Here's what you need to know about driving when there's heavy rain

  • Dacey Orr
  • For the AJC
9:41 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 Weather

Driving in Atlanta is enough of a nightmare when the weather is clear, but something about rainfall seems to bring out the worst in our neighbors behind the wheel. As heavy storms start to hit the metro area, keep you and your fellow drivers safe by following a few simple tips.

Slow down. Sometimes, the most obvious advice is the most live-saving. According to AAA, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of hydroplaning in heavy rain is to reduce your speed. Oils on the road can make for slick conditions when mixed with precipitation, and even with half an inch of water on the roads, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the wheels moving.

Leaving an extra few feet between your car and the vehicles in front of you can be the difference that makes a a safe drive home. According to The Telegraph, it can take twice as long to come to a stop when conditions are wet, so give yourself the room you need to drive defensively.

According to the National Weather Service, it only takes 12 inches of moving water to carry away a small car. It can be hard to tell just how deep standing water is, too, so avoid large puddles and deep standing water on roadways and in parking lots. According to Progressive, deep waters can stall your engine as well, leaving motorists stranded and in a bad situation if weather continues to worsen.

John Spink/For the AJC
Avoid driving through deep puddles and standing water -- it takes a mere 12 inches of water to carry away a small car.

Squinting your way through heavy rain and wind isn't the time you want to realize that your windshield needs a heavy scrub, especially if the grime starts to affect your ability to see the road and other vehicles. Geico warns drivers to make sure to clean their cars thoroughly once a month, and be sure to get regular checkups to ensure that their car engine, defrost and other functions are working correctly. It's better to be too cautious than to end up without a crucial function in a crisis.

Turning on your headlights doesn't just help you see where you're going — it helps other motorists see you, too. Traffic laws in Georgia mandate that drivers use their lights when making trips 30 minutes after sunset, 30 minutes after sunrise, or in conditions with limited visibility (including rain). According to Travelers, turning your lights on can help you avoid even slight fender benders.

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