6 Safety Tips: How to Drive in the Rain
We’ve all been there, the sun is shining and the day is beautiful — right up until the moment you get in your car to leave and it starts pouring. Wet roads and heavy rain result in some of the most hazardous driving conditions imaginable. In fact, you’re 80% more likely to experience an accident in rainy conditions than when the sky is clear. That’s a pretty big jump! That’s why learning how to drive in the rain is a vital skill, as it could save your life and the lives of those around you.
When you’re driving in the rain, safety practices are of the utmost importance. In order to keep you safe on slick roads, let’s explore six essential tips for driving in the rain.
The Dangers of Driving in Rain
You already know that when driving in rain, you must be more vigilant than usual to avoid the risk of an accident. But did you know that fatal accidents increase by 34% when it rains? And, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 70% of weather-related car accidents are caused by slick or wet pavement, and rain causes 46% of those car accidents.
Let’s drive (pun intended!) the point home a little by looking at the specifics of why it’s so dangerous. Rainy conditions result in:
- Lowered visibility
- Greater vehicular stopping times
- Poor driving from other people on the road
- Hydroplaning and decreased tire traction
- Hidden hazards, such as potholes
- Lack of control over vehicle
- Lowered roadside awareness
Any of these hazards could lead to disaster for you and other vehicles in your vicinity. Exercising caution when driving in the rain is critical for a safe journey home, but how can you practice safe driving when it’s cats and dogs outside?
Driving in the Rain: Safety Tips
Learning how to drive in the rain requires quite a bit of extra attention compared to those sunny days. When you’re driving while it’s raining, tips for safety on the road can be (literally) a lifesaver. Keep these best practices in mind next time you’re driving in the rain.
1. Maintain Your Vehicle
While this tip doesn’t necessarily happen out on the road, you’ll be glad you followed it once you’re behind the wheel. Regularly check your washer fluid and windshield wipers, monitor and maintain your tire health, and make sure you have your brakes inspected regularly. Proper maintenance of your vehicle keeps you safe in all driving conditions, but they’re especially important for wet weather.
2. Know The Road
Surprises and unexpected conditions present danger on the road — especially in wet conditions. When driving in rain, you must be aware of the roads. This doesn’t necessarily mean knowing where you’re going (although this is helpful, as you won’t be distracted with a GPS), it means understanding the environment you’re in. Maybe you’re driving in a hilly area, or the composition of the road is unique to your location. For example, in southern states, the asphalt is less compressed, meaning the road could be slick even if it looks completely dry.
3. Avoid High Beams
When it rains, the sky darkens and it can quickly become difficult to see. Some drivers will switch on their high beams, but this is actually even more dangerous because it makes your vision worse. Switching on your high beams leads to further reflections off not only the wet asphalt, but they also shine directly into the rain, which reflects the bright light of high beams straight back into your eyes. Not to mention, you’re blinding those around you. When driving in heavy rain, drivers should use their regular headlights.
4. Slow Down
This one probably doesn’t surprise you, everyone knows speeding is dangerous. But speeding in the rain presents a whole new level of risk, due to slowed reaction time, reduced tire traction, and lowered visibility. That’s why the number one piece of advice for how to drive in the rain is to slow down. Ignore the posted speed limits, these are based on the maximum safe speed in perfect weather. Even in light rain, it helps to reduce your speed and keep a safe distance between you and the cars around you.
5. Watch the Road Markings
Sometimes heavy rain creates deep puddles that settle on the road, leading to the road markings disappearing. We don’t need to tell you that not being able to see the road is incredibly dangerous. However, despite this, drivers often underestimate the depth of water. Even three inches of water is enough to cause a car to hydroplane and lose control. So how do you know if the road is safe? A good rule of thumb is this: If you can no longer see the road markings, then the water is too deep for safe driving.
6. Learn How to Handle Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is one of the biggest risks to driving in the rain. It’s also incredibly scary, meaning a lot of drivers panic when they feel their tires lose contact with the road. When driving on wet roads, you should be prepared and educated in how to navigate the situation. So how do you handle hydroplaning?
- Slow down and remain calm.
- While your instinct may be to slam on your brakes, do not do this. Slamming on brakes can cause your vehicle to spin out of control. Instead, lightly pump on the brake pedal.
- Steer into the direction of the skid, even if it’s not the direction you want to go. Do not panic and jerk your steering wheel in the opposite direction. Steering “into the skid” helps your tires regain traction with the ground so you can regain control of your vehicle.
- It might take several adjustments for you to get your car out of hydroplaning, so don’t panic if the first try doesn’t work. Once you regain traction, slowly pull over to a safe place on the side of the road to get your bearings and take a few deep breaths!
Remember what we said about speeding earlier? Typically, hydroplaning is caused by going too fast, so we’ll say it again: slow down.
Find Peace of Mind with Safety Restore
Knowing how to drive in the rain in a safe, attentive and careful manner is crucial. However, even if we’re a perfect driver, we can’t control what happens on the road — especially in rainy conditions.
If you’ve been in an accident, you need the peace of mind in knowing that your vehicle has been restored to tip-top shape. Safety Restore is the industry leader in post-accident restoration, including airbag module resets, seat belt repairs, and webbing replacement. We make sure your car is safe for the roads, whatever the weather.
To find out more about our services, contact Safety Restore today.