Tips for Driving in the Rain
Driving in the rain does not require special skill on the part of the driver, but it does require special attention. The rain modifies the conditions of the road (the adherence of the tires with the road is diminished), as well as those of visibility, hence it is convenient to take into account various factors to drive safely. Although common sense is the greatest of allies when driving in adverse conditions, it does not hurt to review a series of concepts and tricks if we have to get behind the wheel and drive underwater, with wet pavement. Because the car brakes worse, drives worse and turns worse in the rain. You must bear in mind that the rain does not cause accidents, but it is the drivers, who do not know how to adapt to the new road conditions, who lower their adherence limits. So, we will influence what you should pay special attention to at this time:
Car About To:
It is useless to be the best driver if you do not have the machine that responds properly to adverse weather conditions. You have to pay special attention to these elements (always, but especially when it rains):
- Tires: We will not tire of saying their importance in safety, since they are the only point of contact with the ground. Check if they are in good condition or if there are signs that you should change the tires . In rain it is vital that the drawing is good, that is, with a minimum depth of 1.6 mm. Below, in addition to being fined, rain evacuation will not be effective.
- Shock Absorbers: They are vital to control body movements and have a touch on the steering wheel that allows you to maintain the tires without losing grip. Find out when you should change the shocks to avoid vertical and lateral movements that can modify the line, nor allow an adequate reaction to a movement, even with the help of the stability control (ESP) required in all cars currently sold.
- Brakes: With the wet road, they lose effectiveness. It is important to know how to detect problems in the brakes in order to have pads, discs and the pressure of the braking circuit in ideal conditions.
- Lights: Although daytime running lights are already common in new cars, with strong rainfall it is advisable to put low beams (not fog lights, which produce reflections). Learn how to improve the lighting in your car .
- Windshield Wipers: Do the brushes squeak? Do they mess more than they clean? Try these tips, and if the problem isn't fixed, it's time to change them. It is a simple process and they are not usually very expensive, since although they are not used much, the rubber tends to dry out and loses effectiveness. Also often monitor the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
- Crystals: In situations of poor visibility is when you notice more that you have not cleaned the crystals well inside. That layer of fat makes them tarnish more easily. Here we explain how to leave the crystals spotless.
- Ventilation: Check that the air conditioning system works correctly. It will help you defog the crystals .
They told you at the driving school. And it's true. The speed must be adapted to the state of the road. Also, as it looks worse, this will help you in case of unforeseen events.
The car needs more distance to stop safely. From the DGT, they advise, directly, to double the safety distance. With this measure, in addition, you reduce the so-called spray effect , that the water spray that comes out of the rear wheels of the previous car and that reduces visibility even more.
Avoid abruptness both when accelerating (the traction capacity is less, you use up fuel unnecessarily) and when braking (despite the ABS it is easier in the rain to block the wheels).
This must also be taken into account when making turns. When you are approaching the curve, anticipate braking and complete it in the straightest possible direction so that you avoid lateral inertia. This also applies to lane changes and when changing gears: if you are rough, you send more torque to the wheels, which do not have as much grip as dry and could skid.
Special Danger Areas:
There are places where you have to be especially careful when driving in the wet:
- Paint: The paint that marks the limits of the road and lanes is especially delicate, especially for motorcycles. Also with other horizontal signs and pedestrian crossings, although now they already have special paint so that they have more grip in the wet.
- Leaves: According to this study, they can be as dangerous and slippery as snow. Be careful when you have to go through them.
- Puddles: You never know for sure what its depth is. You can from clicking, unlapping ... or getting stuck (you would not be the first).
- Sewers: If the asphalt slips, imagine a wet metal. On a motorcycle, even more caution.
- Slopes of Curves: They form streams of water.
- Underground Parking: It does not rain inside, but its pavement (it is usually painted resin) slides a lot when it gets wet, because cars enter with wet tires. And there are pedestrians hanging around.
With less visible conditions, you have to be more attentive to driving. There are experts who even recommend turning off the music. The more stress, the more tired, especially on long trips. Make your stops more frequent.
In addition to turning on the car lights, turn on the air conditioning and point it toward the windows to prevent fogging. If your car has a climate control or heated windscreen demisting function, turn it on. In the case of not having air conditioning, opening the window a little helps to balance the interior temperature with that of the exterior and prevent fogging.
It is important to note that the more speed, the more rain will hit the windshield and our visibility will be reduced. So we go back to point 1: slow down.
The most dangerous rain is the initial one. The first drops combine with dust, oil and grease residue and with that sliding film on it, it is the moment when the road is more slippery. Then, with more abundant rain, the road is already cleaned and the adherence is somewhat greater.
When the precipitation is such that nothing can be seen, it is best to momentarily withdraw from circulation waiting for it to slump aside. If you step aside, connect the hazard lights so that other road users can see you.
If it is not possible to stop, slow down and, in these situations, it is good to follow in the footsteps of the previous car. Tires dry the road in your path, so you make sure you go through the driest area of the road.
Going through a puddle 3 cm deep at 50 km / h can be a splash. That same puddle, exceeded more than 100 km / h, can suppose that the dreaded aquaplaning occurs . What is that? That the wheels don't stick to the road and the tires float in the water ... until you find asphalt again. If you notice it, don't brake, just take your foot off the accelerator and firmly hold the steering wheel until you notice grip on the wheels again.
Security Systems of your Car:
For years, all new cars have had anti-lock braking system, ABS , and stability control, ESP . These systems are very helpful in the rain, but by themselves they do not solve delicate situations.If you have the cruise control connected, remove it: if an aquaplaning occurs (occurs when the wheels do not evacuate the water on the ground and lose grip), it is better to have full control of the car. Drive smoothly, don't step on the brake and hold the steering wheel firmly.