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Springtime can bring stretches of pleasant temperatures and sunshine, but with it can come spells of rain, wind and turbulent weather. Driving in these hazardous conditions can be a challenge, to say the least, so we’re giving you our top five tips for driving safely and comfortably in wet and stormy weather.

1. Take your time

Slowing down is the best way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning. Remember that one of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on the roadway make for slick conditions. Adding an extra 1-2 seconds of following time between cars while driving in the rain will give vehicles more time to react to traffic.

2. Turn your lights on

Visibility is crucial during stormy weather, so flip the headlights on so you can see others and others can see you. Make sure you use your dipped headlights (the ones that point more to the ground) and make sure you only use your high beams if absolutely necessary, as they could distract other drivers. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act says that every driver should not make use of their high beam headlights when they are within 60 metres of following a vehicle or within 150 metres of an approaching vehicle.

3. Maneuver smoothly

Smooth steering, braking and accelerating will reduce your chances of skidding. Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind shifts your vehicle. Strong winds can occur just about anywhere, but it can be more common in wide open spaces.

Areas of concern also include highway overpasses and tunnels that can funnel wind, so the smoother you maneuver the roads, the safer you’ll keep yourself, your passengers and other drivers.

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4. Anticipate anything

Look ahead and plan your movements. Be prepared for vehicles around you to slow, skid or stop suddenly. In storms, take special care when driving through areas prone to strong gusts. Be aware of large vehicles on the road such as tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles, as they are more vulnerable to high winds.

5. Know when to say no

Road conditions can sometimes be too severe to tackle. Falling debris such as trees, branches and hail can pose serious, sometimes life-threatening risks for drivers. While a car provides some protection from lightning, your vehicle can still be burned and damaged by a strike. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and bulletins so you know what to expect before you get in the car. Ontario storms rarely last longer than a few hours, so adjusting your schedule could be a life-saving decision.

Rain and wind can be real downers, but knowing how to navigate rough weather on the road will keep you and your passengers out of harm’s way.

Want to join in on the conversation? Let us know how you drive safe during wet weather and tweet us @OnliaCA #OnliaCA.

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