Tips for driving in the rain
Driving in the rain can create hazardous conditions for drivers, and with rainy weather being a standard part of life in the UK, it's important to know how to drive safely in the rain, so you can avoid accidents on the road.
If you can delay your journey and steer clear of the wet conditions, this is the best option for you and your car, but if you have to drive in heavy rain, look through these sections for some tips and advice to make your journey safer.
- Preparing to drive in wet weather
- Visibility Is Key
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Driving through deeper water
- Breaking down in the rain
Preparing to drive in wet weather
There are a few things you can do before you even start your drive that will help on your journey:
- Factor in some extra time on your drive for flooding, slower driving speeds and congestion on the roads.
- Check your wiper blades are working properly.
- Ensure your tyres have the recommended legal tread depth.
- Check local news for road closures and weather forecasts, and change your route if needed. It's also a good idea to listen to the local news on the radio whilst driving, so you can keep up to date on any changes.
- If you need to get fuel, try and do this at the start of your journey as you can often get stuck in traffic in rainy weather, which will increase your fuel consumption.
- You could also try a hydrophobic treatment on your windscreen to help repel water.
Visibility Is Key
Visibility is a priority, especially in heavy rain, so it's important to do all these following things whilst driving to make your journey safer.
Watching your speed and driving a little slower than normal is so important, as you'll have less traction on the road from the wet weather. This will also mean you need more space to brake, so make sure to keep more distance between you and the cars in front of you.
To increase visibility within your car, use the air conditioning to reduce condensation. Also, use your headlights on the dipped beam and avoid using fog lights if they're not needed, as you'll dazzle other drivers around you.
Be aware of your surroundings
Although you can't control how safe other drivers are being, there are some things to watch out for when driving in the rain.
Fast moving vehicles and lorries can create a lot of spray from the water on the road, and this can reduce your visibility. This is where dipped beams and driving more carefully will come in handy, so that you're aware of hazards before they cause accidents. You should also keep in mind the spray that you'll be making on the road and be considerate near pedestrians and cyclists.
Also, some drivers may not be driving safely, so it's important to not be pressured by other road users, especially in bad weather conditions where you need to focus. If there are drivers around you that are putting you at risk, it's better to pull over in a safe location and then continue your journey afterwards.
Driving through deeper water
Huge puddles of standing water on the roads are really common in heavy rain. Driving too fast through them can be dangerous and cause damage to your car, so it's good to know what you can do to safely get through them.
- If you see a large puddle on the road, adjust your speed to one that's safe. This will ensure you maintain contact with the road, improving safety.
- You could also avoid driving through them where possible, but only do this when it's safe to do so.
- If you begin to experience aquaplaning, lift off the accelerator, keep your steering wheel straight, and stay calm. Don't stamp on the brake, as this can cause the car to lose control altogether.
Fords and extremely deep puddles
- Size it up first. If the water is too deep, just make your life easier and find another route around it.
- If you can safely drive through it, drop to a lower gear and keep your engine revs up. A lower gear will help keep your momentum going, so you can get through the puddle without flooding your engine.
- Now you're safely on the other side, pause for a moment to let any extra water drain away, especially if the water was quite deep.
- You should also be aware that grip levels on the road ahead may be reduced as water from other cars has been dropped along the road.
Breaking down in the rain
Breaking down can be stressful enough even without heavy rain. It's also more common to break down in wet weather, as the water can cause issues with engines and electrical systems in cars. But if you do happen to break down in the rain, don't panic and just remember these key tips.
- Keep the bonnet closed. If it's raining heavily, it's best to have your bonnet closed, as it will help avoid the electrical systems in your car from getting wet while you wait for assistance.
- If the engine has shut down after driving through water, you will need to have your car inspected by a professional. Don't attempt to restart the car, as this can lead to engine damage.
- Most importantly, keep your hazard lights on and make sure other cars on the road can see you, as their visibility will also be reduced from the rain.
Staying safe in the rain
Driving in the rain can be daunting, but with these handy tips, you should feel much more prepared for the next time you need to brave the wet weather.
For more car maintenance information and handy driving guides, go to our blog section, which is regularly updated with new information and advice.