A lot of folks who aren’t from the area are surprised to learn that it does indeed rain in Arizona. We get more than our fair share of that big, yellow ball in the sky and heat. Oh, we get plenty of heat!
But we also get rain — not as much as most areas of the country, but we do get it. Knowing how to drive safely in it is key to not only getting to your destination safely but also keeping safe driver discounts and minimizing the premium on your car insurance.
Average rainfall varies according to the particular area of the state in which you live. The most significant portion of wet weather usually occurs from late June to mid-September, known as monsoon season in the Southwest. This is when drivers need to take particular care to ensure safe travel. If you are unaware of how to safely navigate rain as a road hazard in Arizona, learn the following five tips.
1. Check Your Tires
Routine car maintenance is an overlooked factor in preparing for safe driving in any road conditions. Testing your brakes is a wise idea even in dry weather. During a rainstorm, however, the condition of your tires is crucial.
If the tread on your tire is wearing thin, the chances of losing control of your car by hydroplaning increase greatly. Hydroplaning happens when your tires have such little tread left on them that they don’t make contact with the dry ground beneath the water, rendering you helpless as the car drifts across the water like a rowboat with no oars.
There are two ways to ensure your tires are safe for the Arizona rain. One is the old penny test. Stick a penny headfirst in the tread of each of your tires. If you can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, you likely need new tires.
The second method for checking your tires is simply to schedule regular maintenance for your vehicle. By servicing your car every three months, you will ensure all safety features are in proper working order, in which case, you can retain whatever car insurance discount you receive for having working airbags, seatbelts, etc.
2. Make Sure Your Headlights Are On When Driving in AZ Rain
Most of today’s vehicles are equipped with daytime running lights or an automatic headlight feature. After checking that your tires are in good driving condition, make sure your headlights are on before departing as well.
Additionally, you should ensure your headlights are actually working. If the road looks a little darker than usual, pull over to a safe space with the car running and headlights on, and make sure the lights are working correctly.
3. Slow Down and Stay Calm
If you are driving in the Arizona night during precipitation, you want to slow down. It is easy to get overconfident with some of the latest and greatest technology, like lane departure warnings, automatic braking, and cruise control, but slowing down and staying focused on the road is better than all those advanced features.
Even if your windshield wipers and headlights are working great, the cars around you might be struggling. You want to allow yourself as much time to react in case another vehicle around you cannot see quite as well and drifts into your lane, stops suddenly, or does not adhere to a stop sign or red light.
4. Increase the Distance from the Car Ahead of You
Typically, you should maintain a distance of about three seconds between you and the car in front of you for safe stopping. In wet weather, you should increase this time to about five seconds.
Many accidents are the result of “fender benders.” Adding extra stopping time can prevent a potential claim against your auto insurance in Arizona and, even better, a potential injury.
5. Can’t See? Pull Over!
Especially during monsoon season in Arizona, the rain and blowing dust can get so heavy that visibility becomes severely impaired. If you feel like you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you, pull over.
Of course, you want to make sure you find a safe place to stop your car. It would be even more hazardous to pull over in an area where cars might be traveling. Find a breakdown lane and move as far to the right as possible. Once you stop, put your hazard lights on so other cars can see you.
Find Affordable Auto Insurance in Arizona
Enacting these five tips for driving in the rain in Arizona is a great way to stay safe. For ultimate peace of mind, however, contact Oasis Insurance at 800-330-5190 or visit our website for a quick quote on car insurance. Our expert service professionals are standing by to take your call and get you the best possible rate today!