestrians use for measuring vehicle distances can become obscured.
Put headlights on low beam
Even if you have daylight running lights, low beam will allow you to be see more easily in daylight.
If it’s raining after dark, low beam will create less glare, also allowing other vehicles to see you more easily.
Do not put on your high beams, which can scatter light and bounce it off rain and fog droplets, further decreasing your visibility while also blinding oncoming motorists.
Avoid fogged windows
To avoid fogged windows inside your car during heavy rainfalls, run the heat and air-conditioning simultaneously.
Wear your polarized sunglasses
Experts say that lightly tinted glasses can sometimes improve visual acuity during extreme conditions. Try it. If it doesn’t work for you, remove them.
Use your emergency flashers
If you choose to stop driving and wait out a downpour, put on your emergency flashers when you’ve pulled safely off the road.
These safe driving tips for hurricane season are from my go-to automotive resource, Edmunds.com.
This driving safety article was published first in 2015 and has been updated for 2019.