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Got Rain? Tips and Tricks to Safely Navigate Flooding Roads


Happy February to our Bristow's family! For February, we want to tackle a Pacific Northwest issue that, specifically, Washington Drivers have to deal with frequently. How to best prepare yourself & your vehicle for flooding roads & how to drive in the rain safely. Weather.com states that "Seattle experiences an average of 152 rainy days a year", which is a lot more than most states in our country. This is why it's so important to know how to drive in these PNW conditions! We know that driving in the rain -whether a sprinkle or a heavy downpour, can be one of the most challenging driving situations one can encounter. When you add darkness falling around 5 PM, it certainly doesn't help. It's crucial to keep in mind that wet roads & reduced visibility will affect how your vehicle enables you to drive safely in rainy conditions. 

Your vehicle must be in prime working order before going in the rain. Make a point to make sure your headlights, taillights, windshield wipers, and brakes are working correctly before you begin driving. 

Windshield Wipers - Your Saving Grace 

As you can imagine, one of the most important features of your vehicle when driving in the rain is your windshield wipers. But when's the last time you cleaned and inspected yours? With our winter weather in full swing, our vehicles have more dirt, leaves & other debris that wedge themselves to your blades & under the wipers themselves. If this buildup is left for long periods, it turns to grime & that grime begins to pit your windshield & shorten your blade's lifetime. Make sure to take a clean cloth & wipe them down at least once a week- it can improve their lifespan during maintenance services significantly. If you see your wipers dragging or they are screeching on your windshield, they are past due for replacement. Not only is the screeching & pulling incredibly irritating, but it's scratching the glass each time it swipes across your windshield- which impairs your visibility. 


Head/Tail Lights

Headlights and taillights have the vital job of allowing you to see where you are driving and others to see you coming and going. And they are both critical for driving safety. Knowing that you have the brightest, most powerful headlights, taillights, and blinkers adds to peace of mind when driving in wet conditions. There is nothing worse than not being able to see, or when someone surprises you with an unexpected left turn out of nowhere, the experts at Bristow's Auto Repair can help improve your visibility on the roads with our ASE-certified technicians maintaining your vehicle with our preventive maintenance services. 


Tire Tread 

In rainy/flooding weather, driving conditions can quickly become hazardous. When water fills up the roads, one can see oily fluids floating atop the rainwater, increasing the chances of an accident or hydroplaning. Water on the road creates a barrier between the road and your tires, which can cause you to lose traction and even hydroplane. Even though modern tires have a front and back tread and water-wicking design, hydroplaning can still occur, even with the best tires on the market today. Let the team at Bristow's Auto Repair professionals ensure that your tires are balanced, repaired, and rotated adequately, including torquing each lug nut for safety, to ensure your best "tire" is forward on our wet roads. 


Wet Weather Driving Tips

Remember to always follow the posted speed limit when driving in wet weather conditions. But in reality, you should drive even slower. Remember- your vehicle's reaction time is much slower when it is raining. Make a point to keep an even greater distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you than you normally would. Due to the increased barrier between your tires & the road, stopping your vehicle will be more difficult when driving in the rain. 


Tips for Hydroplaning- If this occurs, take your foot off the gas slowly, keep both hands firmly holding the steering wheel in place, and lightly apply the brakes. Make sure to only steer in the direction that your car needs to go. And avoid making sudden turns or slamming on your brakes.


Flooding Roads 

Unpredictable weather can put you in a dangerous situation fast. If you find yourself driving through the rising water, try everything to turn around & avoid having to drive through. When water covers a street, it can hide dips, potholes, and severe debris. It's said that six inches of water is enough to hit the bottom of most passenger cars, which can flood the exhaust system, causing your car to die. It's a good rule of thumb: If you don't want to walk through the water, do not attempt to drive across it. 


Here is a statistic to keep in mind during winter driving conditions: "The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water, and roads covered by water are prone to collapse." - Drivesafely.com 


Drive Down the Center

What part of the road is the safest to drive on during flood conditions? The road in the middle is the least driven on, making it a little higher than the sides of the road. This is your best bet.


Quick Tips for Driving Across Water


  1. Stop: Don't drive into the water. 

  2. Moving water = avoid at all costs. 

  3. Move extremely slow, think below 5MPH

  4. Drive in the center of the road; it is the highest point.

  5. Cross the road one car at a time.

  6. After exiting the water, dry your brakes with slow, light pulsating taps. 

The team at Bristow's Auto Repair hopes this month's blog will come in handy, your safety is #1 & our team is here to help. If any of the preventive maintenance suggestions stood out to you in a "wow, I need to get that checked," please call our team today. During the month of February, push yourself to get a complete maintenance inspection from our team at Bristow's Auto Repair. We pride ourselves on only using state-of-the-art equipment & the latest diagnostic equipment to determine exactly what your vehicle needs. Our auto repair team continuously takes part in ongoing training. Click here to schedule an appointment today!


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