Safe Driving Tips on Wet Roads & Rain

Written by Dee S

 

To help learner drivers become safe drivers, they need to have the knowledge, skills and understanding of a variety of driving scenarios and situations. This is why the Safer Drivers Course with Learn Drive Survive, will teach them how to make safer choices, become familiar with the road rules and have a better driver attitude. However, all of these things can only develop with on-going practice and experience.

Apart from what learners will be taught during the Learn Drive Survive SDC, here are a few safety tips when driving in the rain or on wet roads.

Safe Driving Tips on Wet Roads & Rain

Speed is still one of the main causes of fatal and injury crashes in Australia. Vehicles travelling above the posted speed limit or for the conditions, will be harder to manoeuvre or stop safely in a sudden situation. Driving at higher speeds in adverse conditions such as rain, will certainly increase your chances of being involved in a crash. This is because roads are slippery, response times are shortened and your overall stopping distance is increased. Being able to effectively scan for hazards or developing hazards, is also affected.

Learn Drive Survive Safer Drivers Course, provide young learner drivers with the knowledge about driving in the rain or on wet roads.

Anytime it rains you need to take extra precaution because it is during these times that crashes increase. Intense weather and rainfall could lead to flash flooding, fallen trees, and/or fallen powerlines. Here are some safety tips you can follow to drive safely when it’s raining.

Turn your headlights on

To be seen, you must be able to be seen so turn your headlights on. Roads become slippery and this poses a severe hazard for many drivers especially for inexperienced drivers. So, turn your headlights on and keep your eyes on the road. If you are a new driver, you may find it hard to focus on the road because of reduced visibility.

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Rear-end crashes are one of the most common crash types. This is because drivers travel too close to the vehicle in front of them and don’t allow enough time to stop safely in the event of an unexpected situation. All drivers must allow at least a three (3) second safe following distance. This is based on a drivers 1.5 second reaction time to identify a potential situation and 1.5 response time to be able to stop safely.

In adverse conditions such as rain or fog, drivers must allow a minimum of four (4) seconds. In the NSW Safer Drivers Course facilitated by Learn Drive Survive, learner drivers will be taught how to calculate a three (3) second gap and other invaluable information to help them become safer drivers.

Watch out for Wet Leaves

Believe it or not but wet leaves on a wet road, can be hazardous. Not only are they slippery, but they reduce your tyre’s contact with the road surface which affects the tyre’s traction with the roadway. Driving around bends too quick or having to stop suddenly, are when things can go wrong. Hence why reducing speed and having good vision are important skills to have. Being able to identify hazards sooner will allow you to respond sooner and slow down gradually instead of braking heavily.

So, drive to the conditions and continually scan. If you happen see branches, leaves or other debris on the roadway, you need to slow down and assess the situation. Remember to be mindful of vehicles travelling too close to you because if you brake suddenly, chances are they will crash into the back you so brake gradually and control the speed of those following you. Always keep a safe distance because if the vehicle ahead of you suddenly stops, you won’t be able to stop safely.

Do Not Intentionally Drive Through Large Puddles or Surface Water

This brings us back to effective scanning skills. Always watching ahead and assessing and re-assessing the roadway as well as other drivers, is paramount. Where you can, never drive through large puddles because you never know how deep they are and your vehicle could potentially aquaplane or hydroplane. Not only can be a scary experience for many drivers, it can also cause a crash.

It’s common for many drivers to believe that aquaplaning or hydroplaning occurs when the tyres cannot grip on the road due to a layer of water between the vehicle’s tyres and the road surface. However, this should not be confused simply with loss of grip between the tyre and the road. Aquaplaning actually occurs when the wheels rotational speed falls to 10% or less of that of the vehicle relative to the road.

When aquaplaning occurs, your steering will feel light and you will be unable to steer and losing control of your vehicle. There are two (2) factors that can increase your chances of aquaplaning. Speed and insufficient tread meaning unroadworthy tyres. Conversely, tyres that have minimal tread are unable to expel as much water compared to tyres with deeper tread. Tyres that have deeper tread are able to expel the water much better preventing a layer of water to build beneath the tyres.

Maintain a Slow and Steady Speed Through Water

During heavy rainfall, it is common that drains and gutters on many roads, are unable to cope with the huge volume of water received at one time. Minor flooding can occur causing water to cover the road which may take some time for the water to disperse. In any case, you should never drive on flooded roads however, if you’re caught in a location where you are unable to avoid it, you need to drive slowly and steadily. Never use cruise control and like most safer drivers, always maintain a safe following distance from the car in front.

Use your Windshield Wipers

Always use your windshield wipers to ensure your view on the road and environment is clear. Even during light drizzle, you should always keep your windscreen clear. The heavier the rain, the faster your wipers need to be. If the rain is too heavy to the point where visibility is impeded, you must slow down or even pull over to a safe location with your hazard lights on.

Safer Drivers Course with Learn Drive Survive

For learner drivers under 25 years of age, a Safer Drivers Course will teach them how to identify and manage hazards and developing hazards. This includes weather conditions and environmental factors after severe weather. Completing a defensive driving course will teach people how to prevent losing control of their vehicle on wet roads or in the rain. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t practice safe driving skills and techniques on every occasion.

There are many advanced driving courses or defensive driving courses that teach people how to get out of skids and other peculiar situations That’s a great driving skill to have but that’s the reactive approach. As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. At Learn Drive Survive SDC, we teach learners how to prevent unwanted situations through effective scanning and observation, hazard management and other safe driver techniques.

A defensive driving course like the transport for NSW Safer Drivers Course provides in-experienced learners with the knowledge and what it really means to be a safe driver. This involves internal and external influences, managing distractions and safe decisions on the road

For more information or to book a Safer Drivers Course, contact Learn Drive Survive on 1800 898 969 or book online here.

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