Rock Talk

How to Drive Through a Summer Storm

Last updated on May 16th, 2017 at 02:40 pm

When you think of challenging driving conditions, summer probably isn’t what first comes to mind, especially if you’re from the Northeast. Instead, most of us likely associate the daunting months of winter with harsh driving conditions. But what some people might forget are the strong winds and torrential downpours that summer storms can bring. Though these storms may only occur a handful of times per season, summer rains can present difficulty for many drivers as they navigate the roads.

Here are a couple tips to help you through some tough summer weather conditions:

Take your time. Visibility is often very poor during torrential rains, and keeping the wheel straight can be challenging. If caught in a heavy downpour, it’s best to slow down to a safe speed and leave extra space between you and other vehicles as a buffer. Make sure to turn on your lights so that other cars are able to see you, and if visibility is too low, pull over to a safe spot and wait out the storm.

Avoid standing water. Traveling through puddles at high speeds can cause hydroplaning, so be sure to safely steer clear of standing water. If avoiding a pool of water is impossible, slow down to a safe speed. If you do find yourself hydroplaning, don’t panic! Ease off the gas pedal and keep the wheel as straight as possible.

If you are on a multi-lane road and you spot a puddle, moving to the inside lane is best. Since roads are designed to let water run off to the shoulder, the center lanes should be safer.

Share the road. When driving conditions are less than ideal, smaller cars are less affected by wind and heavy rains than larger vehicles such as tractor trailers. Wind and rain can cause bigger vehicles to drift into other lanes unexpectedly, which can be a danger for passenger cars on the road. Avoid driving next to larger vehicles and remember to leave extra space between your car and other vehicles.

Be on the lookout for debris. Strong winds frequently scatter debris onto the road, so stay alert while driving. Sometimes it can be hard to see debris on the road because of rain, darkness or other hindrances like water accumulation. A quick reaction to fallen debris can be difficult as roads can become slick during storms and rapid braking becomes harder.  If you see fallen debris in the road, be sure to alert local authorities so they can remove it to minimize danger for other drivers.

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