Driving in the rain creates all sorts of safety problems, so here are some tips we rounded up from the Texas Department of Insurance.

Before you even get in your car, make sure you do the following things:

Replace your old and/or brittle windshield wipers. These things can fly off if you’re not careful. Check your tire pressure and tread. Replace tires when needed, and balance and rotate them according to the timeline on your car’s owner’s manual (standard practice is every 3,000 to 6,000 miles, according to Goodyear). Make sure your headlights and brake lights work. Turn on your headlights (but NOT your high beams, if you have them) in rainy, foggy or overcast conditions so that you can see and so that other drivers can see you. (It’s also the law in all 50 states to turn on your headlights in low visibility.)

Once you’re in the car:

Drive slow. Use your lights. Use your windshield wipers. Again, drive slow. Preferably 5-10 miles below the speed limit. Increase your following distance from the cars in front of you. Don’t follow 18-wheelers, large trucks or buses too closely, or the tire spray could decrease your visibility. Don’t use cruise control and make sure you are alert and in control of your vehicle at all times. Always use your turn signal. Don’t drive distracted (and don’t text and drive). Brake lightly and avoid sharp turns. If you’re on a road that has more than two lanes, try to stay in the middle lane, since water tends to pool in the outside lanes. When you come to a flooded road, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. Never drive through water if you can’t see the ground beneath it. Again, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. Once again, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. Pay attention to your surroundings and watch for flooding.

What to do if you hydroplane:

When your tires lose contact with the road and the water in front of the tires builds up faster than the car can push the water out of the way, you hydroplane. This results in you skidding or sliding on the road on a very thin layer of water with little to no control over your car.

You can avoid hydroplaning by driving slow, avoiding deep water spots and making sure your tire tread is up to snuff. 

If you do start hydroplaning, however, you should not brake or turn suddenly. That will only worsen the spinout. Instead, you should take your foot off the gas, slowly, until you can feel traction on the road again, and drive into the direction of the skid. Then slowly straighten the wheel and get back on the road.