Driving in the rain
09 Jun 2015 Written By: Beaurepaires
With winter looming, Australian drivers should be mindful of the colder and rainier weather. Follow these tips from Beaurepaires to stay safe on the roads.
Try as we might to find ways around it, sometimes driving in the rain is simply unavoidable. Whether it’s an urgent doctor’s appointment, a ride to the airport or another important engagement, if you need to get from A to B then hopping in your car and attempting to navigate the slick roads might be your only option.
But if just driving in normal weather conditions requires your full attention, you can imagine how imperative it is for you to have your head in the game when bucket-loads of water are added to the mix. Not only does the rain present a problem, but often your surroundings – pedestrians, other vehicles, the road itself – are drastically altered when it’s wet outside.
This is why we’ve compiled this helpful list of tips to help you stay safe and stress-free when driving in the rain. Even if you feel like a pretty confident driver in all types of weather conditions, keep reading to check you’ve got the basics covered!
Increase your travel time
Before you even get in the car, you can prepare for the weather by simply allowing more time to get to where you need to go. After all, if you’re running late for your destination, you’re much more likely to be impatient and distracted en route, which may affect your concentration and driving ability. By giving yourself a larger window of time to slowly and carefully navigate the roads and traffic, your journey will hopefully be smooth sailing the whole way.
Obey the road rules diligently
You should be obeying the Australian road rules anyway, of course! But when there are vertical sheets of rain pouring down, rendering even the smoothest and straightest of roads slippery and unpredictable, it’s particularly crucial. Here it’s not only advisable to observe the speed limit and following distance, but also to actively slow down and increase these distances where possible.
Practice constant vigilance
With so many potential distractions already on the road, such as pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles, it can already be difficult to maintain your focus. And when it’s raining, lowered visibility can further compromise your ability to keep a watchful eye on your surroundings. Try to limit the distractions that you can – for example, keep your mobile phone in your bag or out of sight – and ensure you stay alert to any hazards that may present themselves in rainy weather.
Use your headlights sensibly
Anyone who’s been driving, or just sitting in the car for that matter, when it’s bucketing down with rain can tell you how dark and gloomy it gets. This is where the illuminating power of your headlights comes in. Just remember that there are others on the roads that need to see you as well! Refrain from using your high beams and effectively blinding other drivers.
Be careful of hydroplaning
Hydroplaning, also sometimes known as aquaplaning, is the vehicular of a Slip ‘N Slide: when your car skids on water without your tyres making contact with the road. This can occur when the road is wet and you’re driving too fast, causing your tyre tread to lose contact with the surface of the tarmac so that you can neither steer nor break. Hydroplaning is seriously dangerous, and can be avoided by sticking well under the speed limit and using your discretion to judge whether or not a flood on the road can be driven through. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Keep your car in good condition
By taking your car for regular maintenance checks and keeping it in great running condition, you can ensure you’re well prepared for any bad driving conditions. When it comes to wet weather, your tyres, windshield, windshield wipers and headlights are particularly important. If your car is due in for its next service, reach out to your local Beaurepaires and ask a friendly member of the team how they can help.
With winter well on its way in Australia, rain is making more and more frequent appearances, making the prospect of driving through heavy downpour distinctly unpleasant. However, by taking a few extra precautions and making a conscious effort to drive more carefully on the roads, you can make your trip safer and less stressful – which is all anyone can hope for when the heavens start opening up over you!