Driving In The Rain – Safety First

When you’re learning to drive, your first foray into driving in the rain can be an anxious time. You might worry about the roads being slippery, not able to check your mirrors properly, cars without headlights on and poor visibility. Discount Driving School have listed some tips below to help learner drivers with driving in the rain.

Think Ahead

If possible, avoid driving in rain and other treacherous conditions to start with, until you have a few hours and some confidence under your belt. It’s best to consider being a spectator or if you have no choice, a very experienced passenger to guide you. If you can’t avoid driving in the rain, leave extra time for your journey. If not, it might be better to wait until the rain passes.

Visibility

In Australia, is the law for your headlights to be switched on during the rain, regardless of the time of day. This increases the range of your sight. It also increases the chances of other drivers being able to see you. This problem is intensified in the rain due to misting up of windows, therefore having your headlights increases the probability of other drivers being able to identify you earlier.

Misting up of windows is a severe problem in itself, which often plagues drivers in the rain. In order to reduce the risk of this occurring whilst driving, ensure that your demister is switched on and both your front and back windscreen are completely clear before setting off. To do this, point the air vent to the windows. Do not move the vehicle until you can fully see clearly through each and every window.

Stopping Distances

During wet conditions, the average stopping distance doubles. Unfortunately, many people ignore this and travel way too close to the car in front.

It’s important to brake sooner on approach to traffic lights, intersections and sharp turns. Make sure your tyres are in good condition to maintain ideal friction between the tyres and the road surface. If you are driving on bald tyres in the wet it will greatly increase your chances of collisions with other vehicles.

Floods and water on the Road

Some water on the road seems like a minor thing. Unfortunately, it can cause problems for both you as a driver and pedestrians. Driving through puddles at speed causes big splashes which will not only anger pedestrians and cyclists but could result with you receiving a fine and penalty points on your driving licence.

Any large puddles of water on the road should be avoided by checking mirrors and safely navigating around it. If this is not possible, slow your speed down. It can be difficult to accurately judge a puddle’s depth. Also, you won’t know if there are foreign objects hidden in the water or a large pothole which could cause damage to your vehicle.

Floods can cause massive levels of disruption on the roads, as we have recently seen here in south-east QLD. Never attempt to drive through floodwater, as it can cause serious damage to your car. Deliberately taking the risk is not covered by insurance companies either. If it’s flooded, forget it!

Losing Grip on the Road/Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning is when a car encounters too much water on the road. It results in the tyres unable to grip the road. Once the tyres lose contact, control is lost and you will essentially be surfing on the water. A major sign of this is the vehicle feeling light and unresponsive to the direction. If this occurs, the worst thing you can do is try to brake in a panic. Braking will cause you to skid and put you and other drivers at risk of an accident. The best way is to take your foot off the accelerator pedal and let the car slow down by itself while keeping the steering pointing in the direction of travel.

Driving tests in the rain

While our first point said for learner drivers to possibly avoid driving in the rain when starting out, you do need to experience it. A large proportion of learners fail their test driving in the rain because they have not experienced it before. It’s important to remember that although the conditions change, the basic premise of driving remains the same. You should drive slightly slower and leave a larger gap between cars. This proves to your instructor you are aware of the issues associated with rain.

In conclusion, driving in the rain has many unique issues which will have to be faced. It’s best to avoid it completely. However, if this is impossible, you should drive with care and understand the risks that emerge in these conditions. It is vitally important to learn how best to handle it. If you need guidance on how to learn to drive in the rain, give us a call or a message at Discount Driving School.