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Why is it Dangerous to Drive After Rain?

Downed power lines are among the risks of driving after a storm.
Oil that has been spilled on roads can be loosened by rain, creating slick roads.
If windshield wipers are in poor condition, it will be difficult to drive in a torrential downpour or heavy rain because they will not remove water properly.
Poor visibility can be an issue when driving in the rain.
Tires have difficulty gaining traction after a rain storm, making it easier to hydroplane.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2014
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There are a number of reasons why it is dangerous to drive after rain or to drive in the rain. When you drive after rain, you should be aware that the surface of the road is covered in a thin film of water, oil, and grease which can reduce your traction and cause your car to skid. While driving in the rain, you also have to contend with poor visibility. By driving slowly and staying focused, you will prevent accidents which may cause damages, injuries, or loss of life. It is also very important to keep your tires well maintained for the best possible traction.

Rain makes for slippery roads, especially when it has not rained in a long time. This is because greasy substances like lubricants and oil drip from cars as people drive, and these substances accumulate on the surface of the road until they are washed away. The first rain can loosen these greasy materials, creating an oily slick on the surface of the road which can make driving very dangerous. If you drive after rain, you need to be aware that this slick can interfere with your ability to drive, especially at high speeds.

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A long, hard rain can also cause deep puddles on the surface of the road which may cause your car to hydroplane, essentially skimming across the water. Poorly drained roads can be covered in huge pools of water which may not seem deep or serious until you drive on them and your car spins out of control. You should avoid puddles whenever possible when you drive after rain, and you should drive slowly through puddles if you cannot go around them to avoid hydroplaning.

In the rain, poor visibility is a major threat to driving safety, as you may be less aware of oncoming cars, pedestrians, and hazards in the road. It is important to have good windshield wipers, and it helps to leave your lights on and drive slowly in the rain so that you are better prepared for unexpected hazards. This is especially important in stormy weather, when you may have to contend with falling tree branches, downed power lines, or mudslides during your drive. If you can avoid it, do not drive in hazardous weather conditions.

If you do end up in a skid when you drive after rain, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Steer gently into the skid and stop accelerating, allowing the car to find the road again. If you have antilock brakes, depress them firmly as you are coming out of the skid to bring your car to a stop; if you do not have antilock brakes, pump your brakes once the car has found the road again. You may also want to flash your lights or turn your hazards on, to alert other cars in the road to the fact that you are having a problem.

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anon357249
Post 4

I second millhouse. I was in pharma sales and logged 30k miles per year. I also grew up driving on the east coast and I've lived in MA, CT, PA, NY, NJ so I'm used to driving in bad weather.

I moved to LA and experienced my first road slick the day after a rain. It freaked me out. It was sunny, in the high 70s and I was driving on the 405 going around 50 just after an on ramp and changing lanes quickly. Hit a slick spot and slid over two lanes. I didn't wreck. I was driving an all wheel drive 3-series BMW.

cougars
Post 3

@ Parmnparsley- I second your opinion. I moved to Asheville, North Carolina from Buffalo and the lightest dusting of snow practically shuts down the town. School is canceled, roads are closed, and accidents happen everywhere. The roads may be a little slick, but people fail to adjust their driving style. All people need to do is stay calm, slow down, and eliminate some of the distractions when they drive.

In Buffalo, bad weather driving is the norm for parts of the year, so people are generally more focused on their driving. You don't see as many people texting while they drive and things like that. The accidents that happen in bad weather in North Carolina wouldn't happen for the most part in places that deal with bad weather all the time.

parmnparsley
Post 2

I moved out to phoenix from Vermont, and I don't get what the big fuss is about driving in the rain. Maybe I am just used to driving in poor weather, but driving in the rain is a relatively easy task.

I learned how to drive in one of the worst states to drive and maintaining control of your vehicle is the biggest thing that schools stress in drivers education. When you are driving in snow, ice, and freezing rain a little skid or slide is a normal occurrence. Every road in Vermont is also a hill, curve, or dirt. Washboards fill in with ice, potholes fill with ice, and in the spring, this translates to mud season. Driving in 6 inches of mud can be just as hazardous as driving on an icy road, and much more so than driving in rain or even a torrential downpour.

millhouse
Post 1

I speak from experience when I say that it is _very_ dangerous to drive after the rain. I wrecked my car after driving my car on the curvy 110 in Los Angeles. While I did pull off the gas and refrained from braking the curvy road didn't allow me to find the road again, and unfortunately I crashed my car. It's definitely a good idea to drive extra slow and cautious on your drive out after the first rain.

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