Getting into your car before driving in the rain without proper inspection of your vehicle is dangerous.
According to the U.S Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 75% of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and 47% of crashes happen during rainfall.
With this being said, here are a few tips to follow the next time you find yourself driving in the middle of a storm.
1. When did you last get your oil changed?
If you’re like me and you don’t understand the major mechanics of cars, the oil in your car is similar to the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.” And just like he needed oil to properly move his “joints,” your car needs oil to properly drive.
If your car doesn’t feel like it has been driving a smoothly, it’s probably time to get an oil change.
Without properly checking and replacing your oil filter, your engine may not last as long. According to Kelley Blue Book for conventional oil, it is recommended to change it every 3,000 miles. You can also check your car owner’s manual to see how often it is recommended that you change your oil.
2. Don’t drive into puddles.
This might sound silly, but driving into puddles is a big no-no. This is because you cannot tell whether the puddle is a flooded area. Overconfidently going through a pool of water could cause damage to your transmission or engine, or even result in a total loss of your car.
“As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle,” said an advisor for Forbes.
It’s important to try and avoid puddles while driving, especially to prevent a flooded engine. A flooded engine is the technical term for when your engine cannot start due to the car’s air-to-fuel ratio.
For a used car, checking the car’s history for flood damage will help you avoid costly repairs later on.
3. Windshield wipers.
Having a clear view of the road is key, and a simple change of windshield wipers can seriously change your commute while driving in the rain.
One swipe of your wipers should be enough. If you see any streaks or still have trouble seeing, it’s time for new windshield wipers. It might seem like a tedious task, but it makes a big difference, especially when the weather is obstructing your view.
Please, if you need to, get yourself some new windshield wipers.
4. Hot breath? Defroster. Cold windshield? Defroster.
During the rain, your defroster should be your best friend.
Whenever you notice that your window is fogging, turn on your defroster and set the temperature dial to the correct temperature (depending on the outside weather). The defroster icon in your car should have arrows going through a rectangle.
5. Are you okay to drive?
Aside from checking on your car, you need to check in with yourself.
Recently I was involved in an accident that totaled my car. Fortunately, it wasn’t in the rain, but looking back, I understand that I was not mentally sound enough to be driving.
Trusting yourself while driving is essential, as any uneasiness might result in mistakes that could potentially hurt you or the people around you.
It’s important that you understand your boundaries, both physically and mentally, especially whenever you are getting behind the wheel.
Driving in Southern California, especially through heavy storms, has been a learning experience. Although I am not a car type of gal, all I can do is try and learn carefully to avoid collisions and to keep myself and the people around me safe.
With these tips, hopefully you too have learned how to become better prepared when it comes to driving in the rain.