Snow grabs the headlines, but when it comes to driving dangers, rain-slick roads and poor visibility are a more common challenge in much of the Northwest. Think you're a rain-safe driver? Here are 10 questions to test your knowledge:
Should you stick to the middle lanes when it's raining?
Should you replace your wiper blades every year?
Yes, most roads are "crowned" in the middle so rainwater runs toward the outside.
Should I turn off my cruise control when it's raining?
Yes, change wiper blades every year.
Do intersections, on and off ramps, and parking lots get slicker in the rain than other stretches of road?
Yes, make it a rule: wipers on, cruise control off. There's some debate about whether cruise control can actually cause a loss of control on wet roadways, but at minimum, it slows your ability to recognize and respond to changes in road conditions.
Generally, is it true that the deeper your tire tread, the less likely you are to hydroplane on wet roads?
Yes, road oil accumulates more in low-speed areas, making them slicker by comparison.
Should I drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of me on wet roads?
Yes, poor tire tread plus speed contribute to loss of traction.
When skidding on a wet road, should I brake normally if I have antilock brakes?
Yes, other car's tires displace water on the roadway, giving you a drier surface.
Should I tap the brakes lightly after driving through a puddle to help dry them?
Yes, pump the brakes only if your car is not equipped with antilock brakes.
Should I turn my headlights on in the rain, even before dusk?
Yes, but avoid driving through standing water unless you know it's very shallow.
Should I go slower than posted speeds to take into account rainy conditions?
Yes, wipers on, headlines on.
Yes, always slow your speed for less-than-optimal conditions.
IF YOU DO ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY, DO THIS …
That's the word from our veteran claims adjusters who investigate hundreds of crashes on rain-slick roads. Reducing your speed in the rain is the single biggest thing you can do to cut your risk of hydroplaning. It also gives you more time to stop.