Road surfaces get slick and traveling gets tricky when rain first falls after a long dry spell.
With the weekend forecast predicting heavy rains in Northwest Oregon, travelers need to be prepared for difficult conditions. Oil and grease don’t wash away during the dry season; they come to the surface when the next rain comes, which can make roads unexpectedly slick and treacherous.
Be aware of conditions.
* Slow down. Driving through water at high speed can cause you to lose control.
* Lowering your speed helps you avoid sudden stops caused by disabled cars, debris and other hazards.
* Expect road surfaces to be slick. The first few hours of rain can be the most dangerous.
* Turn on your headlights to improve visibility. Disengage your cruise control.
* Keep your distance. A car needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet roads.
* Motorists and bicyclists must watch for each other: Cars won’t stop as quickly and bicycles may be harder to see. Give riders room!
* Check your wipers. Replace wiper blades regularly.
* Make sure your defroster is functioning properly, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.
* Check your brakes. After driving through a puddle, check that brakes are working properly by tapping them gently a few times.
* Check your tires. Make sure tires are in good condition and are at the recommended inflation level. Tires should have at least 1/32 of an inch tread depth at any two adjacent grooves, the minimum allowable by law. Driving on over-inflated or under-inflated tires is dangerous on wet pavement.
* Watch for hydroplaning conditions.
Hydroplaning occurs when your front tires surf on a film of water. It can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, especially if tires are worn. If you hydroplane, ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.