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Rainy Weather Driving Tips

Stay Safe While Driving in Wet Weather

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When rainy weather arrives, most people go about their business as usual. Driving in the rain, however, is not exactly like driving on dry pavement. Rainwater adds an extra dimension of danger to any road trip because it reduces friction and increases your chance of being in an accident. Before you drive in wet weather, take a minute to review our helpful rainy weather driving tips.

  • Drive slowly. Excessive speed causes more accidents in bad weather than you might imagine. As any driver's education instruction would tell you, the posted speed limit applies only in optimal driving conditions. If rain is falling, you must slow down.


  • Avoid using cruise control. You need every second of reaction time when you are driving in the rain.


  • Watch other drivers carefully. Know where all the other drivers around you are and be aware of their driving speeds. Think about what you would do if a driver near you slammed on the brakes, and leave enough space to compensate.


  • Do not cross standing or running water if you do not know how deep it is. This rule is so very important, and so often ignored. If you must cross running water to get to your destination, turn around and go home. Flash floods, strong currents and rapidly rising waters are dangerous. Driving through high standing water can shut down your engine, leaving you at the mercy of a raging current. Once you are adrift in a vehicle, you become much more difficult to rescue.


  • If you are driving and need to slow down, brake carefully. Rainwater reduces friction between the road and your vehicle. Every move you (as the driver of said heavy, fast-moving vehicle) make should take that reduction of friction into account.


  • Turn into a skid, just as you would if you were driving in snow. Do so carefully and brake gently. Avoid quick, jerky turns of the steering wheel.


  • Turn your headlights on. Even in states that require headlight use if windshield wipers are on, some drivers forget to turn on their headlights. Your goal should be not just to be seen but to see everyone else, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.


  • Drive near the center line. Most roads are cambered so water runs off toward the sidewalks or storm drains, so you are less likely to encounter surprise puddles and hydroplaning in the next-to-center-line lanes.


  • Pull over if you cannot see well. Heroes need not apply. Sometimes the rain comes down so very hard that visibility is almost completely restricted. Pull off the road and wait out the rainstorm if you cannot see the road in front of you.


  • Watch for pedestrians. It is much harder to see people walking in wet (or, even worse, dark and wet) weather, even if they are wearing reflective gear.


  • Finally, carry emergency supplies in your vehicle. You never know when you might need them.
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