Driving in rain, whether a sprinkle or a heavy downpour, can be one of the most difficult driving situations a driver encounters. Rainy conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates. In fact out of the 6.3 million car accidents that happen on average each year about 1.5 million are weather-related.

Knowing how wet roads and reduced visibility affects the way your vehicle handles will help you stay safe when driving in adverse conditions. Here are a few tips to help you while driving in inclement weather.

Slow down. Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Not only should you adhere to the posted speed limit when driving in wet weather conditions, you should drive considerably slower than you normally would. On rain-slick roads, you’ll need extra braking distance and plenty of time to react.

Turn On Your Headlights but use your low beam. Most states require drivers to turn on their vehicles’ lights while driving in rain. Turning on your vehicle’s headlights will increase both your own visibility and other drivers’ ability to see your car on the road. Don’t use your high beam, the high beams will actually reflect off rain, fog, and snow, making it even more difficult to see.

Do not use your Hazard Lights. If you’ve ever been driving down the highway during a really bad storm, you’ve probably seen other drivers put on their hazard lights — and maybe you’ve done it yourself. Using your hazard lights while driving is illegal in several states. Even if it is not illegal in your area, using the hazard lights can make other drivers think you’re stopped or stalled and can be confusing for approaching cars.

Use your windshield wipers. While this may seem like common sense, some people forget to turn on their windshield wipers in light rain. Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition, there is nothing worse than getting caught in a terrential downpour ny to find out your wipers are useless. You should clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank. To clean your wiper blades, simply wipe them with a clean rag dipped in hot, soapy water. After you clean off the soap, wipe the edge of the blade with rubbing alcohol. Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield,
doing so can damage the blade as well as the entire arm and wiper motor.

Drive in the middle lane. Driving through even a few inches of water can cause your car to hydroplane, or skid across the surface of the road. Since water tends to pool along the sides of the road, use the middle lanes when you can. If your car does hydroplane, calmly take your foot off of the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go. Whether you’re steering, braking, or turning a corner, a light touch will help you stay in control in slippery conditions.

Staying safe while driving in the rain is simple if you make a conscious effort to employ these safety precautions. Remember that reducing your speed and turning on your lights are two of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing the chances of an accident caused by wet weather.