How to react to heavy rainfall when behind the wheel
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- When driving on any type of road, whether a large highway, county or a side street, wet roads are all slick roads. It makes it harder to stop and make quick turns, so first, slow down.
Next, make sure your car has updated maintenance. Tires should all be properly inflated and have good tread. Wind shield wipers need to be in good condition to allow for visibility.
When it comes to storm damage, if you pass power lines along the road that are down from heavy winds, assume they are active. Be aware of traffic lights potentially going out and remember that means the intersection should be treated as a 4 way stop.
But above all, do not ever risk driving in standing water, nor any type of flooded areas.
“The saying is turn around, don’t drown, the saying is catchy so it sticks with you and that is because it is great advice,” says Indiana State Police, Sgt. Ted Bohner. “You may think the water is not so deep, but you do not know what is under there. The road could be washed all out, or the drainage could not have washed out, and you could end up in a very bad situation very, very quickly.”
In Indiana, the law requires headlights should be turn on based on the visibility presented that day. During heavy rainfall, it is a good idea to keep them on not only for you to see, but mostly for the nearby cars to see you. If the rainfall is too heavy, there are some things to keep in mind in order to pull over and let the rain pass.
“That is a perfect example being on a busier road like 31, you want to pull over because you cannot see, but the people who are continuing to drive cannot see as well,” says Sgt. Bohner. “In a situation if you go to where there is like an overpass, that is a brief period of time where visibility is better, so that might be a safer spot to pull over, or get off on a county road because that will not have cars passing at a highway speed.”
Regardless, if you do pull over to the side of the road, Sgt. Bohner explains keep your hazard lights on. Finally, as always, buckle up!