Boy we suck at driving in the rain. No stereotype could be more true.
The idea that we don't have as much practice at it holds some, well, water. But it's really the all-wheel-drive-having douches in Porsche Carrera 4s, Range Rovers, and red-neck, Baja-style trucks racing through torrents who emphasize the obvious. Here are some tips on how to start driving right in the wet:
-Slow the f--- down. We know this is obvious, but tell that to Dr. Eminence Grace as she rips through yellow lights in her Cayenne. Says the AAA:
Hitting several inches of water at high speeds can cause a driver to lose control of the car. ... Driving at slower speeds also helps drivers be prepared for sudden stops due to disabled cars, debris, and other hazards associated with wet-weather driving. ... Multi-vehicle collisions occur because drivers are going too fast.
Basic stuff here people.
-"Brake earlier and with less force." In other words, stop looking at your iPhone, keep your eyes peeled, and get on your brakes lightly the moment you see trouble ahead. Even the best anti-lock braking systems will not save you from crushing your fine front clip when what's between you and the street is a fine sheen of oil and water. The usual play of blasting through newborn red lights and tailgating the Mexican gardener in front of you because you're late for your shiatsu appointment isn't going to cut it.
-Keep a safe distance. You can't really practice the above tap dance if you're jamming the car in front of you like a cop en route to an emergency. You're not a cop en route to an emergency. If you have to slam on the brakes and hydroplane, at least you'll have some room to move before metal meets precious metal.
-If you do end up hydroplaning, keep it straight (if possible). This is what they call a pro tip. But it's worth noting. Turning your wheel as you're car slides out-of-control is a whole notha' level best left to professional race car drivers (seriously). Says Edmunds.com:
Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must brake, tap the brake pedal (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down).
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If you get into a fender bender, and your car is still operable, PULL OVER! Lord, please, pull over. Nobody -- nobody -- cares about the angle of your car and the distance to the curb and all that stuff you think will be important to your insurance claim. Get it over so that you don't cause more accidents. Get it to the side so that you're safely out of harm's way. If you're on the freeway, pull to the right and stay in your car until help arrives.