5 Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain

5 Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain https://learningcentre.statefarm.ca/auto/safety/5-tips-for-driving-safely-in-the-rain/ bb3 Mar 15, 2013

By Staff Writer

  • Email
  • Print

Singing in the rain is fun. But driving? For some people, it’s anxiety producing—especially as the risk for collisions increases as weather conditions deteriorate. Being behind the wheel and a rain-splattered windshield doesn’t have to be a white-knuckled, nerve-racking experience. Brent Praeter, a supervising instructor at D&D Driving School, Inc. in Kettering, Ohio, and a member of the Driving School Association of the Americas, offers these tips for driving in a downpour.

  1. Think. “Many people drive subconsciously, out of habit,” says Praeter. “And when it rains, they often don’t adjust their thinking.” When conditions are less than ideal, drivers need to stay alert and focused on what’s going on around them.
  2. Turn on those headlights. In Canada, it’s the law in all provinces and territories to turn headlights on when visibility is low or when conditions warrant. Praeter says that well-working wipers and relatively new (not threadbare) tires also are must-haves when driving in rain.
  3. Beware of hydroplaning. That’s the technical term for what occurs when your tires are getting more traction on the layer of water on the road than on the road itself—the result is that your car begins to slide uncontrollably. It’s easy enough to hydroplane: All you need is .21 centimetres of rain on the road and a speed of more than 56 kilometres per hour. If you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator slowly and steer straight until you regain control.
  4. Turn off cruise control. Ironically, on rain or snow covered surfaces, cruise control may cause you to lose control. You might think it’ll help you stay at one steady speed, but if you hydroplane while you’re in cruise control, your car will actually go faster.
  5. Slow down. Speed limit signs are designed for cars to go the fastest speed possible under ideal conditions, says Praeter, "and that means when you have little traffic and good visibility.” That’s hardly the environment you’re driving in when it’s raining, so let up on the accelerator and allow more time to get to your destination.

State Farm® has more tips for driving in severe weather—check them out now and you’ll be better prepared for less-than-ideal conditions.