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Driving safely in the rain

Posted March 1, 2024 by Fanshawe Driving School

Learning to drive in different driving conditions helps us to become better drivers, including driving in the rain. It is no surprise rain causes road surfaces to become slippery, but it can also affect our visibility. Being physically and mentally prepared to drive in rainy conditions can improve our ability to become safer drivers. Here are a few tips to help you become a good driver, including in the rain.

If there is a lot of water on the road or you’re going too fast for the conditions, your tires may ride on top of the surface. It is called hydroplaning. The layer of water on the road may cause a temporary loss of steering and braking for the driver.

When water begins to pool on the road surface, it can cause the tires to float on top of the water. It will cause a temporary loss of traction. There does not have to be a lot of water on the road for this to happen. You may notice this happen if changing your driving actions or drive too fast for the wet road conditions. For example, a sudden acceleration or steering change may cause you to feel a lack of response from the vehicle. If this does happen, there are a few things you can do to help you regain traction.

If hydroplaning happens at too much speed, ease off the accelerator, which allows the engine to slow the vehicle’s speed naturally and gradually. Braking does not do much for you. If you’ve steered to follow a curve or turn and the vehicle has not responded, gently and smoothly steer back to allow the wheels to remain straight and ease off the accelerator. It will help the wheels rotate better and can help you regain traction on the road surface once again. Once you feel you have regained better traction, you can gently apply the brakes to help maintain vehicle control. You should abandon the turn and go around the block instead of trying to make the curve or turn.

Since rain also reduces visibility, remember to drive slowly enough to stop within the distance you can see ahead. Keep moving your eyes to help you spot any pedestrians or cyclists who are out in the rain. Ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition as well. If your wiper blades do not clean the windshield without streaking, it would be time to replace them.

In rainy conditions, look ahead and plan your movements. Smooth steering, braking, and acceleration will help to reduce the chance of having any skid. Leave a larger following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead if you have to stop quickly. It will also help you avoid having additional spray coming from the vehicle ahead of you since that can make it more difficult for you to see effectively.

If you can, avoid driving in large puddles. Puddles can hide potholes, which could damage your vehicle or the suspension. It may also cause a flat tire. The spray of water from a deeper puddle could cause the engine to stall. Water may also cause your brakes to become less effective.

The key point to remember for driving in the rain is this – speed limits are for ideal conditions. Driving in the rain is not ideal. We need to adjust to maintain control of the vehicle at all times.

For more information, visit Fanshawe Driving School and let a professional instructor guide you to becoming a good driver, including in the rain.

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