2 Most Important Tips for Driving in the Rain
Here in Victoria, we’ve got it pretty easy. While the rest of the country is shoveling and shivering, we’re strolling on beaches and smelling the flowers.
But even though we don’t have to worry about frostbite, we do have to put up with misty mornings, torrential downpours, gale-force winds, and the annual Snowpocalpyse that coats our city with a fine layer of mush. All of this dreary weather results in slippery roads and low visibility that make our morning commute a tricky one.
It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Preparing your car for driving in the rain comes down to two simple things: windshield wipers and tires.
Did you know that 90% of driving decisions depend on good visibility? True story. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your wipers are in good working order.
If your wipers are causing a mess on your windshield, they’re doing more harm than good. All that streaking and smearing impairs your field of vision and makes it nearly impossible to see what’s going on around you. So instead of peering through a blurry windshield, you should check your blades for signs of wear. The most common indicators of worn-out wiper blades are the aforementioned streaking and smearing, plus chattering, squeaking, and split rubber. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to come into Searle’s for a fresh pair of wiper blades.
As well, make sure your windshield fluid is topped up. Sometimes wipers need a little extra juice to clear away a light sprinkle, and it also comes in handy when you need to clear away mud and debris.
Now that your windshield can repel rain like a boss, it’s time to check out your tires.
As rain falls, it mixes with the rubber and oil particles on the road and creates slick conditions that are perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of your tire treads to make contact with the road, which improves traction. But it’s also important to make sure your tires actually have treads, and that they’re inflated to the proper level.
Tire tread is designed to move water away from the tire to maximize traction. So when treads are worn, you’ll have difficulty braking, cornering, and steering on wet roads. Plus, thin treads increase your chances of hydroplaning—when you slide uncontrollably on the road like you’re on ice. To test your tires’ treads, place a dime with the Bluenose’s sails facing down into the tire tread. If you can see the top of the sails, your tire should be replaced.
If you do find yourself in a hydroplaning situation, don’t panic. You will no longer have steering and braking control and will continue in the direction you’re moving in until hydroplaning ends (or until something bad happens). The best thing to do is take your foot off the gas and wait to regain traction
As for tire inflation, an underinflated tire becomes concave as it connects with the road. The centre of the treads collapses a bit, trapping water rather than letting it flow out through the tread design. So, make sure your tires are pumped up to the specifications on your vehicle’s tire placard (often attached to the rear face of the driver-side door) or in your owner’s manual. Check them when they’re cold, and do so every month.
Is your vehicle ready for the rain? We can help! Get in touch with us and we’ll make sure your car is ready for whatever winter throws its way.