Wet weather isn’t something that is usually associated with Sydney. Sometimes it feels like it’s always sunny and summery, but then three days later it’s like we’re in a never-ending monsoon. This changing weather, a symptom of Sydney autumn and upcoming winter seasons, drivers need to be prepared to drive safely on wet roads. With more rain forecast in the coming weeks, it’s time to study up! The most important thing is to be patient. When it’s raining and chaotic, everyone’s in the same boat. Here are Body Perfect Group’s best wet weather driving tips:
1. Slow Down When Driving in Wet Weather
Traffic is bound to busier as more people will be driving to avoid the rain. After a dry spell, engine oil and grease collect on the road. Once the rain starts, the water mixes with these materials causing the roads to become slick and slippery. So, it may seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to slow down during wet weather to avoid skidding.
2. Keep Your Distance
You should increase the distance between you and the cars ahead. In dry conditions, they say to leave a three second gap between cars, so in wetter conditions try to double this. Be even more careful with buses or trucks. Their larger tyres can splash enough water to block your vision completely. Avoid passing one, but if you must, do it as quickly as safety allows.
3. Follow the Car Tracks Ahead of You
Following the tracks of the car in front of you on wet roads will reduce the amount of water between the road’s surface and your car tyres. Meaning a safer and smoother ride. Keep a keen eye on their brake lights so you can quickly anticipate their actions. Whenever possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator and avoid using your brakes.
4. Steer Into the Skid
So you’re driving slower and you’re keeping your distance, that doesn’t mean that something can’t get in your way making you need to brake suddenly. Avoid slamming on the brakes, instead apply steady pressure. If you do skid, steer into it. Keep calm and ease your foot off the accelerator and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. This is called “steering into the skid” and will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes.
5. Be Seen & Look Out
Make sure you can see and be seen, even in light rain. Visibility is lower for everyone when it’s raining. Also, rain deaden sounds, so the usual visual and audio cues for measuring car distances become obscured. Pedestrians are also impatient to get out of the rain so may run across streets without checking first.Not only will your lights help you see the road, but they’ll help other drivers see you. Turn on your lights and use your air conditioner and/or demister to keep your windows from fogging up. Check your windscreen wipers regularly so you won’t be stuck with little visibility in a rainstorm. Wipers are cheap to buy and easy to install, don’t put it off. Use dimmed lights, using high beam headlights are likely to reflect back on you, reducing your visibility, especially in foggy wet weather. For more info check out this video:
6. Watch Out For Deceiving Puddles
Sometimes water can gather in dips or unseen potholes, creating deceptively deep pools. Cars have been known to ‘aquaplane’ after hitting water like this (that is, ‘glide’ out of control across the road), see more point 10. If you come across water on the road, cut your speed and drive slowly and steadily through it. After you’ve driven through, touch your brakes lightly to dry out the brake pads. Obviously, if there’s water flowing across a road in a low-lying country area, for example, you should stop and check the depth before continuing (it shouldn’t be higher than the lowest point on the wheel rim).
7. Check Wet Weather Updates
If you’re planning a long driving trip, check the weather and Twitter or radio updates about traffic and the weather. That way you can plan your trip effectively and avoid traffic jams or rain-damaged roads.
8. Look After Yourself
9. Check Your Tyres
Make sure your tyres have enough tread depth. The deeper the tread the less likely the car is to skid or aquaplane. If they are excessively worn, avoid driving in wet weather. Make sure your tyres are adequately inflated by referring to the air pressure specified by the vehicle manufacturer – this information is usually listed in on the fuel door, glove box or owner’s manual. If you’re unsure give your trusted mechanic a call.
10. Avoid Aquaplaning
Aquaplaning happens when the water in front of your tyres builds up faster than your car’s weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tyres and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road. If you find yourself aquaplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do so gently with light pumping actions.