Drivers should be on a constant lookout for any extreme changes to the weather, and unfortunately for UK residents, rain is unavoidable. The Met Office states that nine out of 10 weather-related deaths and serious road injuries occur when it’s raining, so it’s vital that precautions are taken when navigating through these tough conditions. To make sure that you’re protected on the roads, whatever the weather, we’ll be sharing our best tips on how to drive safely in the rain.
Why is driving in the rain dangerous?
Without being aware of how to drive safely in the rain, you could risk harming yourself, your passengers, and other road users. When driving in these conditions, visibility is reduced, reaction times are slower, and there’s a risk of hydroplaning; this happens when your tyres lose traction with the road, making it harder to steer and easier to lose control.
How to drive safely in the rain
Wait to see if the weather improves
If the weather is particularly bad and you're anxious about driving, you could always rearrange the trip to a time or date when the conditions won’t be as harsh. For those who are unable to do this, worry not. There are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure that you stay safe on the road - it will just require a bit of extra planning.
Charge your mobile phone
Before setting off on your journey (for those who can’t rearrange) make sure to charge your mobile phone. If you do end up getting caught up in traffic (which is more likely when driving in these conditions) you’ll need to let others know that you’re running late.
Make sure to stock up on fuel to avoid getting stuck in traffic with an empty tank. Traffic jams are more common when it’s raining, due to an increased number of cars breaking down or colliding.
Stay up-to-date with the radio
The radio will inform you of any road closures, accidents or floods, allowing you to change your route and work out an alternate solution.
Reduce your speed
If you do decide to drive in the rain, take things slow and steady. Although it’s essential that you continuously adhere to the speed limit, you should take extra care to drive slower in these conditions. This is because your vehicle’s reaction time will be much slower.
Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
Alongside watching your speed, always leave plenty of space (ideally several car lengths) between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Your stopping distance will increase in these conditions, so be wary.
Turn your headlights on
Driving in the rain will decrease your visibility, so remember to turn your headlights on to ensure that you can keep an eye on the roads, alongside allowing other road users to clearly see your vehicle.
What beam should you use when driving in the rain?
To avoid dazzling other drivers, it’s recommended that you leave your low beam headlights on when driving in the rain. If the road is completely clear and you’re driving when it’s dark, use full beam headlights if there’s no streetlights.
Use windshield wipers
To prevent rain water collecting on your windshield - which will reduce visibility - turn on your windshield wipers, even in light rain. You should be able to adjust your wipers to clear away moisture buildup between light mist and heavy downpours - so change the setting when needed to ensure your safety on the roads.
Don’t brake too hard
Your braking distance will be increased on wet roads, so make sure that you prepare yourself to stop early. Do this by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you would usually, avoiding using cruise control, and pay close attention to the vehicle in front to ensure that you’re leaving plenty of room.
Take care when driving through water
Driving through puddles of water could lead to hydroplaning - which is one of the most common car accidents that occur when it’s raining. To avoid skidding and losing control of your vehicle, steer around these areas or change lanes if you need to.
What should you do if your car hydroplanes?
If hydroplaning does occur, stay calm. Take your foot off the accelerator in a controlled manner, steering in the direction you want your car to go. Do not slam on your brakes or make a sudden turn.
Keep your car ventilated
Due to increased humidity levels, it’s likely that your windows will start to get foggy - this is because rain leads to increased humidity levels. Your vehicle should be equipped with a ventilation system that aims to reduce this, but if you are no longer able to see through your windows, pull over so you can give them a wipe.
Check your vehicle’s equipment
Ensure that your vehicle, and all of its components, are in good working order before setting off on your journey. Check the headlights, tail lights, windscreen wipers and the tread of your tires; tires that are balding will reduce traction on wet roads. For vehicles that are in need of some TLC, we have a range of used car parts available at a competitive price, which are compatible with a range of makes and models.
Whether you need to kit your vehicle out with all of the gear you need to stay safe on the roads, or you’ve got a car on your hands that needs to be disposed of, our used car parts and scrapping service aim to make your life easier. Get in touch with a friendly member of our team today to stay protected on the roads, whatever the weather.