REDUCED VISIBILITY... A bad rainstorm can lower visibility as much as darkness does, so prepare for visibility problems before they happen.
- Periodically, clean headlights and taillights.
- Once a year, check wiper blades for streaking and smearing.
- Squirt fluid on the windshield and run wipers at all speeds; if they fail to clean the windshield, get new blades.
- Once a month, check the windshield washer fluid. And always keep paper towels in the car to clean blades, as needed.
- If it starts to rain while you're driving, slow down and pay extra attention to other drivers, who are also hampered by poor visibility.
- Watch out for pedestrians, who are more difficult to see in the rain and less likely to be watching for you.
- Turn on lights, wipers, defroster and fan.
- Know your wiper control by touch, so you can quickly turn "high" if you are deluged by rain or splashed by a passing motorist.
To establish a safe buffer zone between your car and others, slow down to at least 10 miles below the speed limit and allow yourself extra following distance.
SKIDS...Light showers and the early minutes of heavier rains produce more skids than major storms. This occurs because oil and grease that accumulate on the road mix with rainwater to make roads especially slippery. With a light rain, it can take as long as two or three hours for oil and grease to be washed away.
Prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Steer and brake with a light touch.
If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of your car to go. Avoid using your brakes. This procedure, known as steering into the skid, will bring the back end of your car into line with the front.