Driving in the rain presents different challenges to driving in the dry. You’ll need to follow a different approach when it’s drizzling compared to when it’s raining heavily. Strong winds can play a big factor too.
Some drivers hate driving in rain and a few others actually enjoy it the most. The difference comes down to understanding what your car can do and what rules you must follow. Once you understand the fundamentals, it makes driving in the rain a lot more fun and safe. Follow along where we explain the basics:
What should you check before starting your journey in the rain?
Make sure the windscreen wipers along with the headlights and tail-lights work. Check the inflation pressure on all tyres and make sure the tyres have enough tread on them (read further as we explain why). Also, the weather warnings on the radio might come in handy, especially if there is any road closures from flooding or landslides (particularly relevant if you are travelling long distances in mountainous or lake/river territories). This ensures a comfortable and safe journey for you and fellow drivers on the road.
Should I turn my lights on when driving in the rain?
Turning on the lights is mandatory when driving in the rain as this allows better visibility during low light conditions as well as allows other cars on the road to see you better. If they seem faint, you may need a headlight restoration.
What to do in case of rain coupled with heavy wind gusts?
Strong side winds can alter your vehicle’s course from the lane you are driving in. Maintain low speeds (as recommended in the sign boards) as this allows you to have a much better car control. Defensive driving is what you should be doing in these difficult circumstances.
What is aquaplaning (or hydroplaning) and why should you know about it?
The more the tyre is in contact with the road, the more grip you get. Therefore, in normal conditions, your car moves in the direction you steer.
But in wet conditions, the tyre’s contact patch with the road reduces as the vehicle drives through a puddle of water or surface water, and skims above it. As this happens, your car can become unresponsive to your inputs. Be it steering, accelerating or braking, the car becomes difficult to control. This phenomenon is known as aquaplaning. This causes the tyres to slip. Driving at lower speeds can help abate the situation.
What tyres should you have on your car during winter or wet conditions?
Summer tyres work in all situations including slightly wet conditions. These tyres provide maximum grip and traction when driving on dry asphalt.
Winter or wet weather tyres have more grooves that are deeper. Grooves are nothing but the paths that separate the treads of the tyre. They are designed in such a way that it allows the water to be directed outward thereby providing better grip when driving in the wet. We have great tyres available for driving in the rain from reputable brands such as Dunlop, GT Radial and Falken.
What are the effects of braking when driving in the rain?
Wet conditions make coming to a stop quickly if a surprise hazard appears difficult. Braking distance will increase when driving in the wet and therefore a greater distance behind the vehicle in front of you should be maintained. Sudden steering, acceleration and hard brakinng should be avoided at all costs as it can quickly put the car into a slide. Brake gently and you’ll be absolutely fine.
Can you enable Cruise Control or other Lane Assist functionalities when driving in the rain?
Please refer to your driving manual for your manufacturers’ recommendation. But keep in mind to set a lower speed or larger distance in adaptive cruise control as you want to avoid sudden braking manoeuvres.
Be safe out there folks!