So the saying goes in West Michigan: if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes. Sometimes it can be pretty funny, but when you’re driving along I-96 and some severe weather develops right over your head – not so much.
Because the beautiful weather in West Michigan can sometimes turn ugly out of nowhere, Borgman Ford has put together a list of driving tips from MyFordMag.com that can help. The best thing you can do in heavy rain is to pull over and wait it out, but just in case that’s not an option, here are 7 driving tips for navigating a bad rainstorm:
1. Slow Down
The first thing you should do is slow down. This will give you more control and more time to react to other vehicles, tree limbs, or other debris in the roadway. You will need both time and control when it’s raining heavily, as the road gets pretty slippery and visibility is limited.
2. The Start of the Storm Can Be Dangerous
When the rain first starts, moisture mixes with the oil on the road and makes everything slippery and dangerous. Heavy rains will eventually wash the oil away—but that’s when you have to worry about hydroplaning, which is when your car loses contact with the road and almost feels as though it’s floating.
3. Hydroplaning? Take Your Foot Off The Gas.
If you find yourself hydroplaning, keep calm, take your foot off the gas and steer in a safe direction. Avoid hydroplaning by slowing down, turning off cruise control and avoiding sudden braking and turns.
You’re more likely to hydroplane on non-grooved asphalt roads than ribbed concrete —particularly if there are tire ruts worn into the asphalt. Also, avoid any areas on the road where deeper water collects.
4. Do Not Attempt to Drive Through Deep Puddles
Puddles can hide some pretty big potholes, so try to drive around them if you can while being mindful of vehicles in adjacent lanes.
Do not drive in areas that are flooded or have moving water. Deep water can wreak havoc on your electrical system and engine. As little as a foot of water can float some vehicles, and two feet of rushing water can sweep vehicles away, including SUVs and pick-ups.
5. Turn On Your Headlights
With heavy rain comes dark skies, so turn on your headlights, but don’t use your high beams. The extra light will refract against the water droplets – making visibility worse. Plus, other drivers will thank you too.
6. Flip On Defrosters & Set A/C or Heat to “Fresh Air”
Turn on your defrosters to reduce fog on your windows, and set your air conditioner or heater to the “Fresh-Air” setting instead of “Recirculate.”
7. Keep Your Distance
Giving yourself enough time to react and stop is going to be key. Maintaining a safe following distance from the traffic ahead is a good practice anyway, but sudden braking can send you into a tailspin in heavy rain.
The spray from trucks or large vehicles can also obscure your vision, so keep your distance or try to pass them if it becomes safe to do so.
Whatever The Weather – Drive With Confidence
Being prepared is another important part of staying safe on the roadway – especially during heavy rains or other severe weather. If it’s been a while since your vehicle has been looked over, Schedule An Appointment with our Service Center to make sure your wipers, tires, brakes, and headlights are in good shape and working properly.
If you’re looking for a dependable, safe, and West-Michigan-friendly vehicle for your adventures, visit Borgman Ford today and check out our lineup of capable Ford Vehicles. Our friendly sales staff will answer any questions you may have, including any about the safety features that come with your favorite model. Come see what makes Borgman Ford the Best in the West!