Road Rules for the Rain
It’s raining, it’s pouring; the motorist is driving responsibly! Here are some road rules for the rain and other hazardous weather conditions with reduced visibility:
Headlights, taillights and other illuminating devices (such as clearance lights and side marker lights) must be on any time it’s raining, snowing, sleeting or hailing. Your lights must also be on any other time visibility is impaired by weather, smoke fog or conditions where you can’t see 500 feet ahead.
Driving with your vehicle’s headlights during various daytime situations can improve the likelihood of being seen by other motorists and cyclists. This applies to both city and rural driving areas. Your headlights must be on when:
- Driving between sunset and sunrise.
- California requires headlights when it’s raining, even in broad daylight.
- Any instance when there is not enough daylight to be able to see a person wearing dark clothing at a distance of 100 yards.
Avoid distractions at all times (this is applicable during any weather):
- Do not text and drive! Don’t do it. It’s honestly that simple.
- Do not use your cell phone unless you have an acceptable hands-free device. Generally, acceptable hands-free devices include wired earphone/microphone headsets (but not in both ears), wireless headsets (such as a “Bluetooth” headset) and a speakerphone system.
- During hazardous conditions, be on the lookout for flooded roads, potholes, falling branches, downed electrical wires and other roadway obstacles.
Hydroplaning is not as fun as it sounds. We have a previous blog post discussing hydroplaning:
Driving in wet conditions can cause hydroplaning- when a layer of water
builds between the tires of the car and the road surface, resulting in
a loss of traction that prevents the car from responding to control inputs.
Hydroplaning can occur even when the road is slightly damp, and brakes
may be affected by water. When the car hydroplanes, you should
not immediately apply the brake. Braking without regaining traction causes
the car to skid and lose control. If you are hydroplaning, ease off the
accelerator, allow the car to decelerate enough to regain traction (once
the wheels reconnect with the road surface), and then apply the brake
smoothly. How to recover from hydroplaning:
- Ease off accelerator
- Gradually decelerate
- Regain traction
- Apply brake nice and smooth
Traction decreases on wet pavement whether or not hydroplaning occurs. All drivers should be careful and prevent their car from hydroplaning.
How to prevent hydroplaning:
- Reduce your speed
- Proper tire pressure
- Unworn tires
- Rotate and balance tires
- Avoid standing water
- No cruise control on wet roadways
Rain or shine, drive safely!