6 Helpful Tips for Driving in the Rain

Here in Northern Ireland (NI) we get our fair share of wet, rainy weather, so it's good to know how to stay safe while driving in the rain.

1. Slow Down.

Just like driving in snow, driving in rain can be just as dangerous.

- Slowing down during wet driving conditions can is critical to reducing a car’s chance of aquaplaning. Aquaplaning is caused by driving too fast into surface water. When the tyre tread cannot channel away enough water, the tyre(s) lose contact with the road and your car will float on a wedge of water.

- Aquaplaning can be avoided by reducing speed in wet conditions.

- Having the correct tyre pressure and tread depth will maximise your tyres’ ability to maintain their road grip.

- If it happens, ease off the accelerator and brakes until your speed drops sufficiently for the car tyres to make contact with the road again.

- DO NOT turn your stearing wheel until the tyres have made contact with the road, otherwise this can cause the car to spin.

- At speeds as low as 30 miles per hour, new tyres can still lose some contact with the tarmac.

2. Check Tyres.

- Make sure tyres have enough tread depth and are properly inflated. Proper inflation and safe tread depth provide your vehicle better traction and manoeuvrability on the road.

- Tyres with worn and shallow tread are much more likely to aquaplane on wet pavement, robbing your vehicle’s braking ability and steering control.

- Check the tread depth or come in and we will check your tread depth for you.


3. Leave Extra Room.

- Allow extra stopping distance between cars by increasing the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front you.

- This also means beginning to slow down early when stopping at junctions, making turns or approaching traffic.

- Remember in the rain you need about TWICE your normal braking distance.


4. Avoid Cruise Control.

- In wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle increases. Cancelling cruise control requires extra time to push a button or engage the brakes both are dangerous on slippery roads and when visibility may be reduced.

5. See and Be seen - Use Your Headlights.

- Make sure your headlights are on to help you see better and so other vehicles see you.

- Avoid using your high beams because the extra light will reflect off the rain could blind other drivers and may cause more of a distraction for you.

- If you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance while driving, pull off the road as far as you can and wait for the rain to ease up. Make sure to turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers.



6. Be Careful Where There is Flooding

- Avoid the deepest water – which is usually near the kerb.

- Don’t attempt to cross if the water seems too deep.

- If you are not sure of the water’s depth, look for an alternative route.

- If you decide to risk it, drive slowly but with high revs. To accomplish this, keep the clutch released roughly halfway while in first gear – this will stop the engine from stalling.

- Be aware of the bow wave from approaching vehicles – operate an informal ‘give way’ with approaching vehicles.

- Remember to test your brakes when you are through the flood.