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How Should I Drive in the Rain?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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If you have to drive in the rain, there are a number of things you can do to make the experience safer. In addition to observing common sense while you drive in the rain, you should also keep up on your vehicle maintenance, to ensure that your car is properly equipped for inclement conditions. By keeping your tires and windshield wipers in good shape, you can make driving safety in the rain relatively easy. If the rain is coming down hard, refrain from driving; the people at your end destination would rather see you another day than have you risk your life for them.

In terms of car maintenance, there are three things which will help you drive safely in the rain: proper tires, good windshield wipers, and lights in working order. Tires are essential, as they provide traction which will prevent hydroplaning and skidding in wet conditions. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated, and check for tread war; as your tires wear down, replace them. Windshield wipers should also be replaced on a regular basis to ensure that they will be working when you need them. Finally, working headlamps and signal lights make you more visible to other drivers, which reduces the risk of an accident when you drive in the rain. You should also make sure that your windows are kept clean inside, and that you have a clean soft cloth to wipe your windshield with if it fogs up.

Rainy conditions are dangerous because they reduce traction on the road and they limit visibility. Rain can also be accompanied by high winds, which may toss hazards like downed trees and power lines into the road. When you drive in the rain, you need to be extremely alert, and you should drive slowly so that you can react to events on the road ahead. Slow driving will also limit the risk of hydroplaning.

Always turn on your lights in the rain to make your car as visible as possible, and keep your eye out for other cars. If you are traveling behind another vehicle, leave plenty of room to brake if you need to. Be on the lookout for cars turning on to the road from side roads or turn lanes, and be cautious when turning onto a roadway, as you may not be able to see an oncoming car due to the weather.

It is also an excellent idea to check on local road conditions before you drive in the rain. Many communities have a hotline which citizens can call to get information about road closures and flooding. Avoid regions with closed roads, as traffic may be backed up, and if you notice hazardous conditions such as flooding or downed trees, report them to traffic authorities. If you see a downed power line, do not drive over it; although the power is usually cut automatically, if it isn't, you could get a nasty surprise.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Drentel — On Mar 01, 2014

Have you ever been caught in a storm where the water is coming down so hard that you want to pull over and let the storm pass, but you are afraid to pull over because you can't see where you are going?

In terms of seeing the road, you are driving blind. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is a scary situation, even scarier when you are in heavy traffic.

By Sporkasia — On Feb 28, 2014

Good tires are more important than you may realize. I was driving a friend's car back to college one Sunday afternoon. My friend was in the passenger seat sleeping. We passed through a heavy down pour and it was all I could do to keep the car in the correct lane. Cars were on either side of me most of the trip, and the our car was sliding all over the road.

I thought we had a flat tire or the air pressure was low. As it turned out, my friend had almost no treads on the tires. The tires were smooth on the edges.

By Animandel — On Feb 27, 2014

I am bad about changing my windshield wiper blades. I read that on average you should change them a couple times a year. I was surprised when I read this. Do most people change wiper blades that often?

I do well to change the wiper blades on my car every couple years. Actually, I usually change them when I notice that I am having difficulty seeing while driving in the rain and I can't figure out why.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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