VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., (October 2, 2015) - The heavy rains and strong winds associated with tropical storms and hurricanes can quickly reduce visibility and create dangerous driving conditions on area roads. AAA Tidewater Virginia reminds motorists to take extra precautions when driving in any volatile weather.
AAA Tidewater offers the following tips when driving in wet weather is necessary:
- Prepare your car in advance. Before the rain hits, replace windshield wipers that streak or don’t clear glass in a single swipe; make sure headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours; make sure vehicle is up-to-date on vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations including tire tread depth and tire pressure.
- Buckle up. Make sure you and all your passengers are wearing seatbelts including children in proper child safety seats based on their weight and age.
- Don’t drive distracted. Adjust mirrors, seats and other settings before your start the vehicle. Also don’t’ be distracted by mobile devices, music, eating or other passengers.
- Turn around if road is covered with water. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, the reason many people drown during flooding is because they don’t realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult as well as carry away some vehicles. If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night, when your vision is limited. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
- Allow more travel time. Plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet. Being in a rush puts you at a higher risk for being in a collision.
- Keep your windshield and windows clean. It’s important to clean the inside of your windows. If the glass gets foggy, open a window slightly and turn the defroster fan to a higher speed. Use your air conditioner to reduce humidity.
- Keep headlights clean. When motorists drive on wet streets, mud and dirt can splash onto your headlights, reducing illumination by up to 90 percent. Stop periodically during a long trip to clean your headlights.
- Drive with your daytime running lights or low-beam headlights on at all times – especially on dark or overcast days.
- Recognize a crisis. When visibility is so limited drivers cannot see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance, the driver should consider pulling off the road and waiting for the rain to ease up. It’s best to stop at a rest area or exit the freeway and go to a protected area. If the roadside is your only option, pull off of the road as far as you can.
- Avoid using cruise control in wet weather driving conditions. This feature works great in dry weather scenarios, but when used in wet conditions the chance of losing control of your vehicle increases.
- Sudden braking often leads to skids. Stopping on a slippery surface requires more distance, so increase your following distance. Focus your attention as far ahead as possible – at least 20 to 30 seconds. Give a truck or bus extra distance.
These tips and additional information on driving in wet weather conditions can be found in the AAA brochures Get a Grip: A Guide to Wet-Weather Driving Techniques.
As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 325,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia