How to Drive in the Rain and Other Spring Safety Tips

In the Treasure Valley, April showers bring May flowers but can also leave roads in a dangerous condition for driving. To avoid a vehicle-related emergency, try to prepare for Idaho’s rainy spring weather and drive cautiously with these Spring safety tips.

Prepare your vehicle for Spring

Spring is a good time to replace your windshield wipers if they leave streaks or do not efficiently wipe away water. Losing visibility during a rainstorm is extremely dangerous so do not procrastinate replacing old or faulty windshield wipers. In addition, to avoid skidding or hydroplaning, ensure that your tires have good traction. Check the tread on your tires, if they are worn down and bald, it’s time to consider replacing them. It’s vital that other drivers can see your vehicle in heavy rain so ensure that all your headlights, brake lights and taillights are working.

Driving in the rain

When driving in the rain, try to always add at least one to two seconds of following time between you and the car ahead of you. Avoid driving on roads at the very beginning of the storm because rain can lift oils out of the road causing a slippery surface during the initial stage of the storm. The best way to protect yourself from an accident during heavy rain is to drive slowly and avoid turning sharply. It only takes six inches of water for a driver to lose control of a vehicle and only 18-24 inches of water to sweep a vehicle of the roadway.

If you feel that your vehicle is skidding or hydroplaning, do not slam on your breaks but rather release the gas and keep steering in the direction that you want to go. Slamming on your breaks can make you lose control of your vehicle so do not put your car in cruise control mode in rain.

Flood safety

If rainfall becomes extreme and leads to flooding, do not drive on bridges above flood water. Flood waters can cause bridges to become unstable. If a flash flood warning is issued, avoid driving on roads completely. Flood water can washout roadbeds and easily sweep an SUV off a roadway.

In the event of flooding, do not attempt to cross flowing streams by foot. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. Do not attempt to swim in flood waters either. In the event of extreme flooding, go to higher ground. If you are in a vehicle or building with rising flood waters, seek refuge on the roof or the highest level of the building. If an evacuation order is issued because of flooding, evacuate immediately.

It’s important to prepare for unpredictable medical emergencies. To prepare yourself to help someone in a life-threatening situation, check out Sawtooth Emergency Medical Institute’s CPR training course. This course teaches first aid, CPR and AED to students from Boise, Nampa and all around the state of Idaho. STEMI also provides EMT training classes to those seeking their EMT license to help others in emergency situations. Visit our classes page to learn more.

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