5 Tips Driving Safely in the Rain

1. Think. Many people drive subconsciously, out of habit. And when it rains, they often don't adjust their thinking. When conditions are less than ideal, drivers need to stay alert and focused on what's going on around them. 

2. Turn on those headlights. It's the law to turn on headlights when visibility is low. Well-working wipers and relatively new (not threadbare) tires also are must-haves when driving in rain. 

3. Beware of hydroplaning. That's the technical term for what occurs when your tires are getting more traction on the layer of water on the road than on the road itself—the result is that your car begins to slide uncontrollably. It's easy enough to hydroplane: All you need is one-twelfth of an inch of rain on the road and a speed of more than 35 miles (56 km) per hour. If you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator slowly and steer straight until you regain control. 

4. Turn off cruise control. Ironically, on rain- or snow- slick surfaces, cruise control may cause you to lose control. You might think it'll help you stay at one steady speed, but if you hydroplane while you're in cruise control, your car will actually go faster. 

5. Slow down. Speed limit signs are designed for ideal conditions, says Praeter, 'and that means driving when you have little traffic and good visibility." That's hardly the environment you're driving in when it's raining, so let up on the accelerator and allow more time to get to your destination.

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