Put a little rain on the road after a dry spell and things will get slippery. Oil and grease build up on dry road and adding rain to the mix makes for slippery conditions for motorists. This is especially true after new pavement has been installed, like on Highway 17. With rain expected over the next few days, please slow down and drive cautiously. Remember that even after the rain stops the roadway can remain slippery, so it is important to be aware of conditions, know what you can do to avoid a collision, and maintain your vehicle.
Follow the tips below and you will be more prepared for changing conditions on our local roads and highways. It is also always helpful to #KnowBeforeYouGo by checking the Cruz511 real-time traffic map on our homepage for current traffic speeds, alerts about incidents, and other updates regarding road conditions.
Be aware of conditions
- When it’s raining, be cautious and give yourself more time to get where you are going.
- Slow down, especially through high water. Driving through several inches of water at high speed can cause you to lose control. Lowering your speed helps you watch out for sudden stops caused by disabled cars, debris and other hazards.
- Expect road surfaces to be slick if it hasn’t rained in a while. Engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When mixed with water from rain, the road can become slick. The first few hours of a fresh rain can be the most dangerous.
- Turn on your headlights to improve visibility. Disengage your cruise control.
- Keep your distance. A car needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet roads.
- Watch for hydroplaning conditions – hydroplaning occurs when your front tires surf on a film of water. It can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, especially if tires are worn.
What to do to avoid a collision
- Try to stay calm and understand that the procedures for avoiding a crash are similar to those when driving on snow or ice.
- If you start to hydroplane, ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.
- If you start to fishtail, steer into the slide rather than away from it, and take your foot off the gas (but don’t slam on the brakes).
- If you have anti-lock brakes on your car, once you regain control, press down firmly on the brakes to slow yourself down.
- If you have an older car that doesn’t have anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes steadily when you have regained traction.
- It’s also a good idea to flip on your blinkers so people know that they should avoid your vehicle as best they can.
Maintain your vehicle
- Check your wipers. Replace wiper blades regularly. Make sure your defroster is functioning properly, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.
- Check your brakes. After driving through a puddle, check that brakes are working properly by tapping them gently a few times.
- Check your tires. Make sure tires are in good condition and are at the recommended inflation level. Tires should have at least 1/32 of an inch tread depth at any two adjacent grooves, the minimum allowable by law. Driving on over-inflated or under-inflated tires is dangerous on wet pavement.