Oct. 11, 2012
For more information: Shelley M. Snow, Public Affairs, (503) 986-3438 (cell: 503-881-5362)
First autumn rain could bring slick roads; plan ahead
Heavy rains can reduce visibility and traction between tires and the road; it can also create less predictable car handling. A good plan, especially after weeks of driving in dry weather, is to give yourself more time to get where you are going. Also remember to:
- Slow down, especially through high water. Driving through several inches of water at high speed can cause you to lose control of the car; it could also splash water into the engine and stall it. Lowering your speed helps you prepare for sudden stops caused by disabled cars, debris and other wet-weather hazards.
- Because it hasn’t rained in a while, expect road surfaces to be slick when it does start raining. Engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When mixed with water from rain, the road can become slick. The first few hours of a fresh rain can be the most dangerous.
- Turn on your headlights to improve visibility. Disengage your cruise control.
- Keep your distance. A car needs 2 -3 times more stopping distance on wet roads.
The most common vehicle problems in wet weather involve wipers, brakes, tires and defrosters. Make sure they are working and your tires are properly inflated before heading out. And be aware of the potential for hydroplaning, which occurs when your front tires surf on a film of water. It can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, especially if tires are worn. If you hydroplane, ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.
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