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3 tips for safe driving during wet weather

While snow and ice may seem like the likely culprits of motor vehicle accidents, wet pavement is also a huge problem for drivers. 1.2 million motor vehicle crashes are caused each year by wet pavement, although many drivers aren't safely prepared for these conditions. Staying safe in wet conditions means preparing before you start driving, so here are three tips that keep your carload safe during rainy, wet weather.

1. Know how to handle a skid

In wet conditions, it's common for cars to skid on the pavement. As the car starts to slide, the driver must stay calm to remain in control of the vehicle. Keep your focus in the direction you want to go and continue to steer that way. Do not slam on the brakes. This can make it even more difficult to control the vehicle as the balance is further upset.

2. Avoid cruise control

On a sunny, dry day on a long, straight stretch of road, cruise control is a huge benefit. On wet pavement, it can be a serious problem. Engaging cruise control increases your chances of losing control of the vehicle. In emergency situations, the driver may need to remove her or his foot from the accelerator to slow down, and this doesn't work when cruise control is engaged. Rather, the driver has to push on the brake, adding one more step to stopping the car when it gets out of control.

Cruise control can also distract the driver. It's easy to relax and get comfortable when you don't have to pay attention to your speed. This can make reaction times slower when a car goes into a skid. Stay fully engaged on the road, especially when conditions are poor, and leave cruise control off.

3. Slow down

Hydroplaning is a serious concern in wet road conditions. Even with speed at around 35 mph, the tires may lose roadway contact when water is displaced to keep the tire's rubber on the road. The best way to avoid hydroplaning is to simply slow down when you notice the roads are wet. Try not to turn sharply, brake hard or drive too close to the vehicle ahead of you. Allow extra distance for other vehicles on the road to account for any problems they may have stopping or slowing down on wet pavement. The more reaction time you have, the more likely you are to avoid an accident.

Safe driving involves all parties

Even during the times when you are driving safely, you can't control the actions of others. Motor vehicle accidents can result in lifelong injuries, and an attorney may be able to help you avoid financial distress after an accident. 

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