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Tips for Driving More Safely in Inclement Weather

POR: Alex Perrone

driving in the rain

When you drive in the rain, you aren’t just limiting your visibility; you are also risking your level of control on the road. Driving in the rain is notoriously difficult and dangerous. Even without traffic, road conditions are less than ideal for tires and handling but it is also hard to see any potential hazards.

If you are going to be driving in particularly rainy weather, the best thing you can do is plan ahead and pick up some safe habits. Today on ShopTalk we’re going over 6 really easy ways to drive safely when things get wet outside.

Check your Tires

check tires

All car tires have treads to create grip on asphalt. Sadly over time treads get used and are made to wear and become less effective. The treads actually channel away water and dirt to make contact with the ground. Water gets in the way of these, physically speaking. On a wet road you are more likely to slip or spin. That is why it is incredibly important to check your tires and make sure your treads are deep enough.

Inspect your Wipers                                                                                      

check wipers

Thanks to windshield wipers, driving is not like swimming without goggles. However over time, wiper blades, which are made from rubber, end up collecting grime and wear out. That leads to streaks or inconsistent patches on the windshield. Rubbing alcohol makes it easy to clean these but if there are cracks or chunks missing, that means you need to replace them.

Aim the Headlights Correctly

check headlights

Rain most immediately affects visibility so you need to do everything in your power to make is easier to see other drivers. Turn on your headlights. It makes you more noticeable, is legally required in most states and lets you see a little further ahead.

Basically just remember that every time you need your wipers on, you need to have your headlights on too.

Minimize the Possibility of Hydroplaning


Driving through a puddle is an incredibly bad idea. If you are traveling over a wet surface, your tires will skip off the water. That means you’ll hydroplane above the road and you will lose a lot of control over your car. However, if you do start to hydroplane, it is best to have both hands on the steering wheel and slowly apply the brakes. If you slam the brakes you will skid. Always look far ahead the road and to better reduce your speed should you be near a puddle.

Don’t Use Cruise Control

cruise control

While cruise control is very useful on highways and when roads are dry, they are a big problem if it rains. The system maintains a constant speed. If you do that in the rain you are actually increasing the potential for hydroplaning. No car is smart enough yet to detect when there’s water on the road. In the rain it is best to keep your vehicle fully controlled by you.

Slow Down Your Speed


Wet roads are dangerous and slick. They increase your stopping distance and also the potential for skids. You need more reaction time and distance. In rainy weather it is advisable to drive at 5 to 10 mph below the speed limit. You should also keep right and if you pass, do it when the cars you wish to pass are in your center rear view mirror. They should be several car lengths behind you. In the rain it is best to be a slower, more attentive and more courteous driver than ever. This keeps you and your fellow commuters safe.

Rainy weather forces all drivers to adjust their driving techniques. You need to take all the precautions and adjustments you can. None of these will make your drive longer but they will help get you where you are going with as little fuss as possible. If you have any safety suggestions or any tips for driving in inclement weather, let us know in the comments section below!

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