Driving in Wet Weather Conditions

by An Post Insurance | Nov 19, 2019

Driving in wet weather can be dangerous, even for experienced drivers. Learn how to stay safe in rainy conditions with these helpful safety tips.

Driving in the Rain

Listen for Weather Updates

When planning a journey, check the weather report to ensure you are properly prepared for all eventualities.

Check Your Tyres Regularly

Check your tyre pressure and tyre tread depth to avoid skidding on wet or slippery surfaces.

Windscreen Wipers and Lights

Ensure your windscreen wipers are in good condition and not causing streaks on your windscreen.  Also, ensure your lights are working fully.

Dipped Headlights

 If visibility is poor, make sure to use your dipped headlights.

Seat Belts

Always wear your seatbelt when driving or when you are a passenger in any vehicle.  This is not just for the safety of the driver, but for all passengers in the vehicle. 

Stick to Main Roads

Stick to main roads that are less prone to flooding.

Rain After a Dry Spell

Be especially cautious when rain follows a dry spell.  Oil and grease that builds up over time can become even more hazardous when mixed with rainfall.

Avoid Hydroplaning - Slow Down

Reducing your speed will decrease your stopping distance and will help to prevent hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface. This in turn leads to a loss of traction that prevents the vehicle from responding to control inputs.

Keep your Distance

Increase your following distance and allow the vehicle in front of you plenty of room to brake. This will avoid the risk of collisions.

Do Not Make Unnecessary Journeys

Think before driving through any flood or bad weather event.  Do not drive unless your journey is absolutely necessary. Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of the depth - 50cm of water can float a car.  Remember, driving through any depth of water can be dangerous. According to Gem Motoring Assist just 15cm (6 inches) of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars. Above this depth, you can lose control or stall the engine if water is sucked into the exhaust or washed into the air intake.

If you do have to pass through a flooded area, it is very important that you check your brakes and dry them out as quickly as possible by lightly pushing on the brake pedal whilst the car is moving.  Continue to do this for a few miles after the flood.

Avoid Wet Leaves

A patch of wet leaves can cause skidding and be as dangerous as hitting standing water.  Avoid braking or hard acceleration to avoid skidding.  Leaves could also be covering potholes or other hazards that should be avoided.

Never Use Cruise Control in Wet Conditions

Using cruise control can cause your car to accelerate when hydroplaning and reduces driver attentiveness.

If You Do Start to Hydroplane

Do not brake or turn the wheel abruptly as this may cause your vehicle to go into a skid or spin. Take your foot off the gas and keep the wheel straight until your car reclaims traction. Brake gently if needed.

Sources

https://www.thejournal.ie/wet-weather-driving-tips-2-3714124-Nov2017/

https://blog.motoringassist.com/news/winter-driving-questions-answered-gem-motoring-assist/

https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/safety/how-to-drive-safely-in-wet-weather-rain#Driving on wet roads

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