Driving in wet weather

Updated December 26, 2018
Windshield wet with rain and wiper going

Winter in Roseville means dealing with driving in the rain. With water on the roads, slippery conditions, and possible high winds drivers need to take winter driving seriously. Most importantly, drivers need to take into account road and weather conditions and adjust driving habits to avoid sliding, skidding, or being involved in a collision.

The start of a new year is a great time to review some wet weather driving tips with all drivers in your household. Taking a few minutes now to review these driving tips, can reduce the chances of having a rain related accident.

  • Stay focused and slow down. Pay attention to the road, other cars, and pedestrians. Rain may impair your abilityReduce Speed to see well and your ability to stop may be hindered by the slickness of the road.
  • Turn your lights on. When it starts to rain, turn on your headlights immediately. It’s the law.
  • Drive with both hands on the wheel. Drive with your hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. This will allow for maximum control if you have to turn, serve, or react quickly. Traditional wisdom said to drive with your hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. However, this increases the chances of injury from airbags in a collision.
  • Stay five seconds behind the car in front of you. During normal conditions you can leave a 3-4 second gap between your car and the car in front of you. In the rain, this distance should increase to at least 5 seconds.
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes. This can cause you to slide forward, and you won’t be able to control the car. Hitting the brakes too hard can also force water into your brakes, making them less effective.
  • Take turns slowly. Turning too quickly on a wet road can cause your tires to hydroplane, which can cause you to lose control of your car.
  • Don’t use cruise control. This is another factor that can lead to hydroplaning. The weight of the car shifts slightly when you ease on or off the accelerator, and this helps maintain traction with the road. With cruise control you speed is constant, there is no weight shift. Thus, the car can lose traction.

Remember the posted speed limit is the maximum safe speed in ideal driving conditions for that roadway. Slippery conditions will require drivers to reduce their speed. The California Driver’s Handbooks recommends the following speed adjustments.

  • Wet road–go 5 to 10 mph slower.
  • Packed snow–reduce your speed by half.
  • Ice–slow to a crawl.

Driving in rainy weather can be challenging. Remember to put down that cell phone, stay focused, and drive defensively. Take your time and arrive at your destination safely.