Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain | McKinney, TX

A 2020 Mazda CX-5 driving on a wet road - El Dorado Mazda in McKinney, Texas

Rainfall is rarer in Texas than in many other parts of the country, but not so rare that you’re unlikely to ever drive on slick roads. When the rain begins to pour, many drivers feel out of sorts, uncertain about how to proceed. But even confident, experienced drivers can make mistakes. The following are a few tips for driving safely in the rain.

Turn Off Cruise Control

If you were cruising along one of the state’s many lengthy highways when the clouds burst, make sure to turn off cruise control. While great in dry conditions, cruise control technology is not able to identify slick roads and areas where the car might hydroplane. Disable cruise control, keep both hands firmly on the wheel, and slow down.

Turn on Your Headlights

As soon as the first drops come down, turn on your headlights. Rain can significantly affect visibility and prevent you from seeing other cars coming your way, and vice versa. Daytime running lights are not powerful enough to pierce through stormy weather, so make sure to keep your regular headlights on.

Slow Down to Avoid Hydroplaning

One of the biggest dangers of driving in the rain is the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when your tires are not able to displace enough water and thus fail to make contact with the road. The faster you go, the more likely this is to happen, and the more drastic the consequences if you hydroplane. Thus, you should adjust your speed according to the conditions. The more water on the road, the more you should slow down.

In the Event of a Skid

In the event that you feel your car getting into a skid, do not panic and do not slam on the brakes. Hitting the brakes will unbalance the car and make it even harder to control. Take your feet off the pedals and steer in the direction you want to go. If you absolutely need to brake, make sure the wheels are straight when you do it.

Don’t Pump the Brakes

Modern cars are equipped with advanced anti-lock braking systems that do a very good job of modulating brake power so as to avoid the wheels locking up (locked wheels are bad because they cause you to slow down less effectively). If you need to perform an emergency braking maneuver, don’t hesitate to slam the brakes and let the car’s ABS and stability control systems do the rest. If you pump the brakes, which is a holdover technique from the pre-ABS days, you’ll get worse braking performance and may even upset the balance of the car.

Finally, one way to have a better time in the rain is to drive a car with good handling and all-season tires. Make sure to visit El Dorado Mazda in McKinney, Texas, to check out our lineup of high-performing cars and SUVs.


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