Top Tips for Driving in the Rain

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 5 months ago

5 min read

  • Car ownership
  • How to
Driving in the rain.

WhoCanFixMyCar offers advice about how to stay safe when you're driving in the rain.

In the UK, we see around 150 days of rain each year - sometimes much more. And while hitting the road in wet conditions isn't as dangerous as when it's icy, it's still important to be aware of how to adapt your driving style to stay safe. That's what this guide is for.

Contents

1. Know your road stopping distances

2. Make sure your lights and indicators are working

3. Check your tyre pressure

4. Reduce your speed

5. Don't use cruise control

6. Try not to slam on the brakes

7. Watch out for standing water

8. Pull over if the rain gets too severe


1. Know your road stopping distances

Stopping distances matter. Leaving enough space between you and the car in front could be the difference between being involved in a collision and avoiding it.

A black car driving on a wet road.

The Highway Code in the UK states that drivers should allow at least a two-second gap between their car and the vehicle in front on dry roads. This gap should be doubled to four seconds on wet roads and ten times greater on icy roads. Remember, large vehicles and motorbikes need an even greater distance to stop.

Read this guide for more information about stopping distances.


2. Make sure your lights and indicators are working

Visibility is key, especially in heavy rain when visibility is limited. Take a moment to ensure your brake lights, headlights and indicators are all working before you go anywhere. 

Next, check your windscreen wipers. If you notice any streaking, they either need cleaning or changing depending on how worn they are.

Checking wiper blades on a car.

This guide explains how to check and change your windscreen wipers.

If you're worried about your car's safety, a vehicle health check is an excellent way to set your mind at ease.


3. Check your tyre pressure and tread

Most modern vehicles are fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system. However, it's still important to inspect them. Maintaining the correct pressure is beneficial for fuel efficiency and makes your tyres last longer. 

Attaching a tyre pressure gauge.

Even more importantly, it's crucial for safety. Tyres that are under-inflated or don't have enough tread are dangerous, especially in wet conditions. Before you set off, it's worth inspecting your tyres for signs of damage, tread wear and low pressure

You can check your tread using the 20p test, as we explain here.

If you're looking for a new set of tyres that can handle the rainy British weather, we'd recommend the following brands:


4. Reduce your speed

Hundreds of people die on UK roads every year when driving in the rain. There's no shame in slowing down if you're worried about your car's grip or your ability to see the road ahead. Speed limits are precisely that - limits, not targets.

Your reaction times are likely to be slower when visibility is reduced, and your car will take longer to stop, too. You don't have to slow to a crawl - we've all got places to be - but slightly reducing your speed will make a difference to your safety.


5. Don't use cruise control

Cruise control and volume buttons on steering wheel

It's best to turn off cruise control when driving on wet roads to ensure you're in complete control of your vehicle. Although cruise control keeps your car at a steady speed, it doesn't stop you from skidding or aquaplaning.


6. Try not to slam on the brakes

Slamming on the brakes too hard and too quickly in the wet can cause your tyres to lock and your car to skid. The best approach is to brake gently and anticipate the need to slow in advance. That way, you can use engine braking to decrease your speed before you push the brake pedal.


7. Watch out for standing water

A red car driving through a puddle.

It's easier said than done when visibility is limited, but driving through standing water can cause you to aquaplane, so if possible, you should avoid it. Try changing lanes to avoid puddles of water (if you're on a dual carriageway or motorway); if not, slow right down before you reach it. 

If you find yourself skidding, ease off the accelerator, don’t brake, and allow the car to slow until you regain control of the steering. Only then should you put your foot back on the accelerator.


8. Pull over if the rain gets too severe

Driving in the rain is expected in the UK and something we all get used to. But if the rain is particularly heavy, with the potential to flood, pull over (if safe) and wait until the worst of it has passed before starting your journey again. It's better to be safe than sorry.


Looking for affordable repairs & maintenance? Whatever your car needs, you can use the UK's most trusted garage network to find it.

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Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

Find Ellie on LinkedIn.