So you’re out and about, the grey starts to block out the sun, and you see those drops. Or, worse yet, you’re driving at night and the sky decides to dump buckets of water onto the road, and now you’re plainly stuck driving in a horrid rain.
Bottom line, driving in the rain is the exact opposite of fun, and there just isn’t a darn thing any one of us can do about it.
Luckily, there are some tips you can learn in driving classes to keep you safe, but I want to share them with you here so you can have them if, heaven forbid, tomorrow is the day you’re stuck out there in a storm. 5 tips for driving in the rain are:
1. Slow it down and leave some room – This is the first rule of driving in the rain, and the one that driving classes are going to push home the most. Driving at high speeds in the rain makes you susceptible to slipping and sliding, and if you should need to break quickly, you’re likely to slam into the car in front. One of the best things you can do when it starts raining is take it slow and leave double the amount of room you normally would, if you can, between yourself and the car in front of you.
2. Avoid cruise control – Cruise control is great in dry conditions, but it’s anything but great in wet ones. While driving in the rain, you’ll want to slow down primarily by letting off the gas, and you can’t do this when cruise control is on.
3. Go with the skid – If you feel your car beginning to slip or skid, the worst thing you can do is put on the brakes. Sure, you’ll want to, absolutely, but it will only further the slide and cause you to lose control even more. What you’ll want to do is calmly let off the gas, lightly pump the brake if you can, and keep looking and steering in the direction you wish to go.
4. Always keep your windshield wipers fresh – Your windshield wipers are what are standing between your being able to see, and your being essentially blind while behind the wheel during a storm. It’s always a great idea to make sure your windshield wipers are always kept in tip top condition, so you’re never stuck unable to see.
5. Turn on traction-control – If your car features traction-control, turn it on. This feature is tailor made to stop cars from slipping on wet surfaces, and it can mean the difference between skidding out of control and staying on track.
How Rain Effects Driving And Road Conditions
We cannot deny that driving in bad weather conditions is a common cause of car accidents. And out of all bad weather-related crashes, those associated with driving in the rain lead the count.
We already discussed what you can do to stay safe when driving in the rain, but does driving in rainy weather really affect your driving skills?
Anyone that has driven in the rain can attest to the fact that it can get pretty scary. In this particular instance, no amount of experience can really make every day driving during a rain storm a positive or comfortable situation, but it’s something you’ll find yourself having to deal with all the same.
To understand why learning proper rain driving techniques is so important, you’ll first need to learn what rain does to the roadways and what types of road conditions it’s known to cause.
First, rain can really limit your visibility, which is pretty important while you’re on the road. On a clear day, you can see a great distance in front of you and in all directions, but seeing even 10 or so feet in front of the car can be a real challenge if it’s raining hard enough.
This lack of visibility is one of the big reasons driving slowly in the rain is incredibly important, as you’re giving yourself more time to prepare for those things you may not be able to see. A disabled vehicle in the road? An animal? A pedestrian? You’re going to see none of it if you’re driving too quickly with limited visibility.
Next, rain brings with it a lack of pavement friction, so don’t expect your brakes to work as they would on dry ground. It goes without saying that rain is slippery, and when it makes the ground slippery, we’re not able to come to a stop as we normally would.
Going at a decent speed, then trying to hit the brakes to come to a fast stop, will result in skidding and sliding, which can cause you to wind up into another car, into a tree, or into a ditch. This is why you want to avoid braking while driving in the rain if possible, and to use your traction control if your vehicle offers it.
Driving in the rain at night amplifies all of the problems that rainy roadways cause, and seeing, controlling your car in the event of a slide, and driving safely become even more difficult. If you’re driving at night and in the rain, you should adhere to all rain driving tips precisely to keep optimally safe!
Driving in the Rain and Travel Delays
It’s always better to get there late than to never get there at all, and this is something that should be remembered while driving in the rain. A very common part of a rainy roadway is travel delays, and these delays can leave you feeling frustrated or angry.
The answer is not to drive aggressively and place others on the road at risk, but to take it slow and go with the flow, knowing that you’ll get to your destination when you get there…but you’ll get there safely!
Driving safely in the rain may take some practice, but online drivers ed can really help to prepare young people with the strategies they can use in effective and safe rain driving. Teen inexperience is a big cause of traffic accidents, but the situations, like wet roadways, that can really cause these accidents can be better prepared for with such courses.
Driving in the Rain and Technology
To help drivers gain more control when driving in the rain, modern cars have been equipped with an electronic stability system (ESP). When turning a corner or braking sharply, the ESP technology will automatically activate your car’s brakes to help you steer the vehicle in the right direction. This is extremely helpful.
Meanwhile, advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, are also found in most modern vehicles. They can automate some limited driving tasks such as adaptive cruise control and stay centered in one’s lane. Its auto emergency braking features contribute to significantly reducing rear-end crashes.
However, some studies show that these systems that are supposed to be helping your car automatically brake and stay within its lane are significantly impaired by rain.
Researchers from the American Automobile Association found that automatic emergency braking, in several instances during testing conducted in simulated moderate-to-heavy rainfall, failed to detect stopped vehicles ahead, resulting in crashes. They also found its lane-keeping technology fared badly.
With that said, even if these technologies exist to help us be safe, drivers should stay vigilant even with these systems in place. Remember, you can never rely on them completely when driving in the rain.