Driving in the rain can be both scary and dangerous, and it is important to take wet weather seriously when you are on the road.
There are lots of things you can do to make driving in the rain safer, including being prepared by making sure your car is ready and ensuring you can always see properly.
But most importantly, you have to drive according to the conditions and adjust a few of your habits to avoid sliding, skidding, or being involved in a collision.
Below are some tips that can keep you safe when you are driving while it is raining.
- Keep your car clean and well maintained.
Keep your windows clean and clear. Being able to see properly is key to driving safely at any time, especially when visibility is already reduced because of rain.
To improve your visibility, clean the inside and outside of the windows regularly to remove dirt, dust, mud, smoke, fingerprints, grime, and other materials.
If your windows fog up, turn on the air conditioning or cold air in the car and aim the vents at the windows.
- Maintain your lights
Take your car to a mechanic to have your headlights adjusted properly if you have never done this. This will ensure your headlights are pointing in the right direction, make it easier to see, and prevent you from blinding other drivers.
Check regularly to make sure none of your lights have burnt out, and replace dead lights immediately. This includes headlights, brake lights, turn signals, tail lights, and running lights.
Keep the light covers on your car clean so that dust and dirt don’t reduce their efficacy.
- Maintain your tyres
Tyre tread is what allows your tyres to adhere to the road, which is why it’s so dangerous to drive with bald tyres. Without the right traction, you can skid and slide easily in wet conditions.
New tyres generally have about 10/32 of an inch of tread. Tyres should be replaced when the tread gets to 4/32 of an inch. Tyres with 2/32 of an inch or less of tread are unsafe and should not be used.
- Turn on your windshield wipers while driving
You can also improve your visibility in wet conditions by ensuring that your wipers are up to the job, and by using the right washer fluid.
Use a washer fluid that will cause water to bead up and drip off your windshield, rather than sticking to it and blocking your view.
- Slow down while on the road
Adjust your speed while driving in the rain. Wet roads reduce your traction, and slowing down reduces the chances of you skidding out, and will give you more time to react to emergencies.
- Stay focused
While driving in the rain, you should keep your eyes on the road at all times. You can stay focused by paying attention to what drivers and pedestrians are doing around you, turning off the radio, and ignoring your cell phone and other electronic devices. You should also cease any conversations you were having with passengers.
- Turn your lights on
When it starts to rain, turn on your headlights immediately, regardless of whether it is day or night. Your headlights will make it easier for other drivers to see your car, and also help you see the road better.
- Drive with both hands on the wheel
You should always drive with both hands on the steering wheel because this gives you maximum control if you have to turn, swerve, or react quickly.
- Leave some gap behind the car in front of you
You should always leave some space between your car and the car in front of you. Not only does this give you more time to stop or adjust if necessary, but it also prevents reduced visibility caused by the spray from other cars.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes
Slamming on the brakes can cause you to slide forward, and you won’t be able to control the car.
- Take turns slowly
Whenever you have a turn coming up, signal early and start slowing down sooner than you would in good conditions. You should reduce the speed of your turns by about a third when it is raining.
- Pull over if necessary
Never be afraid to pull over to the side of the road if you don’t feel comfortable driving. If you can’t see the sides of the road, the cars in front of you, or your surroundings at a safe distance, pull over.