Don’t let a summer downpour put a damper on your driving skills

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With the potential for more rain in the forecast, AAA East Central reminds motorists that driving in adverse weather conditions requires preparation, good tires, well-maintained brakes, and streak-free wipers. To maximize driving safety be aware of road conditions, reduce speed appropriately, and be prepared for challenging situations.

“As best they can, drivers should also scan the roadways, avoid road debris and look out for disabled vehicles in reduced visibility conditions,” says Terri Rae Anthony, AAA East Central safety advisor. “We also recommend that motorists turn on their vehicles’ headlights so they can see and be seen by other drivers,” she adds.

To avoid crashes, the AAA recommends the following:

– Slow down. Motorists should drive slowly, particularly through puddles that are expected with this weather system. Driving at slower speeds also helps drivers be prepared for sudden stops due to debris and other hazards associated with wet-weather driving.

– Keep your distance/Avoid skids. A car needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet pavement, so allow extra following distance between cars. Sudden braking often leads to skids. Extra distance provides a buffer zone in case of skids. If the car skids and control is lost, do not slam on the brakes. Instead apply the brakes with a steady, light but firm pressure.

– Avoid distractions. Motorists are advised to avoid eating, drinking, and cell phone use/texting while driving, particularly in the rain. If it’s necessary to engage in these activities, pull over and stop in a safe place.

– Stay informed. Tune into radio and television weather reports or use weather apps to know where traffic congestion or crashes might be located. If possible, avoid these areas.

– Watch for potholes/Maintain a safe speed. Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Alert drivers have plenty of time to avoid potholes. Before swerving around a pothole, be sure to check surrounding traffic to determine if it’s safe to change lanes.

– Check tires. Make sure tires are in good condition and are at recommended inflation. Driving with bald tires on a slippery surface is a major factor in skidding. Tires should have at least 1/32nd of an inch tread depth at any two adjacent grooves, the minimum allowable by law. Driving on tires that are over inflated or under inflated is also extremely dangerous on wet pavement.

– Check windshield wiper blades. Streaks or skipping on the windshield are signs of worn wiper blades. Inspect wipers monthly and check washer solvent reservoir to ensure it’s full.

– Use headlights and windshield defroster. Driving in rain means reduced visibility.

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