Look Out For 'Summer Ice'
With Met Éireann updates thunderstorm weather warning for the Country, it is safe to say wet weather is here. Here are some basics from the road safety office in the communications department of Mayo County Council that can help you to stay safe on the road. Some are obvious - but it's the obvious things that are often neglected.
Be wary if it's wet after a dry spell
Some call it 'Summer ice', which is the result of oil and other fluids collecting on tarmac during dry weather. Then, when it finally rains, the surface can become unexpectedly slippery. Drive with extreme caution when the rain first starts coming down
Tips for Driving in the Rain
Wait Until the Weather Improves if possible If you feel uncomfortable driving in the rain and can postpone your trip or commute, wait until the weather improves before driving. There is no reason to put yourself in danger if driving in wet conditions is not necessary.
- Double Check Your Car’s Equipment
Make sure that your car’s equipment is in working order before encountering rainy weather. Check your headlights, tail lights, and windshield wipers to make sure that they will work efficiently when they are needed. Also check the tread of your vehicle’s tires. Balding tires can severely reduce traction on wet roadways.
- Slow Down
Not only should you adhere to the posted speed limit when driving in wet weather conditions, you should drive considerably slower than you normally would. Wet roads are very dangerous. Your vehicle’s reaction time is much slower when it is raining. Reduced speed is imperative in rainy weather.
- Turn On Your Headlights
Most states require drivers to turn on their vehicles’ lights while driving in rain. Even if it is only misting, turning on your vehicle’s headlights will increase both your own visibility and other drivers’ ability to see your car on the road.
- Think Twice About Using Cruise Control
Cruise control is brilliant on long trips or for keeping your speed down in town, but it isn't recommended for use in wet weather.
It can't see potential drama unfolding ahead or a massive puddle in the road; if you're not paying full attention because you've got the cruise on, you might not be able to react to a hazard in time - or rather the car may not be able to respond to your inputs.
Modern adaptive cruise control is good for maintaining a safe distance but some systems will shut down if the weather gets really bad. Be ready to take over (although you're always ready, right?)
- Maintain a Safe Distance Between Cars
Keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Stopping your vehicle will be more difficult when driving in the rain. Maintain a distance of several car lengths between your car and other vehicles.
- Avoid Hard Braking
Try to slow your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally would in preparation to slow down or stop.
- Watch Out For Standing Water
Driving through standing water can cause hydroplaning to occur. Which is when you lose traction and skid across the surface of the road. To avoid hydroplaning, drive around places where water has collected by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas.
- Let Off The Pedal When Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is one of the most common car collisions in the rain because drivers can lose control. If your car hydroplanes, calmly take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go. Avoid making sudden turns or slamming on your brakes.
- Ventilate Your Car
Rain causes humidity levels to increase. You may find that your vehicle’s windows become foggy when you operate your vehicle while it is raining. Most cars’ ventilation systems include a function that will work to reduce this type of fog that develops on the interior of your windows and windshield. It may be necessary to pull over if you are no longer able to see through your windows.