safety January 09, 2018

Driving in Inclement Northern Virginia Weather

The mid-Atlantic region falls victim each spring and early summer to thousands of accidents. Many of these accidents are attributed to hazardous weather conditions. In Northern Virginia specifically, foul weather such as rain and fog are the blame. When it comes to driving, many individuals fundamentally cannot adjust their technique depending upon the weather. Wiygul Automotive Clinic fixes and maintains thousands of vehicles throughout the Northern Virginia area. Our staff has the opportunity to observe the aftermath of an accident when a vehicle is brought in for repair as well as the opportunity to fix or identify issues that may help drivers perform in bad weather.

When roads become wet from rain, a film of water develops on the asphalt, which causes tires to lose traction. Rain also affects a driver's visibility. During rainstorms the functionality of headlights, windshields, and wipers are negatively affected. The knowledgeable staff at Wiygul Automotive Clinic has put together an article with steps and precautions to keep you safe as we head into the wetter months.

In the United States, most of our roads are constructed to "crown" in the middle. This is in part a foul weather precaution. When rain hits the asphalt it will run off to the side. When it is raining, if possible, try to stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles. If there is a large puddle dead ahead, drive around it or redirect your vehicle along a different route. Driving through puddles causes water to splash up into your vehicle's undercarriage and possibly into your engine compartment. Water damage can disable your vehicle's electrical systems. Puddles also hide potholes that can sabotage your wheels and/or alignment. If you do happen to hit a puddle, gently tap on your break pedal to expel some of the water from your rotors.

Never use cruise control in the rain. If by chance your vehicle hydroplanes, there is a chance your car could actually accelerate. When hydroplaning, don't brake suddenly or yank the wheel. Release the gas slowly and steer your vehicle straight until you regain traction. If anything, gently tap the brake pedal. Leave proper distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. If your windshield is getting sprayed you are too close. Track the vehicle in front of you. Let the vehicle ahead clear a path. Be vigilant of their actions. They may be an indicator of what is up ahead.

Since we do not put our lives on hold for inclement weather, it is important to take the proper precautions. By following these simple driving techniques, you and your vehicle will arrive in one piece.

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