Get a grip on those slippery situations!
Without the right preparation, you may find driving in the rain a stressful, challenging and even dangerous experience. Let’s go through this easy-to-remember guide by answering some commonly asked questions. By the end, even when you are driving in heavy rain, you will be as prepared and confident as you can ever be.
There are a few checks you can quickly do before embarking across those flooded roads and rain-beaten motorways. Wipers are a good start. Check that the rubber isn’t damaged or missing. Then, check if they work – if they smudge the window or leave a scratch, they’ll need replacing. You will also need to double-check your tyres - a useful guide on this can be found here.
Look at your journey route too. If there are any fords or roads that you know are prone to flooding, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by going a different way or by checking the forecast. Not too familiar with your area? Use the environmental agency’s page to check flooding near you!
It’s well known that the distance to stop your car increases when driving in the rain, but in practice, few people change their driving habits because it’s hard to visualise. Rain on the road lowers the grip of the tyres, meaning your car will travel further before the lower friction finally brings it to a stop. In almost all cases, the stopping distance is doubled in the rain.
At 70mph, the heavy rain stopping distance increases to almost 200m (around 50 car lengths!). This may seem easy to account for, but at that speed, missing your brakes by only a second could result in catastrophe. So how much slower should you drive in the rain? Decrease your speed by a third to account for the longer stopping distance. Meaning - 13mph instead of 20, 30mph instead of 50, and 45mph instead of 70!
When heavy rain pours down, it's important to understand the impact it can have on a car's stopping distance. In these treacherous conditions, the road becomes slick and waterlogged, resulting in reduced traction between tires and the pavement. As a consequence, the heavy rain stopping distance of a vehicle becomes significantly extended, posing a grave danger to both the driver and surrounding traffic.
Taking extra care when driving in the rain is key. Just as you would with snow, avoid sudden movements such as harsh braking or steering. Doing so can cause your tyres to lose their grip on the road and you may begin aquaplaning. Aquaplaning is when water builds up and gets in between the tyre and the road, causing the car to slide freely (even at speeds of just 35mph!).
When aquaplaning, you may notice your steering is less responsive and in the worst of cases, the rear of your car will begin to move out to the side. If this happens, ease off the acceleration to slow down, apply the brakes gently and keep the steering wheel straight. In heavy rain, make sure to turn on your headlights so that other drivers can see you clearly and make sure to avoid you if you begin aquaplaning.
Another question that often pops up is – Can you drive an electric car in the rain? The answer is a resounding yes. Electric cars are designed to be waterproof, even when driving through puddles, snow, or hail.
Driving in the rain takes a little planning and a good deal of confidence. We hope we have provided you with both here. Cars are trustworthy machines, but they become even more so when driven with careful consideration of whats going on beyond their windows! Thinking of an upgrade? Check out our trustworthy cars here.