You’re so happy the cold, windy weather is coming to a close. You get in the car in a light jacket, only to see the clouds gather... and pretty soon the drizzle turns into a downpour. Snow may be behind us for another year, but unfortunately, the rainy season is just beginning—and in some ways, rain can present even more dangers on the road.

“Spring Cleaning” Your Car Can Help Prevent a Fender Bender on Wet Roads

While you’re changing your sweaters over to t-shirts, take a moment to do some spring cleaning on your vehicle. This doesn’t mean just taking out the snow brush and winter mats, but also checking the:

Tires.

One of the most common causes of wet weather accidents is hydroplaning, or losing contact with the road due to a layer of water between the road and the tires. The treads in your tires help redirect the water on the surface, allowing you to turn without skidding and stop quickly. Under or over-inflated tires, or tires with worn treads won’t provide much grip, so test your tire pressure at least once a month for proper inflation.

Windshield wipers.

It’s easy to neglect your windshield wipers once the snow has melted, but the truth is that these hardworking accessories are usually damaged beyond repair by April. Rubber that has been freezing and unfreezing through the winter may warp, while constantly clearing away ice and road salt can cause blades to crack and chip. Spring showers can come out of nowhere, so make sure your washer fluid is full and your wipers are intact.

Headlights.

The best way to stay safe in rainy conditions is to make yourself as visible as possible. When the rain starts, turn on your headlights—even if your car is equipped with daytime running lights. If the rain gets so heavy you can barely make out others’ headlights, always pull over or exit the roadway and wait until conditions improve before continuing on your journey.

Taillights.

The next time you are driving with a passenger, take a minute to make sure all of your lights are working. This includes your emergency flashers, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Your brake lights are the first defense against a rear-end accident, so make sure they are fully lit—and clean—before setting off.

Cruise control.

Many studies have shown that cruise control can decrease a driver’s reaction time and compromise vehicle control on wet roads. Even if the skies are clear, drivers should always turn off cruise control when the road surface is wet.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.