Are you desperately trying to hold on to Summer, getting those last couple weekends of bonfires, camping, and days at the beach in? Or are you ready to embrace autumn’s promise of changing leaves, football season, and pumpkin spiced lattes. The kids might not want to hear it, but it doesn’t make it any less true; Summer is almost over. The days will start getting shorter, and the early morning school drop-offs will be part of the routine again before we know it. While many parents are looking forward to getting the kids back at the desks and out of their hair, one thing none of us look forward to is the start of the rainy season.
We’re pretty lucky in the Lower Mainland with our moderate oceanic climate. We get the almost Mediterranean summers, green and bright springs, and the occasional white Christmas. But starting mid-late September our rainy season begins just as our precious cargo enters the next grade. Driving in the rain can be a dangerous thing, and in the dark it is even worse. It can be difficult to see out of the window, the other car’s lights seems to only make it worse and if that wasn’t bad enough in the road-raged lower mainland you also have to drive defensively to keep yourself safe from other driver’s errors.
At SpeedWash we care, and we want everyone to stay safe on and off the roads so here are our Top 10 Tips on Driving in the Rainy Season:
1. Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Avoid distractions, especially cellphones! If you think you’ll be tempted put it on silent, and toss it on the back seat out of reach. Focus on the road, and don’t forget to do your 360 degree checks to keep an eye out for hazards.
2. Be Visible.
Turn on your headlights. It may seem obvious, and while many cars headlights now come on automatically there are still some that don’t and it can be easy to be distracted in our daily lives and forget to turn them on. It’s important to make sure your headlights are on when it’s raining, even in broad daylight not only so that you can see but also to make it easier for other drivers to see you through the rain. Be vigilant. Especially in the rain and at night motorcycles an even other dark colored cars can be camouflaged amongst the glistening raindrops on side windows and mirrors.
3. Keep your distance.
According to ICBC tailgating is a major cause of crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Don’t tailgate. Though it may be tempting to tailgate when you are running late to try encourage another driver to speed up, examine your environment, if you’re going over the speed limit you are creating an unnecessary danger. You don’t know what hazards the other driver may see that you don’t and if this vehicle stops suddenly you have no time to slow down and stop safely. Remember if you rear-end another driver you’ll be the one held responsible. The two second rule only applies in good weather and road conditions. In the rain, fog, sleet, or snow you need at least three seconds on high speed roads and four seconds in bad weather conditions or on uneven or slippery roads.
Don’t force yourself to drive faster than you feel safe. If someone is tailgating you avoid them by changing lanes when possible, if you cannot change lanes slow down enough to encourage the tailgater to go around you or pull over and let them pass braking slowly before stopping and signaling your intentions well in advance. If there is no way to let the tailgater pass safely gradually slow down so as to create a space cushion in front of you in case of emergency braking.
4.Check your wipers.
Make sure all parts of your vehicle are operating properly is obviously very important at all times, but during the rainy season it is especially important to ensure that your wipers are up to snuff. A powerful shower can occur quickly and at any time in the Lower Mainland so prior to getting on the road you should check the efficiency of your wipers with a quick visual test. Spray a little washer fluid to see if they aren’t working or are leaving streaks. If you have back windshield wipers don’t forget to check them as well, as they can make a huge difference when driving in heavy rain.
5. Don’t speed.
Drive at, or below the speed limit to the extent that you are comfortable with and so that you can see far enough in advance to make appropriate driving decisions.
6. Check your tires.
Remember that the maximum speed at which you can drive is directly related to your tires, and over time tires can lose their ability to grip wet pavement and channel out the water as the tread wears out.
7. Know about Hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning takes place when the tires lose contact with the road surface and float on a film of water making you lose control of steering and braking. It can happen in the rain or in standing water. The higher your speed is the greater your chances of hydroplaning are. It is safer to do all you can to prevent hydroplaning before it happens especially during heavy rain. Scan ahead for large puddles, reduce your speed, and of course avoid flooded roads. If hydroplaning does occur; Let off the gas and steer straight or slightly in the direction you must go, don’t brake, don’t make sudden motions, and do your best to stay calm.
8. Get rid of the fog.
We’re all familiar with the moment when your windshield begins to fog up with condensation and as Canadians we all know how to use air to get rid of it. But what about when you’re in a hurry? Luckily former NASA engineer and current YouTube science guy Mark Rober has figured out a handful of trick so that you don’t drive around with a half obscured windshield creating an addition hazard. His tips are:
-Turn your defroster fan on it’s highest setting.
-Put your temperature control on it’s hottest setting.
-Turn your A/C on.
-Keep the recirculate air setting off.
-Crack your windows open a little.
9. Watch for splashing.
Brakes can be affected by water. Wet drum type brakes are especially prone to decreased stopping power after driving through deep water. Keep an eye out for splashing from potholes and pools of water that accumulate in low areas of pavement. Highways develop ruts where the heaviest traffic tracks so position your vehicle (while remaining in your lane of course!) to avoid these hazards.
10. Use a rain repellent product on windows and mirrors.
Tests conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that better visibility improves driving response time up to a full second or more. At highway speeds that’s almost four car lengths of extra stopping distance. At SpeedWash we understood the importance of effective rain repellent applications. Being in the Lower Mainland we knew we needed to have a strong, long lasting, and impactful repellent product and process selected before opening our doors to the public. After many tests with different products and trials with the application process we found Rain X® was the best and most effective rain repellent that not only dramatically improves wet weather driving visibility by repelling rain sleet and snow, but that also helps to make frost, ice, salt, mud, and bug removal easier. SpeedWash ensures that the repellent is properly applied to a thoroughly cleaned vehicle, and is dried at the correct temperature for effective staying-power. This is done to ensure that your repellent application is effective when you need it most and so that through the rain seasons, when you’re dropping the kids off at school in the dark and wet morning you have one less thing to worry about as you watch the raindrops fly off your windshield while driving.