Automotive Maintenance

Be prepared when heading out in the rain

View from behind the windshield while driving in wet weather

Rainy season strikes different regions at varying times of the year. But rain can also fall unexpectedly, leading to slick roads and reduced visibility.

When combined with strong winds or heavy traffic, driving in rainy conditions becomes even more dangerous. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that wet weather factors into nearly a million crashes annually. Here’s what you can do to help avoid a crash when it’s wet outside.

Check your vehicle before driving

Vehicle maintenance is part of safe driving in general; it ensures everything is running smoothly. Be sure to check the following components; that way, you have less to worry about when you need to drive in the rain:

 
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Windshield wipers

Keep your vision as clear as possible by replacing your wipers every 6–12 months. Streaking or chattering are signs that it’s time to put on a new set.

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Lights

Ensure your headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals are functioning so other drivers will see you more clearly. Clean haziness from your headlight covers.

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Tires

Check them at least monthly; maintain your car’s recommended tire pressure. If you see uneven or excess tread wear, consider a suspension repair or wheel alignment.

Want to take your vehicle to a professional for maintenance? The AAA Approved Repair program, which was established in 1975, refers members to trusted facilities. Learn more about the program.

Drive responsibly to help keep yourself, & others, safe

Don't use cruise control. Driving on slick roads means your tires will have less traction, and you should be prepared to adjust accordingly. If something goes wrong while you have cruise control on, there may not be enough time to take over the vehicle.

Increase your following distance. When facing reduced visibility, you and other drivers will likely need more time to react to surrounding traffic. Leave ample space between you and nearby vehicles to reduce the need for sudden reactions.

Drive more slowly. Hydroplaning is an ever-present danger with as little as one-twelfth of an inch of water on the road. Some tires can lose contact with the road even at 35 mph. Reducing your speed will help you remain in control of the vehicle.

Know how to respond to a skid

If your vehicle begins to skid, remain calm. Avoid slamming on your brakes; doing so could throw your vehicle off balance and out of your control. Instead, look and steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go. 

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