Preparing to Drive in Wet Weather Conditions

Before you head out, check on the condition of your vehicle and tires.

  • Tires can be an underrated safety feature on your vehicle. They should have plenty of tread depth to evacuate standing water from between the road surface and the tire. If your current tires are worn down to anywhere near the wear bars (3/32nds or 4/32nds of an inch), it's time to think about replacing your tires.

  • Tire pressures that are too low, or too high, can lead to reduced traction, premature tread wear, or tire failure. Your tire pressure should be checked regularly (at least once per month) to be sure they are properly inflated.

  • Outward vision is critical to safe driving. Your vehicle's wiper blades should also be checked for age and wear. If they leave streaks across your windshield, it's time to replace them.

  • Of course, it's just as important to be seen, as it is to see. Turn your lights on and be sure that all of your vehicle's lights are in working order. Use the full headlight system and not just the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) in wet weather. With only your DRLs in use, the rear taillights are not activated and on wet roads the spray of the road can hide your vehicle from view, increasing your chances of being struck from behind. Your full headlight system will also make you more visible to oncoming traffic on wet roads

Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

When it's time to head out, keep a few of these tips in mind.

  • If your windows are fogging up, use the air conditioner to dehumidify the air inside of your vehicle. If you don't have an air conditioning system, open the rear windows a crack to allow air to circulate.

  • Slowing down on wet roads is crucial. A wet road surface will offer the driver less grip compared to a dry road surface. Plus, braking distances can double and the ability to steer around an obstacle can be reduced.

  • Keep a further distance from the vehicle in front of you since braking distances can be longer on wet roads. Staying back will also take you away from the tire spray of the vehicle in front of you, giving you better visibility.

  • Vision technique is paramount to safe driving. Look further up the road and always look to where you want to be going.

  • Jerky or rushed steering can cause loss of control, especially on rain-slicked roads. Drive with smooth steering inputs.