There is an 80% chance that El Niño will last into early spring this year. This means that the areas of the world that are affected by the storms generated by El Niño will have a longer season of driving in rainy conditions.

Even for areas that are not affected by El Niño, rain is still a reality, and it is always a good idea to exercise caution on rain-soaked, slippery roads. Driving safely in rainy conditions is entirely possible with the right precautions and the proper equipment.

An Educated Driver is a Safer Driver

The National Safety Council has collaborated with the University of Iowa in order to create the MyCarDoesWhat campaign which includes tips for safe driving in rainy conditions. President and CEO of the National Safety Council had this to say on the matter:

"Travel can be treacherous when roadway surfaces are compromised during rain storms. The good news is that in-vehicle technologies can help drivers by providing advance warnings and preventing loss of control."

With or without newer technologies, it is always a good idea to practice the following habits.
rainy conditions

  • Take it slowly. Slippery roads make it more difficult to steer and to judge how long it will take to brake. Hitting a patch of water at a high speed can cause you to hydroplane and possibly lose control of your vehicle.
  • Stick to the middle. Water tends to pool in the outside lanes, so the middle lanes are safer during or after a downpour.
  • Keep some distance. Try to maintain a reasonable amount of space between you and the car ahead of you. This way, you will have some time to react if the driver of that vehicle loses control or makes a sudden stop.
  • Avoid driving through water. Even if you think that a puddle is shallow enough to cross, if you cannot see the bottom, do not proceed. It is difficult to judge exactly how deep a pool of water may be, and you could end up either getting stuck or doing serious damage to your car.

The most important thing to remember is to not become overly confident in potentially hazardous driving conditions. Even if you are experienced and skilled behind the wheel, operating a vehicle in the rain or after a storm requires everyone to be extra cautious. Always play it safe.

Technology and Safety

Always remember that an alert, attentive and careful driver is your car's best safety feature. However, there are recently developed safety technologies that can help to further reduce the severity of rain-related traffic incidents.

  • Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS)
  • Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Adaptive Headlights

If your car is equipped with one or more of these features and you are unsure about how the technology works, you can consult your owner's manual. Or, you can visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for detailed information about these vehicle features and others.

An Upgrade in Safety

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