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Is it too wet to drive?

Precipitation offers challenges to safe driving, particularly among less experienced drivers. While the rainiest months are behind us, falling temperatures can leave roads wet longer and eventually cause familiar problems with ice and snow. Knowing how to drive in these conditions can help prevent car accidents and make the roads safer for everyone.

Be prepared

The first step in dealing with wet driving conditions is to be prepared. Are your tires old and worn? Do your windshield wipers leave streaks, making it hard to see in the rain particularly at night? Are your brakes soft or does your car vibrate or shudder when you stop? Are your tires under- or over-inflated? All of these are signs that your car may not be up to the challenge of wet, slick conditions. Whenever possible, do not delay in performing the basic maintenance necessary to keep your in shape to handle the rain.

In addition to preparing your car, you can prepare yourself for the hazards of a wet drive. More than one-third of all drivers who get into car crashes do nothing to prevent or avoid those crashes. They do nothing, often as not, because they were caught flat-footed by an unusual circumstance. If you take the time to prepare your mind before driving in the rain, and consider the potential dangers, you might be able to avoid an accident.

Be willing to stop

When a light rain becomes a heavy rain, you might be tempted to keep driving, hoping things get better. When your visibility gets bad, the best thing you can do is get off the road. Take the next exit or find a rest area as soon as possible. The extra ground you might cover during a downpour isn't worth the risk of an accident.

There are many other helpful hints to driving in the rain. Don't use cruise control. Learn how to correct a skid. Drive slower. Never tailgate. As always, it is best to avoid driving in dangerous conditions if you don't have to. A thunderstorm is a bad time for a pleasure cruise. Take the proper precautions and you can avoid accidents caused by bad weather.

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