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Staying safe in the rain: Tips for everyday drivers

Rain has been a common sight recently, but that's no reason for drivers to lose control of their vehicles. In fact, there are many things drivers can do to avoid accidents when rain and floods become hazardous.

When the rain starts to fall, what's the first step to take?

The first thing anyone should do when rain begins to fall is slow down. When you drive slower, you're able to take longer to stop, which is necessary with the reduced friction between the roadway and your tires.

Do you have to use your lights in the rain?

Second, you should always use your windshield wipers and turn your lights on. Many cars now have automatic lights that turn on in dim conditions, but it's still worth checking to make sure they've turned on. Using your lights helps other drivers see your vehicle.

How do you prevent skidding on slick surfaces, like wet pavement?

Steering in puddles, on wet roads and on slick surfaces can post a threat to your safety and make it feel like your wheel is light. When you sense that the wheel is turning easier than usual, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow down. If you put the brakes on quickly, you could force your vehicle into a skid.

If that happens, you should turn your steering wheel toward the direction of the skid and put your brakes on gently. This is counter intuitive, but it can help you get control over your vehicle again.

If someone loses control and hits your vehicle, weather will play a role in fault, but it should not affect the fact that you have become a victim because of the driver's recklessness. You can still make a claim to seek compensation for your injuries and damages to your vehicle.

Source: The Mercury News, "Driving in this rain? Mr. Roadshow’s 20 life-saving tips," Gary Richards, Jan. 10, 2017

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