RpmRush content is created by car enthusiasts just like you.
If you love cars and writing you are welcome to Join Us
Car tips & advice | 26.06.2013 - 12:04

5 Tips to Stay Safe When Driving on Wet Roads

Approaching the end of June and the Great British summer isn’t looking quite as great as we’d all hoped. With all this wet weather, drivers need to be aware that the usual grip on their tyres will under perform and that it takes much longer to stop than it would usually.
Driving in Wet Conditions Can Be Perilous

In fact, it takes almost twice as long to stop in wet weather than it would travelling at the same speed in dry conditions. You also have less grip available when taking corners which increases the chance of you losing control of your vehicle. With all this in mind, we thought now would be a great time to write a list of tips dedicated to keeping you safe when driving on wet roads or in rainy conditions.

1# Check Your Tyre Tread

It sounds obvious, and its probably one of the most repeated tips for motorists, but there is a reason for this. Your tyre tread is what keeps you on the road and in order to stay safe when driving in any weather you should check your tyre tread regularly. The legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm, anything less than this and you can face a large fine. Most tyre manufacturers recommend that once your tread is less than about 3mm your tyres should be replaced. In fact, if you allow your tyre tread to reach the legal limit, your average stopping distance in wet weather will increase considerably. Travelling at approximately 50 mph would add an extra 8 metres to your overall stopping distance. If you have a very low tyre tread depth and you hit a rain puddle you are at risk of aquaplaning, which is when the tread is no longer sufficient to hold your car to the road, and this can be very dangerous.

2# Reduce Your Speed

When driving in wet conditions you must allow more time to stop. So try to leave twice as much distance between you and the car in front than you usually would. When approaching a junction, start reducing your speed earlier than you usually would to combat the extra time it takes for you to stop. When approaching a sharp bend, make sure you have eased off the brake before you begin to turn the wheel and try to keep acceleration to a minimum until you have straightened up your wheels.

3# Be Seen

Visibility is another factor that is significantly reduced when travelling in wet conditions. It is important to make sure that you can see and be seen. To help other motorists see you, you should drive with dipped headlights when travelling in wet or dull and overcast conditions. To aid your own visibility, don’t forget to use your cars in built demister along with the windscreen wipers to help keep the windows clear. If your side windows become difficult to see properly through then consider quickly winding them down and back up to clear your view, particularly at busy junctions.

4# Avoid Puddles

Driving through puddles is not recommended if it can be avoided. We already mentioned the risk of aquaplaning if your tyre tread is not sufficient but there are other risks to be aware of. If you approach a puddle at high speed, the impact as your car hits the water could cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Impacting a puddle at high speed with one side of your car can pull the car to one side making you swerve and driving through a deep puddle or any kind of standing water can flood cause your engine bay to flood. So be cautious of rain puddles when travelling in wet weather.

5# Find Alternative Routes

Flooded roads from torrential rain or melting snow are one of the biggest problems road users face in severe weather. If you are travelling in an area you know well then you should, if possible, avoid roads that welcome flooding, such as the notorious Fairglen Interchange on the A127 in Southend-on-sea, Essex. If you approach a flooded road and are unsure how deep the water is, then turn around and find an alternative route to travel. If the water level is below the exhaust pipe then it should be safe to travel through. Look for the shallowest part of the crossing and attempt to pass through here. Do this very slowly, revving the engine gently as you move and using the clutch to control your speed until you have passed through safely.

Written on behalf of A Pass 4 U. A Nationwide intensive driving school offering driving crash courses in Southend-on-Sea and across the whole UK.

Image source: Flickr

Video embed code
Report article    Feedback
Related articles