Driving Safety In Rainy Weather

Driving Safety In Rainy Weather

If you live in Florida, you are no stranger to humid weather that can lead to summertime showers and wintery rainstorms. When you take driving school in Florida, you’re likely warned to be prepared for any kind of weather, and before you get your license you’ve hopefully practiced in all types of weather as well. But whether you’re a novice driver or have been on the road for years, there are some rainy weather tips that can help you be even safer.

It’s often important to be reminded of these tips because dangerous driving can lead to a slew of other problems, including unsafe driving violations, points on your license, and fatal accidents.

In fact, it’s been proven that over 40% of weather-related accidents are due to rain. Even if you don’t live in Florida, this advice is still incredibly useful in keeping you, your passengers, and everyone else on the road as safe as possible.

Slow Down

This is a no-brainer, but oftentimes we see the speed limit sign and assume it’s applicable no matter the weather. Any time there is inclement weather, you should reduce the numbers you see on the speed limit signs in your mind, giving you ample time to respond to unexpected gusts of wind, puddles of water, ice, and more.

Speed limits are in place because they have been deemed the highest possible speed you can go and still be completely safe in that particular stretch of road. Once you throw in heavy rains, these numbers don’t make as much sense. Rainy weather can reduce your visibility, cut down your reaction time, and affect the way that your tires go across the road, so slowing down your speed gives you a bit of buffer time.

Slowing down can help with all of the problems that come with rainfalls, including:

  • Visibility issues. Even the smallest rainfall can reduce your ability to see as well as other drivers on the road.
  • Lessened pavement friction. Tires are designed to roll over the road, not slide on it. Unfortunately, wet pavement can increase your chances of skidding or hydroplaning.
  • Lane obstructions. Rain is often accompanied by wind, and this can put unsafe items in the road like fallen tree limbs, mailboxes, and more.
  • Car buildup and traffic. Accidents may happen, and other drivers are likely slowing down in the rain as well. This can cause car buildup in places where you wouldn’t normally see it.
  • Overall accident risk. Naturally you are always at risk for an accident, and any type of inclement weather increases this.
  • Vehicle performance. A well-maintained car can still run into issues during the rain.
  • Driver capabilities and response. Even the most attentive drivers have a harder time driving during a storm, so it’s advised to reduce speed.
  • Defensive driving and deciding on evacuation strategies. Even if you are driving completely fine, other drivers may be more reckless. You must constantly have an exit strategy and decide what you would do if something dangerous happens.

How much should you slow down? While there’s not a hard-and-fast rule taught in Florida’s online driving schools, generally 30% less is encouraged. Rain can decrease your traction easily by about a third, so lowering your speed will counter that.

Increase Space

Even if you can see perfectly fine out of your windshield, it’s a wise choice to increase the amount of space between you and the car in front of you. Not only is visibility reduced, but your car may not respond as well in the rain. And remember that this doesn’t just apply to you—it applies to everyone else on the road. Even if you’re driving in a defensive way, not everyone will be.

When a car in front of you passes an object, you should be able to count to at least 3 before you yourself pass it. If the weather is especially bad, then increase that number—and go even higher if it is nighttime, you are dealing with bad gusts, or any other problems arise.

Additionally, it’s useful to avoid getting boxed in while you’re in traffic. This might not always be possible, but strive to leave as many open space between you and your surroundings to ensure you can get out of a bad situation, if it comes up.

Focus On Driving

This might seem like an obvious tip, but avoid using your car’s extra features during inclement weather. We’re not just talking the satellite radio—we mean features like cruise control, in particular. Rainy weather requires you to respond continually to the challenges on the road, and if you’re not focusing completely on driving, your car may fail you.

It’s best to go the old-fashioned route: turn on your lights, drive slowly, and pay attention to how your car is handling. It will often be intuitive for you to decide how slow you need to be going, and it is simply a matter of paying extra attention as a driver.

Prevention Is Key

If you really want to be a safe driver during rainy weather, then you need to work on preventing problems even when there’s not a dark cloud in the sky. Just like defensive driving teaches you to always plan ahead, any online driving school will encourage you to drive a car that is in proper working order. Make sure your car is tuned, the oil is changed, and that you take into a mechanic regularly.

Especially important against rainy weather is your tire tread. While tires are expensive, they are a vital part of your car. Old tires with worn-down tread might work okay when it’s dry and sunny out, but once the rain starts to fall you could be in some serious trouble. They are prone to slipping on wet surfaces and will put you at dire risk. Additionally, make sure you’ve got the correct tire pressure, your windshield wipers work properly, and all of your lights operate correctly.