Any driving school worth it’s salt will give its students a fairly solid primer in driving through rainy or wet weather. The main thing here is, of course, that you will have less grip. However, to become adept at tackling wet roads (and wet weather), there is a lot more you can learn about the varied and complex intersections between our roadways and atmospheric moisture.
Moreover, wet weather can also mean poor visibility, longer braking times, and the danger of splashing pedestrians by speeding through big puddles. The latter here might not be the biggest disaster on the road, but it shows the different ways in which wet weather can make things difficult for motorists.
Valtir, a company producing various highway protection products, says that the problem is an evolving one – as are the solutions. Increased traffic on our roads – which has implications for longer braking times because roads are more crowded – would be one obvious example of how driving in wet weather, as a skill, is evolving. But highway maintenance is also constantly evolving, and roads are becoming safer and safer during wet weather for all motorists.
The reason why you (or any driver) should seek to expand your wet driving expertise is precisely because, despite all innovations, wet weather is still a killer. Downpours, in particular, are when we really see the evidence. Over half of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related, meaning that floods kill just as many drivers as pedestrians.
Of course, those are the extreme conditions, but they are not as farfetched as you might think. For example, the flood experience normally involves vehicles driving over seriously waterlogged roads. Nevertheless, that’s something that can happen on any road when the rain is actually failing and there is a constant supply of water replacing that which has just run off. To put it another way, it doesn’t necessarily take a flood to make roads perilously wet.
Wet Weather Driving Tips
So, once you are actually out on the road in wet conditions, here follows some of the most useful tips to maximize safety:
Drive a Clean Car
The reason for this is visibility. If you have been driving for any length of time, then you are probably already more than familiar with how bad visibility is during rain. Add to this impairment arising from your car’s cleanliness, and you could be in for disaster.
Know the Roads
When the weather is seriously wet, you should avoid driving over any road with which you are unfamiliar. An unexpected turn that might surprise you when the weather is dry could lead to quite a different outcome when there’s surface moisture to make the car skid more. And in that poor visibility, you might not even see it coming.
Use Your Lights
but not your brights! Too bright light can bounce off the surface water and cause irritation and visibility reduction for yourself and other drivers. During the daytime least, lights are there to make you visible. Turn on all four and identify to other drivers the dimensions of your vehicle.
This advice is worth stressing. It is all to do with your compromised braking ability and the increased chance of unexpected circumstances. By slowing down, you can mitigate the effects of these, having as much space to break as if it were dry.
Driving in wet weather is a skill to be learned. As a final point, it might be worth pointing out that one of the fundamental parts of that skill is knowing when not to drive at all.