Rainy weather and driving don’t make for the safest combination. Even when rolling along a nicely paved road, rain can make driving conditions far more dangerous. When you add uneven trails and large obstacles to the mix, the safety risks of driving in rainy weather become even greater. As such, it’s important to exercise extreme caution when off-roading while the weather is on the wetter side. Below, we have listed some of the key dangers of going off-roading in the rain to keep in mind if you experience a sudden downpour on the trails.
Slippery terrain is one of the biggest safety hazards of driving in the rain. When driving over rugged trails and challenging obstacles, maintaining ample traction is vital. If your tires lose their grip, you could end up sliding down a steep incline or losing control and hitting a tree or other stationary object.
In addition to increasing one’s risk of an accident, slick, wet terrain also makes it far easier to get stuck. If your tires lose traction and spin, they could dig into the softened ground and prevent your vehicle from moving. To account for the decrease in traction when off-roading in the rain, take necessary safety precautions such as driving slowly and steadily, airing down your tires, and keeping recovery gear on hand in case you get stuck.
Another one of the most prevalent dangers of going off-roading in the rain is reduced visibility. As rain falls from the sky and splashes onto one’s windshield, the water moves and scatters light, which distorts the driver’s view. When one’s vision is impaired, they may not see obstacles or safety hazards that they typically would on a clear sunny day.
To maintain your visibility on the trails despite the rain, make sure your vehicle’s windshield wipers are in good condition and consider investing in an upgraded lighting system. In addition, it’s also important to drive more slowly than you usually would, as doing so will give you more time to spot potential dangers.
Rising water is also a top safety concern when driving in the rain. When off-roading, it’s common to encounter small streams, shallow rivers, and large puddles. While it might be easy to traverse such small bodies of water when the weather is dry, rain can turn a little puddle into a big obstacle.
Essentially, heavy rain can cause water levels to rise quickly. As such, just because you made it over a body of water on your way out, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to cross it on your way back. Before attempting to drive over a pool of water—especially a moving one like a shallow river—make sure to measure its depth to avoid getting stuck, flooding your vehicle’s internal components, or worse—getting swept away by the current.
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