10 Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain

Rain water splash flow from wheels of silver car moving fast in daylight city with selective focus. Car moving on asphalt road during heavy summer storm rain.

Each year, nearly 75% of weather-related car accidents occur on wet pavement, and 47% happen during rainfall. With lower light conditions and slippery surfaces, driving in the rain can be one of the most difficult and dangerous situations drivers encounter. With the rainy season on the way, here are 10 tips to help you stay safe on the roads.

1. Wait for the Weather to Improve.

If it’s not necessary to go out right away, postpone your trip or commute until the weather has improved. There’s no reason to unnecessarily put yourself at risk if you don’t need to!

2. Make sure your car’s equipment works.

Before driving in the rain, make sure your headlights, tail lights, and windshield wipers work well. These are all critical for good visibility! You should also check that you have sufficient tread on your tires. Bald tires have poor traction, even in the best road conditions—but they’re especially dangerous on slick roads. If you can see the wear bars or the tread is completely worn down, it’s time to get your tires replaced.

3. Drive slowly.

Although it’s always important to follow the speed limit, you should make a point to drive considerably slower than normal when it’s raining. In wet weather, it takes much longer to come to a complete stop. Hydroplaning is also more likely to occur. It’s especially important to go slower when it first starts raining because the fresh rain will bring out the oils on the road and make the surface even slicker.

4. Use your windshield wipers.

It might seem like common sense to use your windshield wipers, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to forget to turn them on in light rain. Your windshield wipers should clear raindrops from the glass in one swipe without smearing them or leaving streaks. If they don’t, or you can hear a scraping noise, it’s time to replace them. If a heavy downpour or storm is on the way, you may also want to consider applying water-repellent products on your windshield to help the water bead off.

5. Turn on your headlights.

If your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should be on, too—even if it’s misting. Headlights will significantly increase your visibility and make it easier for other vehicles to see you. Plus, it’s the law!

6. Keep your distance from other cars.

Since your car’s reaction and braking time are longer in wet conditions, you should always double the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This will also help you avoid water being kicked onto your windshield by larger vehicles, which can affect your visibility.

7. Avoid heavy or abrupt braking.

Slow, gradual braking is best in the rain. As you approach a stop, take your foot off the accelerator sooner than you normally would when you’re preparing to slow down, allowing your car to coast. Then, brake gently and gradually. Avoid using cruise control, so you stay more connected with braking and accelerating your vehicle.

8. Keep an eye out for standing water.

Driving through standing water increases the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when your tires lose traction, and your car drives on the surface of the water rather than the surface of the road—and it can be very dangerous. If it’s safe, try to drive around areas where water has collected by changing lanes or steering around them.

9. Let up off the gas if you hydroplane.

Hydroplaning is one of the most common reasons for car accidents because it causes a loss of control. If your car starts to hydroplane, stay calm, take your foot off the gas pedal, and steer in the direction you want to go. Don’t make sudden turns or slam on your brakes, because this can cause you to lose even more control over your vehicle.

10. Ventilate your vehicle.

Rainy weather increases the humidity in your car, which is why the windows get foggy. Using the defroster will help get rid of some of the humidity, but you can help it clear the fog faster and more efficiently by cracking a window.

Accidents Can Still Happen in the Rain, Even with Safe Driving

Making a conscious effort to take these safety precautions is the best way to stay safe in wet weather. Simply remembering to reduce your speed and turn on your headlights are two of the most effective ways to avoid an accident. However, even the most skilled and cautious drivers can get into a collision in rainy conditions. If you do, Cline Collision Center is here to help with quality OEM repairs and complete insurance coordination. We hope you won’t need us, but if you do, we’ll do everything we can to make the repair process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Stay safe out there!

What Are the Top 5 Vehicle Safety Features You Should Know About?

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re buying a new or used car – fuel economy, legroom, cargo space, and of course, finding a model that you know you’ll be happy with overall in the long run.

Safety First Sign

One thing that should always be a priority when purchasing a car is its safety features. Although traditional safety features like seat belts, anti-lock brakes, and airbags, are now standard, newer vehicles have also come to rely on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS is comprised of a variety of electronic safety features that use automated technology (like sensors and cameras) to detect obstacles around the vehicle and driver errors. Some features will sound or display a warning, while others use automated features to correct the vehicle without any action from the driver.

ADAS features vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Typically, the more luxurious the model, the more ADAS features it includes. However, as automakers embrace electronic safety features, many of them are becoming more widely available, even on more conventional models. Here’s a look at five of the most important ADAS safety features that will help reduce your risk on the road.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic stability control (ESC) has been standard for all cars built after 2012. It relies on sensors to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle and prevent skidding or sliding in conditions where there may be poor traction. The sensors monitor factors like wheel speed, sideways motion, steering angle, and rotation to keep the car moving in the driver’s intended direction.

