My family met this past weekend in Tennessee for a family get-away. We had a lot of fun near Gatlinburg, and luckily had good weather while we were there. Soon after entering Indiana on the drive home, I encountered a big rain shower. Lucky for me it was short, but the storm was much bigger when my parent’s vehicle arrived in Indiana.
Right after they made it through, my mom texted me to make sure I wasn’t in the storm. The next day my dad told me the storm was so bad, cars had slid off the road. One van had turned over when sliding off.
With the increase in rain this summer, we’ve seen a lot more rain related claims. Most of the time you worry more about your home when it rains, and the possibility of flood (which is not covered by your homeowner’s policy); however, rain also causes problems for your vehicle.
Obviously flooding can cause problems for your vehicle as well. It wasn’t that long ago we saw a huge rainstorm flood vehicles parked here in Kokomo near where the old movie theater was. In fact, there are still signs there warning to park at your own risk due to possibility of flooding.
Rain also causes conditions on roads to become slick, leading to a huge increase in the chance of hydroplaning.
As you may know, hydroplaning occurs when your tires lose contact with the road, and instead are just riding on the water. This causes the wheels to spin with no traction. At this point, it’s good to reduce power immediately to regain control.
The risk of hydroplaning makes it extremely dangerous to use cruise control in wet conditions. If you were to hydroplane in wet conditions with cruise control on, the vehicle could continue to apply power and keep the wheels spinning, or increase the rate at which they spin, and cause you to lose control.
While you can quickly tap the break to disengage, it may be too late to regain control of your vehicle. You can let go of the gas faster than you can apply the break.
Hydroplaning in wet conditions can lead to sliding off the road or accidents with other vehicles.
Be safe when it rains. Turn cruise control OFF, and slow down. If the rain is making it hard to see, you should slow down to increase both your visibility and your traction on the road. Leave more room between you and the vehicle in front of you, in case you do lose control or have to stop.
Hydroplaning can start at 35 mph, and at 55 mph you could be driving on a sheet of water. Keep that in mind next time you stay at the speed limit during a rain storm.
Be careful out there as we continue to get more rain than we are used to here in Indiana. If you do run into a problem, have an accident, or just have questions about your auto insurance feel free to give us a call!
Photo: “Let it rain” by Smuel Silva. Flikr. CC BY-SA 2.0