Advice for driving in the rain without fear
Driving in heavy rain can be difficult and dangerous, so it is important to be prepared and find out the biggest problems that you could encounter. On very wet roads, the vehicle could lose traction and be hard to control at high speeds and when braking harshly – but that is not the only risk. Therefore, here are some tips for driving in the rain as safely as possible.
Driving in the rain: the main risks
Not everyone loves taking to the wheel in bad weather, but being afraid of driving in the rain is totally understandable given the potential risks. The first hazard when the roads are wet is definitely the slippery tarmac. Rain reduces the tyres’ coefficient of friction by up to twice the amount compared to dry roads, which translates to a greater risk of skidding and losing control of the vehicle. Even the first drops of rain, combined with the possible presence of other substances on the tarmac, such as oil, fuel or plastic, can create a kind of slippery film that can make your tyres lose grip.
If you are driving in the rain, poor visibility is another hazard that should not be underestimated: if the weather conditions are particularly bad, the windscreen wipers may not be able to remove all the water from the windscreen and it could become more difficult to make out the outline of vehicles and other objects on the road. In addition to all this, there is also a risk that the windows will steam up due to the high humidity and the temperature difference between outside and inside the cabin.
Aquaplaning, the phenomenon that reduces grip on the tarmac
Another factor to take into consideration is aquaplaning, the phenomenon that occurs when water collects in front of the tyres faster than it is dispersed by the vehicle. The result is that the tyres skid on the tarmac, floating, which makes it almost impossible to control the car, increasing the risk of skidding off the road or hitting other vehicles.
The risk of aquaplaning is even greater where there are pools of stagnant water or puddles and that risk is increased if the vehicle is travelling at higher speeds. Therefore, our first tip to minimise the risk is to drive as slowly as possible according to the level of rain. Also, because water tends to collect at the edge of the carriageway, it may be better to drive as close to the centre as possible.
Ensuring that your tyres are always in excellent condition is another aspect that can improve their grip on the road, so it is always advisable to check the state of your tyres before winter and, if necessary, have them replaced. You can find full details of your tyres’ wet grip on the tyre label.
One of the many advantages of driving a hire car is that tyre changes are always scheduled, there is no chance of a delay and you know that you are driving a car in perfect condition.
How to drive in the rain: our tips
When it is raining, it is good to follow advice on which driving methods to adopt, based on common sense and basic traffic rules.
Firstly, when you are driving in the rain, it is wise to reduce your speed and increase the safe distance from other cars. Due to the risks described above, it is obvious that the basic rule to follow is to slow down and not brake too hard when approaching other cars because the tyres could easily lose grip. Slow driving and gentle braking is, therefore, the first step in driving safely in the rain.
Next, it is very important to keep the windows dry and stop them from steaming up, for example by turning on the air conditioning or dehumidifier, which will reduce the moisture in the air and improve visibility. Also, pay attention to your windscreen wipers, which should be in good condition and should be replaced when they are worn or not performing correctly.
When driving in the rain, you must also switch on the headlights to help you to see other cars on the road more easily, even in daylight. If visibility is particularly poor, it may be best to use the fog lights.