9 tips for driving in the rain

Driving in the rain can be one of the scarier and more dangerous events for a driver. Most traffic laws and habits are developed when weather conditions are ideal, dry, and sunny. So, how can you stay safe even when the sun refuses to shine? Take a look.

9 Tips for driving in the rain.

1. Keep an eye on your car before it rains.

Visibility is key on rainy days. So, make sure that your car’s brake lights, turn signals, and headlights are all operational before you’re in limited visibility conditions. Check your windshield wipers every so often by using your wiper fluid. Make sure they wipe the fluid away cleanly and without streaking. Replace them if necessary.

You should also check your tire treads and air pressure. You need to make sure that your tires still have good tread depth, and your tires should be filled according to the proper PSI noted in your car’s manual. Both are vital to maintaining traction with the road, especially in wet weather.

2. Turn on your headlights and windshield wipers.

If it’s already raining and even if it’s during the day, turn on your headlights before you leave your parking spot. Make sure that you can see at least 500-1000 feet in front of you.

While headlights also allow other drivers to see you, avoid using your brights while you’re within 500 feet of other drivers. The bright light will reflect off of their side mirrors and the rainwater itself. This can cause the light to refract and spread into a wall of white, which can blind other drivers.

Be sure to turn on your windshield wipers and adjust the speed according to how hard it’s raining as well.

3. Slow down.

Water makes everything more slippery, and remember, your tires are made of rubber. Even with great tire treads, cars can hydroplane at speeds as low as 35 mph. So, give your tires more time to displace the water under them by driving more slowly and carefully in the rain, especially when stopping at an intersection, making a turn, or executing another traffic maneuver.

4. Give other cars more space.

In the same manner, slippery roads mean that it can take your car more time to come to a complete stop. In traffic, that means that you’ll need more distance to stop behind a car if you have to brake. So, give yourself some personal space.

When driving in the rain, it's important to slow down and increase your following distance.

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5. Avoid braking hard and turning sharply.

Slamming on your brakes too hard and too quickly could cause your tires to lock and your car to skid. Make sure you have enough room to slow down gradually if you’re stopping behind another car or turning.

6. Drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you.

If you can help it, try to drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. Their tires have already displaced a ton of water for you! So, the road can be less slick along their tracks and give your tires more traction with those parts of the road.

7. Know how to handle hydroplaning.

If your wheels do lose traction with the road, it’s important to think through your next few actions instead of relying on your driving impulses.

  • Don’t slam on the brakes. It may be an instinct but doing so could make you lose control of the car even more.
  • Take your foot off the gas. Trying to accelerate through water won’t help you regain traction.
  • Hold the wheel steady and steer INTO the direction that your car is skidding. Trying to fight the direction of the skid could make you lose control of the car more.
  • When your tires reconnect with the road, regain control of the car and slowly continue driving or pull over.
  • Take a minute to breathe and recover if you need to.

8. Avoid standing water.

Even if a puddle doesn’t look that deep, try your best to avoid driving over standing water. Remember – cars can hydroplane. If you can’t avoid the puddle, reduce your speed as you drive towards it so that your tires have enough time to gain traction with the road under the standing water.

9. Postpone any trips that aren’t absolutely necessary.

If it’s okay to leave your grocery shopping or visit to a friend’s place for another day, go ahead and postpone the trip. Sometimes driving in the rain is unavoidable. People have work or school, events they have to attend, or it can start raining while you’re already out and about. But if you can help it, it’s best to avoid driving in the rain altogether.

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Driving in the rain can be a nuisance at best and extremely dangerous at worst. But having the tools to get to and from your destination safely can make rainy seasons a breeze. In any non-ideal driving conditions, it’s important to stay focused and aware of your driving behaviors and the driving of others around you. Even if you don’t have a newer car with tons of modern safety features, habits like checking your car’s equipment and not driving distracted play an even bigger role in keeping you and other drivers safe during a storm.

Having the right car insurance can also play a huge role in protecting you while driving in the rain. If something happens, it’s important to know that you and your car are properly covered. Our insurance professionals can help you find the right auto insurance that’s tailored to your needs, rain or shine. We also know exactly how to save you money on the coverage you need. To make sure you’re not missing out on great car insurance coverage for a great rate, call us today, fill out our easy online form, or start your quotes directly with an agent through LiveChat.