How to Drive Safely in the Rain: Tips for Your Car
Driving in the rain can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper safety precautions. While you can’t avoid driving in the rain altogether, there are a few steps you can take to stay safe when driving in wet weather. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road in the rain.
What are the risks of driving in the rain?
In the rain, your tyres will have less contact with the road than in dry weather. This may increase the risk of accident.
The main symptom of this loss of grip is hydroplaning, which is the loss of control of the vehicle and of the steering on a water-covered road. Hydroplaning (or aquaplaning) occurs at higher speeds when the amount of water on the road is too great to be removed by the tyre grooves, resulting in a total loss of grip. Hydroplaning is the main risk when driving on wet roads.
Rain modifies the perception of distances. Similarly, visibility conditions are made difficult by the lateral water splashes from overtaking vehicles. In addition, the fogging created by condensation can lead to an obstruction of your visibility.
Turn on the low beam in wet conditions and in case of heavy rain the front fog lights. Only turn on your rear fog lights in very heavy rain or foggy conditions when there is no visible vehicle behind you. We also advise you to have the windscreen wipers in perfect condition so that they can clear the water as quickly as possible to improve your visibility. Before setting off on a long journey, we advise you to check your windscreen wipers: it may rain on the way! You'll feel safer with clean windscreen wipers, as it will enable to remove water better and faster in case of heavy rain.
Turn on the vehicle's Air Conditioning to keep the windscreen (and all other glass) clear from mist.
What is the Stopping Distance in Rain?
When driving in rain, the stopping distance is increased due to the wet surface.
The stopping distance is the distance a vehicle takes to come to a complete stop once the brakes are applied. In wet weather, the stopping distance can increase by as much as double, meaning it can take twice as long for a vehicle to come to a stop. This is due to the reduced friction between the tire and the road surface.
Staying Safe in Wet Weather: Driving Tips for Rainy Conditions
As rain can dramatically reduce visibility and increase the risk of hydroplaning, knowing how to stay safe on the road when it's raining can help you anticipate and adopt the right behaviour. The following tips can help you drive safely and confidently in wet weather conditions.
Watch your speed
To reduce the risk of an accident, it is important to adjust your speed accordingly. Driving too fast in wet weather can cause your vehicle to lose traction and hydroplane, making it difficult to control. Additionally, the slower you go, the better your visibility will get.
What is the speed limit in the UK when it rains?
In the UK, the speed limit when driving in the rain is the same as the speed limit in normal conditions, unless otherwise indicated. Generally, the speed limit on motorways is 70 mph, on dual carriageways is 70 mph, on single carriageways is 60 mph, and on built-up areas is 30 mph. However, it is important to always keep an eye out for traffic signs, as the speed limit can change in certain areas.
Keep a safety distance between you and the car in front
When driving in the rain, it is important to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front. This is because it takes longer for your car to stop in wet weather. It is recommended to keep a distance of at least four seconds between the vehicle in front and your own, so you have time to react to any sudden changes in speed or direction.
So, when you are driving in wet conditions, you should reduce your speed and adapt the safety distances to allow for a greater braking distance.
What lights should you use on a wet motorway?
When driving on a wet motorway, it’s important to use your headlights to ensure that other road users can see you. It’s recommended that you use dipped headlights when driving in the rain, as this will provide you with the best visibility while still allowing other drivers to see you. You should also use fog lights if visibility is poor but remember to switch them off once visibility improves.
What should you do after driving through a flood?
Driving through a flood or large puddles could cause significant damage to your vehicle (tyres, engine, fluids, brakes, electrical systems, lights...). If you encounter a flooded road and have no choice but to drive through the water, you should check if your vehicle still works properly.
After driving through a flood, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the vehicle and the driver. This includes checking the brakes, tyres, and other components for any damage that could have been caused by the flood waters. It is also important to check the engine oil and other fluids to make sure they are still at the proper levels.
What precautions should you take when driving in the rain?
To maximize your safety, you can also opt for these little tips:
- Fill up your tank: as weather conditions cause accidents and slowdowns on the road, you will probably need more fuel than expected.
- Stay tuned to your radio to find out the safest route for you.
- Rain, if too heavy, can cause damage to your vehicle. If you break down, keep your bonnet closed and call a specialist.
We hope this article has caught your attention. At Point S, road safety is a top priority, in any rainy season, it is important to be as careful as possible.
For more advice, please consult our other articles and make an appointment with our Point S experts.