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Motoring Advice

How to Drive Safely in Wet Weather

how to drive in wet weather

Published 7 October 2019


Driving in wet weather can be hazardous so it’s good to be prepared.  Storms impair driving visibility and make roads dangerously wet. Plan your journey in advance and know how to drive in wet weather to stay safe.


What to do before you set off

There are a few things you should do before setting off:

  1. Think about whether your journey is essential. If not delay it until the driving conditions have improved.
  2. Factor in extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential congestion. Listen out for local news bulletins to keep up-to-date with road closures, flooding and forecasts
  3. Check your tyres – the less tread on the tyres, the less grip they have. 
  4. Make sure all lights are working – check headlights, rear lights, brake lights and indicators so you will be  seen clearly during any downpours. Keep your headlights on whenever you drive.
  5. Charge your phone – make sure your phone has enough charge to last the journey in case you need to phone for help
  6. Check your windscreen wiper blades are working.
  7. Fill up with fuel before you travel. You’ll be using more fuel lights, heater and wipers switched on.


Driving on wet roads

How to drive in heavy rain

  1. Reduce your speed and keep more space between you and the vehicle in front as stopping distances are doubled in the wet. 
  2. When you need to stop or slow, brake softly to prevent locking the wheels and skidding.
  3. Use your headlights so that other drivers can see you more easily
  4. Don’t use rear fog lights. They can mask your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you
  5. Look out for and avoid large or fast-moving vehicles creating spray which reduces visibility
  6. Listen out for local news bulletins to keep up-to-date with road closures, flooding and forecasts


How to drive through flood water

Heavy and prolonged rain can lead to large puddles, areas of standing water and even flooding.

Don’t drive through fast flowing water – it only takes 1 foot of water to float a car!

  1. Size up the depth of the water first.  Get out of the car if you have to and use a stick or other object to gauge the depth of the water.
  2. If the water is deep find an alternative route.
  3. If you do decide the water is shallow enough to drive through, drive on the highest section of the road.
  4. Maintain a slow steady speed keeping in a low gear (second is usually adequate).
  5. Gently brush your brake pedal on exit, creating some friction and therefore heat to evaporate off any excess moisture.
  6. Pause for a moment if you can to let any excess water drain away and flow back to where it came from.


How to handle a skid

Even if you drive carefully you may experience a skid. Knowing how to handle a skid beforehand can keep you calm and prevent a nasty accident.

If you find yourself in a skid, immediately take your feet off the pedals.

  • Stop braking and stop accelerating.
  • Quickly turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid. For example, if the rear of the car skids to the left, steer quickly and smoothly to the left.

Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you. Also, do these things one at a time. Brake, then turn, then accelerate.


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