Old School Inclement Weather Driving Basic 101

Fayetteville Travel Blog

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Headed South from Fayetteville N.C. to Gibsonton, Florida

The rain in Spain may stay mainly on the plain, but here in Fayetteville this ThanksGiving weekend there’s an awful lot of it on the roadway today.  Possibly not the very best day for a 600 mile RV trip back home to Florida, but Old School & the gang must get home.  Rain is blamed for thousands of unnecessary accidents yearly.  Most of these accidents are preventable, but are caused by Dumb A-- drivers who don't realize or are too self-important to understand that Dry Sunny &  Inclement Weather driving are totally different.

Turn on your headlights; this should be so obvious even to the TravBuddies who are a few cans short of a six pack.

Lights Camera Action
.. It helps you see the road, and more importantly, it helps other motorists see you. However, don't blast your high beams in the rain or fog it'll obscure your view further, as the light will reflect back at you off the water droplets in the air. If your car is equipped with fog lights, you may find it helpful to turn these on, as they throw a little extra light on the road while making your car easier to see.

When the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt causes tires to lose traction. Less obvious is the fact that rain reduces TravBuddy perception  it's harder to see through the rain  and also decreases visibility through its action on headlights, windshields and the road itself. While most people know to slow down & turn on their lights here are definitely some DA’s that don’: these are the ones who you pray get pulled over & make a sizeable donatition to the Police Benevolent Association.

During dry periods, engine oil and grease build up on the road surface.

It is hard to see, so SLOW Down
When mixed with water from a new rainfall, the road becomes extremely slick. Continued rainfall will eventually wash away the oil, but the first few hours can be the most dangerous.

You should plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet. Keep in mind that traffic is likely to be moving slower as well. There's also the possibility that your preplanned route may be flooded or jammed. Whatever the case, rushing equals higher risk.

Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally. Not only does this increase the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, it also lets the driver behind you know that you're slowing down. Also, be more meticulous about using turn signals, so that other drivers  know your intentions, and take turns and curves with less speed than you would in dry conditions.

We did not know they closed when it rained

Most of America's roads are crowned in the middle, which means that the water will run off to the sides. If possible, stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles.

Don't use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there's the chance your car could actually accelerate. Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals not a great idea when reaction time is so important.

If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around it or choose a different route.  It could be that it's covering a huge gaping hole into the front door of hell. Well, maybe not, but water splashing up into your car's engine compartment could damage its internal electrical systems. Also, a pothole may be hiding under the water, just waiting in ambush to damage a wheel or knock your suspension out of alignment.
Not Good
If you can't gauge the depth, or if it's covering up the side curb, try to avoid it.

Don't attempt to cross running water. If the force of the water is greater than the weight of your vehicle All-wheel drive isn't going to be much help if your vehicle is being pushed sideways. Don't end up like those folks on the nightly news who had to abandon their cars to Mother Nature as it floats away.  After you cross a puddle, tap on your brake pedal lightly to dry off some of the water on your rotors.

Watch out for pedestrians. An ordinarily observant pedestrian may become distracted by fiddling with an umbrella or a rain slicker. Plus, raindrops deaden sound, so the usual audio clues for measuring car distances become obscured. Keep a sharp lookout for people in the road.
South Bound I-95 Parking Lot

If it's raining so hard that you can't see the road or the car in front of you, pull over and wait it out.  In the words of Homer Simpson DAHAAA!Track the car ahead of you. Let the car ahead pave a clear path, so to speak, through the water.
Give a truck or bus extra distance. Their extra-large tires can create enough spray to block your vision completely. Avoid passing one, but if you must pass, do it as quickly as safety allows.

Defog your windows.
Billy Bob Towing is having a GREAT Day
Rain will quickly cause your windshield to fog up. Switch on both front and rear defrosters and make sure the air conditioning is turned on. If you start to hydroplane, don't brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must use the brake, tap the brake pedal (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down).

Make sure that your wipers are in good condition and functioning properly. If the blades are brittle or damaged, replace them before you're caught in a downpour.

In a perfect world, rainy days would find us hanging out at the local coffeehouse or holed up at home, watching the NFL .   Reality being what it is, you probably still have to dredge up enough smarts to go to work instead. Taking a few precautions and using wet-weather driving techniques will keep you from ending up soaking wet on the shoulder of the freeway, waiting for a tow truck. Or worse as one of the many statics this holiday season!!


hummingbird50 says:
Hey Bill...excellent blog for sure...like usual. I love the humor, even when you mean it. Has been foggy here for the last four darn days..It takes me about 7 minutes in the morning just to get out of my driveway...(1.6 miles long)...to the highway just to drive along with the rest of the crazy people who do not slow down. Thanks for the 101.
Puppies and grits next:):):):)
Posted on: Dec 01, 2008
gejah says:
could be holland!
Posted on: Dec 01, 2008
oldschoolbill says:
Thanks this trip took 16 hours instead of 9 or 10 but we made it without any trouble or Extra $$$$'s to Billy Bob Towing or the Police Benevolent Association.
Posted on: Dec 01, 2008
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Headed South from Fayetteville N.C…
Headed South from Fayetteville N.…
Lights Camera Action
Lights Camera Action
It is hard to see, so SLOW Down
It is hard to see, so SLOW Down
We did not know they closed when i…
We did not know they closed when …
Not Good
Not Good
South Bound I-95 Parking Lot
South Bound I-95 Parking Lot
Billy Bob Towing is having a GREAT…
Billy Bob Towing is having a GREA…
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photo by: Zagnut66