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  • Writer's pictureSimon Harrison

Driving in the Rain

Driving In the Rain Use Your Windscreen Wipers and know how to use them for maximum affect.

While this may seem like common sense, some people forget to clear their windscreens enough this reduceing their visibility. Mske sure you turn on your windscreen wipers in light rain. Most cars’ windscreen wipers speed is adjustable to clear moisture from the glass in a light mist or in a heavy downpour. Most modern cars even have automatic wiper settings that can sense when it is raining, how heavy the rain is and how fast they need to operate. Turn On Your HeadlightsBy turning on your vehicle’s headlights it will increase both your own visibility and other drivers’ ability to see your car on the road. When it rains it tends to be darker outside and visibility is then reduced. Maintain a Safe Distance Between You and Other Vehicles Keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Stopping your vehicle may require twice the stopping distance when it rains. Double if not triple the following distance between your car and the vehicle ahead of you. Avoid Heavy Braking Braking heavily in the rain risks skidding and losing control of the vehicle. Try to slow down your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally would in preparation to slow down or stop, this will reduce the need to brake so hard. Watch Out For Surface Water Driving through large puddles can cause aquaplaning to occur. Aquaplaning occurs when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to a loss of traction that prevents the vehicle from responding to control inputs. To avoid aquaplaning, plan ahead and react to surface water build up by driving around the situation EG: by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas. Let Off The Gas When Hydroplaning Hydroplaning is one of the most common car accidents in the rain because drivers can lose control. If your car hydroplanes, calmly take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go. Avoid making sudden turns or slamming on your brakes. Ventilate Your Car Make sure you keep your windscreen clean, clear and streak free. Do the same for all your other windows and don’t forget your mirrors. This will help to avoid any increased glare. Condensation is more likely to build up in damp conditions so you will need to consider using your front and rear de-misters. If you have air conditioning it may be worth keeping it on when it’s raining as it will circulate dry air rather than damp air, keeping the humidity level low. Also if you have heated wing mirrors then this function will help keep them clear when it’s raining as it will dry off any damp build up of rain droplets – in turn improving your visibility. The Highway Code says

Rule 227

Wet weather. In wet weather, stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads (see ‘Typical stopping distances’). This is because your tyres have less grip on the road. In wet weather

  1. you should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase your ability to see and plan ahead

  2. if the steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually

  3. the rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen

  4. be aware of the dangers of spilt diesel that will make the surface very slippery (see Annex 6: Vehicle maintenance, safety and security)

  5. take extra care around pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders.

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