Top Tips for Driving in Heavy Rain

June 13th, 2022 by

Everyone knows that wet roads are riskier, but did you know they’re most dangerous the first few minutes after it starts to rain? There are a couple of crucial tips and pointers for driving in rain or a thunderstorm. Check out the Miami Car Credit list of tips for driving in heavy rain.

Follow the Speed Limit

The main threat that rain poses is reduced traction. Wet roads can cause a car’s wheels to slip, and going over puddles at high speeds can cause your wheels to hydroplane. To help reduce the risk of both, it’s typically best to drive a little slower than usual under moderate or heavy rain. What matters most is sticking with the flow of traffic and not following the vehicle in front too closely. Add some extra distance if the rain is particularly heavy and makes it difficult to see.

Turn on Lights, But No High Beams

If you’ve ever been driving in severe rain, you know how difficult it is to see anything more than a few feet ahead of you. Heavy rain at night is even worse, especially when accompanied by mist or fog. Turning on your headlights in these situations is important to keep yourself and others safe. However, not all lights work the same as headlights.

It would help if you did not use high beam lights, also called brights, during a rainstorm because the light’s direction reflects brightly off wet surfaces. High beams are made to add extra visibility on poorly lit roads at night, not for bad weather. The most recent vehicles include LED headlights and fog lights that illuminate a bigger area in front of the vehicle without creating a glare, and both of those are fine to use.

Be Careful When the Rain Starts

Driving through heavy rain is riskiest when the water hasn’t completely drenched the ground, and a car’s tires are still dry. The difference in traction makes slipping more likely. Things balance out once your wheels and the pavement are equally wet. When you see drops start to fall, those first few minutes are the most critical time to drive defensively.

Keep Your Car Maintained

Rain reduces traction, so be sure your car’s equipment is up to date. Check your headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers to ensure they will function properly when needed. Your vehicle’s climate control system should also be able to quickly defrost any condensation on the inside of your windows. Finally, ensure that your brakes and tires are in good condition and aren’t due for a replacement anytime soon. Before the rainy season, you should book an appointment with the Miami Car Credit service center. 

Increase Following Distance

Under heavy rain, driving with a little extra following distance is a good idea, especially on the highway. Wet roads force a vehicle to stop over a longer distance, increasing the risk of an accident. Be careful about being near other vehicles in adjacent lanes since it will help reduce your chance of getting splashed.

Avoid Off-Roading

On off-road paths, the moisture from rainfall can create mud slicks and impassably deep puddles. It only takes six inches of water for the average low-riding car to get its underside soaked, potentially getting water into the system and causing a stall. It’s even more likely when stuck on a low, uneven dirt path, so try to get your vehicle onto secure pavement or cobble before the rain falls.

Defog Your Windows

When it rains, humidity drops, which causes your car’s windows to mist. This is different from simple condensation forming outside, which the windshield wiper would handle. Be sure your climate control system is set to defrost, as this quickly gets blows hot air on the windshield to clear mist off the inner side. Some cars also have rear window defoggers, which work via electrical currents running through the glass, so be sure to turn that on if your car has one.

If You Hydroplane, Stay Calm

Hydroplaning is when your car’s wheels skate along with a puddle of water. Turning the steering wheel while it happens can cause a jolt when the wheels return to the pavement. If you feel your car start to drift on water, remain calm. Don’t brake hard or try to swerve away from the puddle. Drift along without sudden changes to your steering; your car will stop hydroplaning in a second or two.

Turn Off Cruise Control

Cruise control is not appropriate during heavy rainfall. Instead, it would help if you were in total manual control of the throttle and brake. This better prepares you for the right speed and enables you to maintain control if you hydroplane.

If There’s Severe Thunder, Park ASAP

Thunderstorms pose the risk of obstacles on the road, such as fallen trees due to lightning strikes or extreme winds. Try to pull off the highway or go wherever it would be safe to park and wait out the storm. Try not to stop on the shoulder of the road unless it’s an emergency. Also, park somewhere unlikely to flood and not underneath a tree or power line.

Don’t Turn on Hazard Lights Unless Necessary

In some states, turning on hazard lights while driving during a storm is illegal for being a distraction. Only recently has Florida allowed the use of hazard lights at or above 55 mph during conditions of extreme low visibility. Be sure you aren’t still using your hazards in a storm while driving at slower speeds or parked.

Don’t Drive if You Don’t Have To

Heavy rain can pose such a risk that it’s smarter to stay home or pull over as soon as possible. Waiting out the storm will allow you to relax, check the weather, and plan your next move.

Let Miami Car Credit Prepare Your Car for the Rainy Season

With these tips for driving in heavy rain, you’re better protected against mishaps or accidents. If you’d like to prepare your car for the rainy season with new tires or other maintenance tasks, contact the Miami Car Credit service center.