Tips for driving in the rain

Thursday 23rd April 2020

driving in the rain

Sometimes, we find ourselves caught in a heavy downpour whilst on a car journey which is simply unavoidable. This can be especially stressful if we’re on a high-speed road or motorway – but there are some tips for driving in the rain that you can follow to stay safe. From general car maintenance recommendations to tips for wet driving, our guide has you covered.

Wet weather driving tips

  • Wait until the weather improves – firstly, evaluate whether you need to drive at that time. If the weather is particularly wet outside, it may be best holding fire until it clears up if your journey isn’t urgent.
  • Test your car’s equipment – make sure that you test your brakes are working effectively before you drive through any possible floodwater. It’s also a good idea to check the windscreen wipers are working effectively, too. Find out if your wiper blades need replacing.
  • Low speed – when on the road, maintain a slow, steady speed as you drive through any standing water. A slower speed is also advised generally driving in rain – as driving at speed can often affect the visibility of the driver if the rain is particularly heavy. Lower speeds allow for a quicker reaction time and shorter stopping distance.
  • Avoid slippery areas – for example, particularly large puddles or wet leaves. If you do end up slipping on something on the road, avoid heavy braking as this could cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Light braking and controlled steering should guide you through.
  • Floodwater – on road bends in particular, try to avoid driving directly through large floodwater puddles, as this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and aquaplaning to occur. If you do experience aquaplaning, do not attempt to accelerate – instead, gently steer in the direction you need to go, while avoiding sharp turns or sudden braking.
  • Drive on the highest area of the road – if the flooding covers too much of the road, you can always use the kerb to guide you through particularly wet areas.
  • Ventilation – driving in the rain can cause condensation as humidity levels rise. This can lead to your windows steaming up and becoming foggy – so ensure you use your vehicle’s ventilation system in this instance. Learn more tips on how to demist your windscreen quickly.
  • Consider stopping distance in rain – driving in the rain is likely to double your stopping distance, so it’s important to consider this to avoid collision. This is due to the reduction in tyre grip that comes from driving in wet conditions, so maintain a safe distance from cars in front of you to account for extra stopping distance. Learn more about the correct UK stopping distances from our guide.
  • If you break down – remember, if wet driving causes you to break down, try to pull over in a safe space and wait for help to arrive. Top tip: don’t open the bonnet during a rainstorm. This can cause water to get inside the engine, which may make it more difficult for the vehicle to start.

Unsafe driving conditions

However, it’s important to note that there are some weather conditions which mean you should consider not attempting to drive at all. Some of these include:

  • Persistent rain leading to heavy localised flooding – sometimes with wet driving, you can encounter heavy flooding. In severe cases, this can even prevent people from leaving their homes, especially in rural towns or villages close to water sources, such as lakes or rivers. Weigh up whether you should drive in the flooding as matter of urgency, and consider waiting it out if possible.
  • Heavy winds – alongside rain often comes wind, which can be equally as dangerous, especially if your visibility is already altered by a heavy rainstorm. Consider how the wind may affect your vehicle control – slow down, allow more room for bikes and keep both of your hands firmly on the wheel. Also be aware of taller vehicles if you are travelling on motorways or A-roads, as the wind can often affect them and force them to veer across their lanes.
  • Sleet – sleet is a mixture of rain and snow, which can be also difficult to drive in. Not only are you contesting with wiping thicker precipitation off your windscreen, but it’s likely temperatures will be low – meaning there could also be ice on the road in certain areas. Consider waiting until the sleet has stopped at least before you attempt to drive.

Now you’ve learnt some of the top tips for driving in the rain, ensure your car has been properly serviced to ensure it’s as safe as it can be on the road. Locate your nearest Formula One Autocentres to book in for your service today.

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