In Alberta, we get plenty of practice driving in the snow and ice, to the point where getting to and fro in wintry weather is second nature. That doesn’t make icy driving easy, mind you, but confidence comes from extensive experience.
But due to our relatively dry weather here in Calgary (except for the months of July and August this year) driving in the rain, especially during a heavy downpour, is a different story, and comes with its own set of risks. It’s easy to underestimate the dangers of driving in wet weather, as we simply don’t get as much practice driving in the rain as we do with snow and ice.
Avoiding a car insurance claim starts with preparation and knowledge. With summer in full swing, it’s time to review the risks and safety recommendations for driving in the rain when wet weather comes to Calgary.
Driving in a Downpour? Slow and Steady Keeps You Safe
One of the most important tips for driving in the rain is simply to avoid underestimating the risks. Heavy rain, like a blizzard, causes dramatically reduced visibility, slippery road surfaces, and unusual traffic patterns. During a quick, passing thunderstorm, driving conditions can switch from benign to dangerously deteriorated in a matter of minutes.
- Slow Down – Moving at a safe speed is crucial in heavy rain, because it improves control of your vehicle and gives you more time to react. Your visibility, the traffic around you, and the severity of the rain storm should help you choose the right speed. If conditions get too bad, just pull over in a safe spot until the heaviest rain passes.
- Be Alert – Just as with icy weather, strange things can happen in the rain. Other drivers might skid, lose control, or drive too fast for the conditions. A section of road can flood unexpectedly. Be sure to keep a close eye on your surroundings when it’s raining.
- Stay Calm – Skids and slides can happen even if you’re driving safely, so it’s important to stay calm. Don’t slam on your brakes, and keep steering in the direction that you want to go, if you start to skid. If you encounter a section of flooded road, staying calm often means finding a safe detour.
- Leave Extra Room – The oil and other residue that builds up on the road turns into a slippery soup, especially in the early minutes of a heavy rainstorm. It’s easy to slide in those conditions, so be sure to leave as much room as you can between you and other nearby vehicles, especially when stopping.
- Check Your Windshield Wipers – It’s an easy thing to forget, but a fresh pair of windshield wipers can really help with visibility in all types of bad weather. They don’t cost much and are easy to install.
Quick Tips: Safe Driving in Hail Storms
During a rainstorm, you’ll often be able to continue driving as long as you stick to a safe, deliberate speed. In a hailstorm, the big priority is simply to find safe cover. Here are some tips for staying safe in the hail:
- If possible, find a covered structure like a parking garage to keep your vehicle protected from the hail. Avoid low-lying areas, because they can flood quickly.
- If you don’t have covered parking at home, consider investing in a cushioned car cover that is designed to protect from hail. Even if you do have a garage, you can keep a cover in your trunk to protect your vehicle on the go.
- You won’t always have access to a vehicle cover when caught in a storm, but floor mats can double as windshield protectors in a pinch. A thick blanket can also do wonders.
Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary Serves Alberta Drivers
The team at Bow Valley Insurance is here to help protect drivers in Calgary and throughout Alberta. We offer 24/7 claim service, car insurance rates of several insurance companies, and fast, free car insurance quotes to get you started.