Denver has been stuck in a wet weather pattern for weeks, and forecasts for today call for a lot more moisture.
That's good for lawns and trees, but not for commuters.
A lot of our readers complain about people who don't know how to drive in the snow — especially if they're from out of state. But even a lot of native Colorado drivers are pains during rain, since a lot of us tend to take it granted, thinking that if we can handle a blizzard, a little downpour won't be a problem.
With that in mind, we offer a little reminder about the ten things Colorado drivers should do but often don't when it's raining, inspired by "Get a Grip," a guide from the American Automobile Association, better known as AAA.
Check out our photo-illustrated top ten below, followed by the complete AAA brochure.
Number 10: Make Sure Your Car Will Be Better When It's Wetter
Have you checked your tires lately? Do all four of them have decent tread? Are they properly inflated? How about your brakes? Are they in good shape? And your wipers — do they actually wipe, or do they leave streaks that are harder to see through than the precipitation? If your answer to any of these questions is "no," you've got some work to do.
Number 9: Get Your Mind Right
Grown-up boy scouts aren't the only drivers who should be prepared. Commuting on wet streets requires you to alter your driving style when it comes to stopping, starting, changing lanes, standing water and more. If you don't make these adjustments mentally before you head out on the roads, you may not be able to do so physically — at least not in time.
Number 8: Avoid Wardrobe Malfunctions
That raincoat makes sense when you're outside. But inside your car, it may wrap around your legs in a way that's uncomfortable or irritating. Or you could get too hot and decide you need to take it off. While you're driving. On rain-washed pavement. In heavy traffic. What could go wrong? Nothing if you make sure you're comfortable when you're driving and wait until you're getting out to suit up.
Number 7: Use Your Defroster Even If It's Not Freezing
Your windows can fog up on rainy days even if it's not bitter cold outside. This situation can be fixed by gapping your window and turning on the defroster to a higher speed, at least for a few minutes. Because defrosters aren't just for winter anymore.
Number 6: Brighten Up
Driving with your lights on the low-beam setting during a rainstorm doesn't make you look like a twerp. Doing so simply allows other drivers to see you from a greater distance, especially if you remembered to clean off your headlights before you began your trip. You did that, right? If not, you should.
If you can't see the edges of the road or the cars in front of you before you're right on top of them, exit from the highway for a little while, or pull as far off the roadway as you can — although risks definitely come along with this last option. Overpasses are among the best places to linger, especially if you're on a motorcycle and it's hailing outside. Saw a biker do this the other day, and it probably only cost him two minutes on his commute. Smart choice.
Number 4: Steer Clear
According to the AAA, "steering around an obstacle is preferred to braking at speeds above 25 mph because less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In wet weather, sudden braking often leads to skids." Just remember to not to suddenly steer past 180 degrees, or you could wind up spinning out — and that's not exactly an improvement.
Number 3: Sync Your Speed to the Water Amount
If there's standing water on the road, you need to slow down — simple as that. Hydroplaning may sound like fun, but it's seldom a good time, for you or anyone else.
Number 2: Stay Calm During a Skid
Your first instinct when your car starts skidding is to panic. Don't. Instead, follow these AAA guidelines for rear-wheel skids....
1.Continue to look at your path of travel down the road.
2. Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
3.Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
4.When the rear wheels stop skidding, continue to steer to avoid a rear-wheel skid in the opposite direction.
...and front-wheel skids, which feature the top three steps, followed by...
4.Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
5.When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.
Number 1: Keep your distance.
No matter what kind of car you're driving, it'll take you longer to stop on a wet road than a dry one. So don't tailgate — unless you want to end up in someone's backseat. And there are better ways to get there than a crash.
Oh yeah: Don't cut in too close on lane changes and drown those of us not driving in SUVs with splashback. And you know that texting while driving in a rainstorm is even dumber than it is on an average day, right? Right?
Here's the complete "Get a Grip" guide.
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