If the car moves outside of this path, the ESC will apply automatic braking on one or more of the wheels to prevent skidding or plowing out. ESC happens so quickly that drivers often don’t even realize there’s a need for steering corrections. Many manufacturers have their own name for the ESC, like StabiliTrak (Buick/GMC) or AdvanceTrak (Ford) but they all work similarly. ESC is especially helpful for taller vehicles that are more at risk for rollovers, like SUVs and pickup trucks.

Blind Spot Monitoring

Blind spots are a major safety hazard. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), blind spots are the cause of as many as 350,000 accidents a year. Blind spots can be due to a fault in the vehicle design or physical limitations of the driver being able to see around the vehicle well. The most common blind spots on most vehicles are near the rear bumpers.

Volvo was the first to develop blind spot monitoring systems (BMS) in 2003; since then, many other automakers have followed suit. BMS systems use a set of sensors mounted on the side mirrors and/or rear bumper to detect vehicles in the adjacent lanes. If the sensors detect a vehicle, they trigger an alert (typically auditory and/or visual, but some models may use vibration as well) to warn the driver. Some models may also integrate cameras into the system along with sensors.

Lane Departure Warning

The lane departure warning (LDW) uses a camera to monitor lane markings and detect when the vehicle strays outside of the lines. It will then alert the driver with a visual or auditory warning so the driver can steer the vehicle back into the lane. While it’s similar to the ESC because it tracks the vehicle’s path, it doesn’t take control of the vehicle in any way. LWD systems have been shown to reduce a variety of accidents, including single-vehicle, sideswipes, and head-on collisions.

Adaptive Headlights

Headlights are one of the most important safety features on any car, but adaptive headlights go a step further than just lighting up the road after dark. Adaptive headlights use sensors to actively respond to changing light or road conditions to provide better visibility and reaction time.

There are several different types of adaptive headlights, but the most common is curve-adaptive. These headlights have bulbs that will pivot to adjust the light depending on the direction of travel (driving up or down a hill, for example) and sometimes according to the vehicle’s speed. Other features that fall under adaptive lighting are headlights that adjust the brightness of the light depending on outside light conditions and automatic switching between low and high beams.

Traction Control

Traction control monitors vehicle wheel slippage and other indicators that could signal a loss of traction. If it detects one of the wheels is spinning faster than the others, the system immediately applies the anti-lock brake system to that wheel or, in some cases, may cut engine power to the wheel. Although automakers are now legally required to include electronic stability control in their vehicles, they aren’t required to include traction control – although most do.

One important thing to remember about this feature is that there are some conditions where it won’t work, like driving on a sheet of ice. It can only provide traction in instances where the tires would already have some, like wet roads, gravel, or other uneven, loose, or soft surfaces. For that reason, you should still reduce your speed and take turns slowly when driving in slick conditions. Traction control tends to be most effective when accelerating from a stopped or slowed position, or when trying to accelerate up a slippery hill.

Accidents Can Still Happen…

There are many other ADAS safety features that aren’t on this list, but hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of some of the most important ones and how they work. Unfortunately, no matter how many safety features your car has, accidents can still happen – and if they do, Cline Collision Center is here to help! We use OEM parts and repair methods to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition and ensure all safety features remain intact and functioning properly. We’ll also handle the insurance coordination to ensure the repair process is streamlined and hassle-free. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or schedule your appointment online.

When it Comes to Safety, Heavier Isn’t Better

Old cars are bigger and heavier and, therefore, must be safer, right?

Before you trade in your Prius for a ‘57 Chevy, you might want to think about how safety considerations and crash technology have made cars safer, despite weight differences.

Vehicle Safety

Today’s vehicles are designed with collision energy management. This means vehicles now absorb and then transfer the energy of a crash around the passenger compartment. Crumple zones, crush zones, or crash zones are built-in safety features that change the velocity and momentum of a crash. This is called controlled deformation. Basically, engineers do all they can to wrap you in bubble wrap (airbags) and let the rest of the car fold and wrinkle all around you. These areas even help airbag deployment by slowing down the impact to airbag zones, allowing the bags to fully deploy.

Reliable Repairs

That’s why it’s so important to have your repairs done by a Gold Class certified shop. This designation guarantees that all areas of a shop—Estimator, Non-Structural Technician, Steel Structural Technician, and Refinish Technician—understand how to get you and your car safely back on the road. Ongoing training is essential to keep pace with all the technology and advancements that keep you safe.

That ’57 Chevy may look cool, but it doesn’t have the new technologies that ensure you are as safe as possible as you drive. Adaptive cruise control measures how close you are to other vehicles and automatically slows you down when you are too close. Adaptive headlights sense when to turn on high beams and when to shut them off. Blindspot detection helps you with lane changes while lane departure warning and prevention stops you from unintended lane changes. Park assist and back over protection allow you to see and sense when a person or car is behind you. And forward collision avoidance keeps you safe when it senses slowed or stopped traffic ahead.     

Of course, we love working on old cars, and will gladly help you out with your Bel Air. But if you have a modern car, we have the commitment and knowledge to give you personable service and the highest quality repairs possible because your safety is on the line. Schedule your next auto body repair online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!