I decided to write this blog post because we are currently in the middle of a few rain storms in Southern California and I thought it might be good to go over some tips and information regarding how rain can affect your commute and fuel economy. If you’ve even been to Southern California you probably know heavy rains are not a common occurrence. Many drivers aren’t used to driving in the rain around here and when it does rain, you end up with accidents, flooding, mud-slides and other rain-related problems.
So here are a few rainy day driving tips that could not only help you stay safe on the road, but could potentially improve your fuel economy in the rain as well:
1) Quick acceleration and/or breaking fast can reduce your fuel economy by up to 33% on the highway. With slick roads and sometimes poor visibility due to rain, a good tip is to slow down and give a little more room between you and the vehicle in front of you. Your vehicle does not react the same on a dry road as it does on a wet road, so you’ll need to compensate for the difference.
2) Watch out for areas of standing water. Areas of standing water could cause your vehicle to hydroplane or if the water is deep enough, could cause your vehicle to get stuck. Especially if it’s the first rain after a long dry spell, you’ll have the concern of oil and other spilled fluids that can add to the slick surface of the road. While it may be fun to go racing through a “puddle” to watch water splash everywhere, you never know what that puddle could be hiding.
3) Ensure your tires are in good condition. Worn out tires have shallow grooves and don’t provide the type of traction you need when driving in the rain. Improperly inflated tires can wear your tires down faster and affect your ability to maneuver on wet roads. Plus…don’t forget, tires can lose up to a pound of pressure for every 10 degree drop in temperature. And unaligned tires can create unneeded friction while driving and this too can cause tires to wear out and lower fuel economy.
4) Ensure you and your vehicle are properly prepared for a rainy day drive. Although I recommend having basic emergency supplies in your car at all times, when you go out driving in the rain or snow this becomes even more important. Accidents and traffic are commonplace in bad weather and you should be prepared for that. Ensure your car has a basic emergency kit, water, blanket(s), snacks, etc. Fill up (or fully charge your vehicle if you have an electric vehicle) before you head out. You can also use a proven fuel additive to add to your fuel economy. You never know when a “short” drive can turn into a long trip.
Basically, when it all comes down to it, your vehicle and fuel economy are not the same in dry conditions as they are in wet, rainy conditions. You must factor that in when driving in the rain. So before you head out for work, school, errands, etc. brush up on your “Tips for Driving in Rain” so you can have a safe and happy drive!