Singin' in the Rain

Rain drops on car windshield

​Bad weather can ruin the perfect day and the perfect drive.

Since you can’t always expect sunny skies, you should know how well your vehicle can perform in dangerous conditions. This knowledge can help you prevent weather-related auto troubles while keeping your passengers safe. At least that’s what Rick, LendingTree Autos’ SVP and general manager, learned from his car-ride-gone-wrong a few years back.

“I was in college and I was driving a 1987 Ford Aerostar. Don’t ask why,” Rick laughed. His minivan was hard to miss — it was a big car — and probably wouldn’t qualify as a “hot ride” in the eyes of any college student. But as a music major and rock band member, it was the perfect way to transport his instruments and amps.

Rick had been offered a gig at a function uptown and he couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately, on the day of the performance, he caught a cold that neither his musical enthusiasm nor a bottle of cough medicine could cure. Rick was under the weather, and, well, the weather wasn’t exactly helping.

“It was raining pretty hard outside, but I knew I had to get to the show,” he said. Despite his initial hesitations, Rick was confident that he could drive through the storm. After all, he had just changed his tires a few days before.

“The only problem was that I didn’t have enough money to replace all four tires,” Rick said. Instead, he opted to replace the two front tires and left the back tires as they were. The mistake? Rick’s Aerostar was a rear-wheel drive vehicle. 

“At the time I had no idea what that meant, so I didn’t think it was a big deal to leave the back wheels completely bald.”

Rick headed out into the storm and made it down the freeway with no problems. He exited the interstate and was nearing his destination when he felt a pull on his tires. Before he knew what was happening, the car started gliding into the other lane. 

“The first time I hydroplaned, I was able to recover the car,” he said.

But only a few seconds later, the Aerostar hit another puddle and slipped completely out of Rick's control. The car spun around in circles on the slick asphalt until it hit the median with a thud. It rolled into a nearby ditch, shattering the windshield and leaving Rick surrounded by shards of invisible glass. Stunned, but unharmed, Rick crawled out of the car.

“Even though my car was totaled, I walked away completely unscathed. There was nothing more than a scratch on my cheek,” Rick said. “I did get a ticket for driving too fast for the weather conditions. But if that was the worst thing that happened to me, you could say I got pretty lucky.”

In the music industry, the show must go on — rain or shine. You might not be a rock star like Rick, but we know you can’t always wait for the weather to clear up before driving. Next time you head into the eye of the storm, make sure that you and your vehicle are protected. Take a look at these tips for selecting the right auto insurance coverage

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