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3 Tips for Safe Driving This Rainy Season

According to the Federal Highway Administration, every year over 3,400 people are killed and more than 357,300 are injured in crashes during rainfall. These numbers are a sobering reminder of the dangers posed by wet weather driving. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate these risks when you get behind the wheel. Incorporating the following tips into your driving habits can greatly enhance safety on wet roads.

1. Prepare Your Vehicle Properly

Preparing your vehicle for the rainy season is critical. This includes ensuring that your tires have adequate tread depth and are properly inflated. Tires with worn treads are much less effective at displacing water, significantly increasing the risk of hydroplaning. Windshield wipers also play a crucial role in maintaining visibility during heavy rainfall. If they are leaving streaks or not clearing the rain effectively, they should be replaced immediately.

2. Adapt Your Driving Habits

Modifying how you drive in rainy conditions is a critical step in reducing the risk of accidents. According to Safer America (2023), a staggering 74% of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement, with nearly half of these (46%) happening during rainfall. This high percentage underscores the need for drivers to adjust their driving style appropriately.

When roads are wet, they become more slippery, reducing the tires' grip on the pavement and increasing stopping distances. As a result, it's crucial to reduce your driving speed in the rain. Slower speeds allow more time to react to unexpected situations and reduce the severity of any potential impact. Additionally, increasing the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front gives you a longer stopping time, further minimizing the risk of rear-end collisions.

Smooth and cautious maneuvers are also essential in rainy weather. Sudden actions, such as sharp turns, rapid acceleration, or abrupt braking, can lead to loss of control, as the wet road conditions reduce the vehicle's ability to handle such maneuvers safely. Instead, aim for gentle and controlled steering, acceleration, and braking. This approach ensures that your vehicle remains stable and reduces the likelihood of skidding or hydroplaning.

3. Know How to Deal with Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning occurs when your vehicle's tires lose contact with the road and glide on a layer of water. This phenomenon can lead to a sudden and often alarming loss of control. Understanding hydroplaning and knowing how to respond to it can be pivotal in preventing accidents.

The early signs of hydroplaning include a sensation of lightness or unresponsiveness in the steering. You may also notice that your vehicle begins to drift sideways or feels unusually slippery on the road. It's important to recognize these signs quickly, as the sooner you react, the better you can regain control. When hydroplaning occurs, the most effective response is to remain calm and follow specific steps to safely restore traction:

  • Ease Off the Accelerator: Abrupt movements can worsen the situation. Instead, gently lift your foot off the accelerator. This allows the tires to regain traction and the vehicle to slow down naturally.

  • Steady Steering: Keep the steering wheel steady and straight. If you need to correct the direction, do so with slow, gentle movements. Avoid sudden or sharp turns, as these can cause the vehicle to skid.

  • Avoid Braking Abruptly: Hard braking can lead to skidding, especially when hydroplaning. If braking is necessary, do it gently and preferably with anti-lock brakes if your vehicle is equipped with them.

  • Regaining Control: As your vehicle slows down, you'll gradually regain control. Once you feel the tires reconnect with the road surface, you can gently begin to steer the vehicle as needed.


The rainy season demands careful attention to both vehicle maintenance and driving habits. By being aware of the heightened risks and adjusting accordingly, drivers can significantly enhance their safety and that of others on the road. Remember, safe driving in adverse weather conditions not only protects you but also contributes to the overall safety of our roadways.


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