5 Wet weather driving mistakes to avoid

With the weather promising to bring rain, rain and some more rain this time of year, it is important to note that driving in wet weather conditions, on slippery roads and in blurry windscreens to name a few, is different from driving on dry roads. To avoid classic driving mistakes in wet weather is sure to reduce the risk of accident and injury to loved ones.

Mistake one: Not adjusting speed to conditions

Speed limits in wet weather automatically change, due to the various factors like visibility, traffic and traction, therefore drivers need to adjust their speed to match the immediate driving conditions.

Solution: If visibility is minimised or if the road is wet, snowy, or icy, you should slow down significantly. This will give you more time to respond to any incident, and help prevent a loss-of-traction situation.

Mistake two: Doing more than one thing at a time.

Even in clear, dry conditions, it is easy to overload one tyre doing two or more things at once, like turning and braking at the same time. In wet conditions it is much easier to lose traction on the road when forcing the vehicle to do two or more things at once.

Solution: Do one thing at a time – brake, then steer/turn, then accelerate. This will help prevent demanding too much of the tyre that takes the brunt of the traction requirements, thereby reducing the chance of a loss-of-traction situation.

Mistake three: Not looking far enough ahead

Many drivers focus on the part of the road just ahead of their own vehicle, often missing important road changes and not responding quickly enough to these conditions – like a lane closure, for example. Changing lanes earlier or braking in time might just prevent an accident.

Solution: Work on looking further ahead (12 – 15 seconds), and also predicting what other drivers might do that could create problems. Detecting potential problems ahead as early as possible can make the difference between a collision and a near miss.

Mistake four: Not maintaining enough space.

Most drivers fail to maintain enough space between their vehicle and other vehicles around them. Frequently, drivers position themselves too closely to the vehicle in front. But, maintaining ‘open’ space to the sides is also critical – you may need to move into that space quickly. If you don’t have that space, you’ll be without an effective option to prevent a crash.

Solution: Back off a bit and lift up on the accelerator to keep an open space to at least one side of the vehicle. Space is your best friend out on the road – to the front, sides, and rear. It’s hard to collide with something if you have plenty of space around the vehicle.

Mistake five: Not giving the road your full attention.

Driving in poor weather requires your undivided concentration so that you can constantly adjust your speed and position, and detect any potential problems as early as possible. A ‘shiny’ patch on the road ahead – a diesel spill – could indicate tyres possibly losing traction, or another vehicle pulling out into your lane. If you add other tasks to driving, such as using a cell phone or changing the radio station your risk increases dramatically.

Solution: Stay focused on driving. Get there, and then get busy with non-driving activities. Common sense precautions include programming navigation systems and adjusting music selections before driving, and, of course, ignoring the cell phone.

Even the most experienced drivers cannot predict every accident or incident on the road. Taking care to adjust to poor driving conditions and even being more alert in normal, dry road conditions can be the difference between life and death on the roads.

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