In addition to checking the inflation pressure, drivers should have their tires, including tread depth, inspected regularly by an ASE Certified automotive professional. Wheel alignment should be checked annually, and tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles or according to the vehicle's owner's manual. Proper wheel alignment and rotation will help tires roll more smoothly, which can increase traction, fuel mileage and tire life.
Don't wait for a rain storm to check your lights and wipers. Make a habit of checking both at regular intervals, when the weather is good -- like when you fill up at the gas station. Seeing and being seen are critical anytime, but especially while driving in the rain. Functioning lights are important not only for your ability to see, they'll help other drivers see your vehicle. Windshield wipers should be replaced at the first signs of trouble, like streaking or noisy operation, in order to provide the best visibility while on the road.
Proper vehicle maintenance may increase traction and visibility during a rain storm, but good driving behaviors, like slowing down and using caution, are also very important. Although the rain will go away, it will come again another day -- be prepared.
Trisha Hessinger is a former racecar driver and nationally recognized automotive education specialist for Firestone Complete Auto Care.