While “April showers bring May flowers,” June, July, and August can bring variable weather to the Midwest, including thunderstorms and potential flooding. RK Collision Repair Center wants you to stay safe when driving in stormy weather, and encourages you to keep the following in mind:
Turn on your headlights. It is the law in all states to turn headlights on when visibility is decreased, and many states also require the use of headlights when windshield wipers are in use. It is particularly important to have your headlines on when it is raining to enable other vehicles to see you—even if the rain is occurring in broad daylight.
Slow down. Wet roads can turn slick very quickly, increasing the stopping distance required between you and another car and increasing the potential for skidding. Give yourself more time to react by driving at least 5-10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. Remember that speed limit signs are designed for ideal driving conditions, which driving in rain is not. Slowing down will also keep your vehicle from hydroplaning.
Avoid driving through flooded areas. Even if you think that you can make it through, it is better to be safe than sorry. Things can happen quickly with water, and if water is covering the markings on the road, then it is too deep to drive through. Remember: You can lose control with as little as three inches of water on the road. Even if you can make it through, a larger vehicle could push water underneath your car and cause your engine to stall. It is best to avoid flooded areas entirely.
Check your brakes after you have driven through a heavy rain or deep puddles. By applying the brakes lightly, you will be able to tell if your brakes are wet. If your car pulls to one side or does not slow when you lightly apply the brakes, they are likely wet. You can dry them by continuing to apply light pressure, which will create friction on the brakes to generate heat and dry them out.
In addition to keeping these things in mind, now is also an appropriate time of year to check to make sure that your vehicle has functional windshield wipers, tires with acceptable tread, and that all exterior lights are working.
Ultimately, remember that severe and stormy weather demands your undivided attention. Be sure to take these necessary precautions suggested, as well as reduce distractions to keep your attention fully on the road.
Rick has been in the collision repair business for 40 plus years. Has worked in all aspects of the industry from an Insurance Claims Manager to Body Shop Manger for a large Kansas City dealership.