We live in the UK, so driving in the rain is inevitable. You can jump into your vehicle, put on the heater and keep you and your passengers warm and dry while your travel. However, rainy roads can be much more dangerous and you need to make sure you stay safe.
Before you set off, make sure that your window wipers, breaks and headlights are all working as they should.
Let friends and family know that you’re heading out, give them a rough time estimate for your journey and keep a mobile phone on you in case of emergency.
You should also check your tyres are at the recommended tread depth so you’ve got a safe amount of grip on the road.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of fuel as lights, heating and wipers, as well as sitting in traffic, all increase your fuel consumption.
When driving in the rain, make sure you’re not going too fast. Slowing down your normal speeds is the only way to keep your car from aquaplaning. Aquaplaning happens when a vehicle going too fast runs over a layer of water on the road and the tyres aren’t able to grip the surface.
If you aquaplane, your steering and breaking are compromised and you can lose control of the vehicle. It’s much better to take your time and to avoid risks when you’re driving in the rain.
If you do start to aquaplane, try not to panic, and take your foot slowly off the accelerator to allow the vehicle to slow down by itself. Resist the urge to break, as that can cause skidding and a whole load of problems.
When it’s raining, it’s much harder to see what’s happening on the roads around you. Keeping your lights on helps you see and makes it a lot easier for other people to see you. Dipped headlights are best, fog lights will only dazzle other drivers in the rain as the light bounces off the wet road.
If you’re following other vehicles on the road, make sure you leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. It gives you more time to react if something out of the ordinary happens and gives your breaks an extra few seconds of stopping time on the rainy road.
Stopping distances double when it’s raining, so make sure you’re leaving plenty of room.
Rainy roads are harder to stop on, that’s why leaving lots of distance is incredibly important. When you need to break, try and be gentle and allow extra time to bring your vehicle to a complete stop.
When it’s raining, it’s often windy too. Making sure you have both hands firmly on the wheel in case of gusts or slippery surfaces is vital to your ability to keep control of the car when driving in wind and rain.
If you’re passing by larger vehicles, or perhaps you’re driving one, be aware that winds and rain make it more difficult to stay in the correct lane. They also throw up lots of extra spray, so only overtake if you’ve got lots of room and clear visibility on motorways.
Often, when driving in the rain, the extra humidity can cause your windows to get a bit foggy. Make sure your heating system is set to keep windows clear and pull over if you can no longer see properly.
If there’s a certain road that’s known for flooding or strong winds, try to avoid it if possible. We know it’s not always the most direct route you can take, but it’s better to stay safe and add a few extra minutes to your trip to avoid those tricky roads.
Local radio is great for letting you know where problems are on the road. It’s more likely that there will have been accidents in the rain, and the local station will let you know where traffic is building up and if there are any road closures.
If you are going to have the radio on, make sure the volume isn’t distracting as you’ll need all your attention to be on the road and what’s happening around you.
They’re out in the rain and probably not enjoying it very much. Try to limit the amount of spray you create as you drive through water past them.
Driving in the rain is something we all encounter and it’s important to moderate driving styles accordingly. Make sure you always allow extra time for rainy trips and keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safe.