Our Tips For Driving Safely When Wet
Stay Safe In Severe Weather!
If you’re a new driver on your L-plates, or even if you’ve earned your provisional licence, you may still be a bit nervous about driving safely when wet. Driving in the rain is not easy, and it poses some unique challenges that can make it difficult to operate your vehicle safely.
But as long as you keep some basic safety tips in mind when driving on wet roads, you can make sure you’re safe – and keep other road users safe, too. Read on to learn about the top tips for driving in wet weather from LTrent Driving School.
- Keep A Safe Distance Between Cars
First and perhaps most importantly, you need to drive with a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. We recommend a distance of at least 4 seconds or 4 car lengths. You should also avoid using cruise control when driving in the rain.
Why keep so much distance between you and the vehicle in front of you? Because it provides you with more time to react, and gives you more stopping distance. This way, you have more time to react properly if the driver ahead of you slams on the brakes, spins out, or does anything else that could put you and other road users in danger.
- Avoid Slamming On Your Brakes Whenever Possible
You do not want to slam on your brakes when stopping in the wet. Why? Because you may “hydroplane.” Your tyres will stop moving – but if there is enough rain, they may continue to “glide” along the surface of the water, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.
Driving defensively – that is, not being in a situation where you need to slam the brakes to avoid an accident – is essential for avoiding this. Maintain proper distance between your car and others. To slow down, ease your foot off of the accelerator, and firmly apply pressure to the brake pedal gradually.
Note that, even when applying brake pressure gradually, you may feel your brake pedal “shudder.” This is normal. These are your anti lock brakes (mandatory on all cars made after 2003). They are releasing pressure to prevent the wheels from locking up – which prevents hydroplaning.
- Keep An Eye On The Road Surface & Avoid Big Puddles, If Possible
Hitting a big puddle of water can cause you to hydroplane, depending on the amount of water. When travelling at speed, do your best to avoid large puddles of standing water if it is safe to do so.
If you do hit a large puddle of water and feel your car begin to slip away from you, stay calm. Release the accelerator, and steer the front of your car toward the direction it needs to go. Do not slam the brakes or over-correct in the opposite direction – this can result in an uncontrollable skid.
- Check Your Car’s Important Systems
Before hitting the road, you should check your car’s important bad weather systems, like your headlights, brake lights, and windscreen wipers to make sure they’re functioning properly. You should replace a windshield wiper if it’s leaving streaks behind on your windscreen, and is no longer fully clearing your view.
You should also check the tread of your tyres. Worn-out tyres will significantly reduce your traction in wet weather, and can cause you to hydroplane or spin out.
Follow These Tips To Stay Safe In The Wet Weather!
Driving in the wet doesn’t have to be scary. As long as you know what to do and take proper precautions to drive slowly, safely and defensively, you can tackle just about any storm. Want to learn more? Visit LTrent Driving School now! We have a huge variety of lesson plans that can help you become a better driver, and feel more safe and comfortable behind the wheel. To get started book online, or give us a call on 02 8748 4500.