for Driving Your Car Rental in the Rain
Rain, rain, go away, come again when I’m not driving an unfamiliar car rental! Driving an unfamiliar vehicle during inclement weather isn’t just frustrating – it can also be downright dangerous. Rain takes the blame for thousands of car accidents every year. Sadly, many of these accidents are preventable.
The next time you find yourself caught in a torrential downpour, don’t panic. Keep your wits about you and remember these foul-weather driving fundamentals.
Watch Out for Slippery Roadways
The big issue with driving your car rental in a rainstorm is traction. When pavement becomes wet, a slick film develops on the surface. This watery layer causes tires to lose traction, making it difficult to stop quickly. Rain also reduces driver visibility and perception. While it’s important to slow down during a heavy downpour, car rental drivers should also keep these important tips in mind as well:
• Avoid using your cruise control
If ever your car rental were to hydroplane (i.e. the driver loses control of the vehicles steering or braking when a layer of water prevents direct contact between the tires and roadway), there’s a slight chance your car could accelerate if the cruise control function is engaged. Cruise control also allows drivers to become less vigilant behind the wheel.
• Drive around large puddles
If you see a large puddle in the roadway, resist the urge to drive through it. You never know what that watery abyss is hiding. It could be a monster pothole or a doorway to the underworld – you never know. What’s more, water splashing up into your rental car’s engine compartment could damage the electrical system, leaving a large dent in your wallet.
• Turn on your headlights
Your headlights will help you see the road and help other motorists see you. If possible, try and avoid turning on your high beams as they can actually obscure your vision further. If your car rental is equipped with fog lights, try flipping them on. The low light from these headlamps might help increase your visibility.
• Brake earlier, but not harder
Braking early will ensure that there’s plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you. Braking with less force will ensure that the car behind you knows that you’re slowing down. It’s also important that you remember to use your turn signals. This will help notify other drivers of your intentions.
Before You Hit the Road
If there’s rain in the forecast and you can’t postpone your trip until drier weather, the least you can do is leave early in order to allow yourself more travel time. When you pick up your car rental at the lot, make sure to check the windshield wipers for any tears that could restrict your vision during a storm. You may also wish to reserve a vehicle with four-wheel drive in order to achieve the best traction possible.
Warning: Exercise Caution After a Long Dry Spell
Did you know that roadways are especially slippery after a long period of dry weather? This is because engine oil and grease can build up on pavement over time. When mixed with water from a new rainfall, roads can become especially slick. Continued rainfall will eventually wash away this hazard, but only after a prolonged period of time.
Do you have any wet-weather driving tips to share? Post them in the comments below!