When you live in Oregon, you are accustomed to dealing with more than a few rainy days, in multiple seasons: fall, winter and spring. In Salem, the average yearly rainfall is 45 inches while the average yearly snowfall is only 4 inches. So, as the rainiest months in Oregon are November through March, drivers need to know how to traverse through rain to avoid a devastating accident.
Here are seven tips drivers can follow to drive more safely in heavy rain:
- Slow down. By reducing your speed, you will have more time to adjust to changing traffic and road conditions, reducing your chances of an accident.
- Be aware of hydroplaning. When enough water gathers on the road, your vehicle can hydroplane, losing contact with the roadway entirely. So, in heavy rain, you need to avoid making any quick, sudden movements with your vehicle. If you end up hydroplaning, you should take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction your car is moving.
- Be aware of slippery or icy roads. Heavily traveled roads can become slick with engine oil and grease, making them more slippery in the rain. As temperatures fall, drivers need to be aware of ice forming on bridges during or after a heavy rainfall, or ice forming after an evening or early morning rainstorm.
- Don’t drive straight through puddles or cross running water. It’s difficult to estimate how much water has accumulated in a puddle or runoff. You may end up getting your car’s electrical system wet and become stranded in a deep amount of rain.
- Brake earlier and with less pressure. By braking earlier, you will have more time to stop on slick roads. By applying less pressure when you brake, your vehicle is less likely to hydroplane, allowing you to keep better control of your car.
- Turn on your headlights. You want other cars to see you when it is raining heavily. You also may need to turn on your defroster to keep your vehicle’s windows from fogging.
- Pull off the road and put your hazard lights if visibility is bad. There are times when a heavy rainfall limits your ability to see the road ahead of you or other traffic. That’s when you need to pull over to stay safe.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), about 1.2 million car accidents occur in hazardous weather, including rain. Drivers need to understand that driving in rain can be just as dangerous as driving in snow. By following these tips, you can avoid an accident during one of Oregon’s many rainstorms.