Heavy rain will always make it harder to drive to some degree, and although the technology in cars is always improving to help prevent accidents it still mainly comes down to the style of the driver.
Heavy rain is one of the main contributors to road collisions all over the world and it’s not always possible to avoid driving in these conditions completely.
Safety starts before you even get in the car and we’ve outlined several key ways that you can improve your driving in the rain and decrease the risk of being involved in an accident.
1. Check Your Tire Tread
Tyre condition is often overlooked but this can be the difference between braking efficiently and not because they are your final connection that your vehicle has to the road. You need to regularly check your tyres to ensure that they meet the optimal regulations.
You should think about replacing your tyres once the tread reaches 2mm and also the air pressure should be set to the manufacturers specified level. This will ensure that your braking system is working as well as possible.
2. Avoid Unnecessary Journeys
The best way to avoid accidents in the rain is by not driving at all. It’s different if you’re already on the road or you need to go and pick up the kids from school and you’re already used to driving in these intense conditions. But if it isn’t an important journey then ask yourself if you really need to make the journey.
3. Brake in a Straight Line
The majority of drivers already know this but we’ll explain why. If you apply the brakes in the middle of turning a corner, then this can cause the car to spin especially if your speed is too high. Ideally you should have already completed your braking before you have reached the turn.
4. Lower Your Speed
You should increase the time between you and the car in front to at least five seconds to give you greater room to break suddenly. You shouldn’t feel forced to drive to the listed speed limit and don’t be afraid to drive significantly below it if it makes you feel more in control of your vehicle.
Using cruise control should not be done on wet roads because the automatic acceleration can cause you to lose control of your vehicle when traction is regained within your tires. So keep your car under manual control throughout your whole journey in the rain.
On wet roads visibility is significantly lower which makes stopping distance around double compared to dry roads in the day. By giving this added stopping distance this will make you a safer driver.
5. Familiarize Yourself With The Route
Different roads can withstand different types of conditions so you’re not used to the roads on your route then you’ll need to take extra care and caution especially during a storm or heavy rain. If your route takes you through a low-lying bridge then this may be prone to flooding so be sure you no alternative routes in case your original route becomes blocked.
6. Avoid Driving On The Side Of The Road
Although this isn’t always possible due to being on a narrow lane, but you should try to avoid driving near the sides of the road. So, if you’re on the freeway then aim for the middle lane.
The reason behind this is because when roads are built the highest point is in the middle of the road. This is so when it rains, water can easily run off into the drains on the edge of the road.
If you’re driving in heavy rain, then you want to avoid standing water so you want to stay in the middle of the road. Driving through standing wat can lead to your car hydroplaning and you losing control as it skids.
The centre won’t be completely dry but it’s going to be the driest part of the road making it easier to battle against the conditions.
7. Avoid Foggy Windows
When it rains, this causes humidity to increase so you may realise that your vehicles quickly steam up and become foggy which makes it harder to see through when you’re driving. Most cars ventilation systems have a function that allow you to reduce the amount of fog that appears on the windows and windshield.
If this fog begins to severely impair your view, then don’t be afraid to pull over and wait until your visibility improves. Running your air conditioning also keeps it in good condition rather than only using it in the summer months.
8. Clean Your Windshield
How often have you seen filthy windshields, whether it’s your neighbours, in car parks or even your own windshield. Make sure your windshield is clear of any bugs, debris and dirt so you can see out.
You should also be using your windshield wipers to clear the rain and it hits your windshield. Adjusting the speed of the wipers will also ensure that if the rain get heavier you can more the rain off quicker.
Wiper blades collect grime, dirt and eventually wear out which then results in leaving streaks and patches on the windshield. You can easily clean them by applying alcohol to them. Eventually you will need to replace them when they start having chunks missing and permanent damage is made to them.
9. Stay Calm If You Skid
Skidding can happen to drivers of any level but the most important thing to remember is to stay calm and not panic.
The first thing you need to do if this happens is to keep your eyes on the road ahead and steer into the direction of the way that you want to go. You then need to avoid slamming hard on the brakes because this will make it harder to control as the balance will be affected. Slamming the brakes will not make you maintain control although it will be your first instinct to do so.
You need to be extra cautious in wet weather and drive slightly slower whilst avoiding sudden braking or sharp turning.