It's Sydney. It's raining. And you need to take a drive.
We get a fair amount of rain in the Sydney area, but usually, it’s nothing we can’t handle. However, sometimes the unpredictable happens.
In 2014, heavy rain hit Sydney. In fact, flash flooding trapped a passenger train right here in Bexley. Situations like this cause many new drivers anxiety when driving in the rain.
Driving in the rain can be scary, but it’s easier if you follow a few tips. Read up on these tips now so you’re prepared for your first rain drive.
Basic Driving Tips
Our first tip may be unexpected: don’t drive if you don’t have to. Stay safe by waiting to drive until road conditions are dry.
Not possible? Then let’s move on to our next tip: drive slowly. Rain creates hazardous road conditions, so drive slightly below the speed limit. Similarly, keep plenty of space between you and the car in front of you—about 5 car lengths.
Just as you should drive slowly, you should brake slowly too. Start braking before you would in dry conditions. After all, sudden braking could cause your car to skid on the water.
Rain can make it hard to see the road ahead, so turn on your headlights. Don’t turn on your fog lamps, though, or you could blind other drivers. And prevent your windows from fogging by turning on your defogger.
Don’t use cruise control, because (ironically) it may cause you to lose control. If you drive over standing water and lose control of the car, cruise control can cause your car to go faster than you’d like.
As you drive, get rid of distractions like phones and cigarettes. Keep your eyes open for hazards like pedestrians, potholes and pooling water. Even supposedly tiny puddles could be much larger than they appear. Driving through them could damage your car’s electrical system.
If you see a pool of water, consider driving around it. If you can’t, pay attention to the tips below.
Tips for Driving Through Water
If the water appears too deep—higher than the lowest point of your wheels' rims—turn around and take another route if possible.
If driving through water is necessary, do so slowly and carefully. When you drive through water, you run the risk of your tyres losing traction with the road.
When this happens, you could experience something called aquaplaning, where your car can glide out of control. If you do lose control of your car, follow these steps:
1. Ease off the accelerator. Do not brake.
2. Steer toward the direction you want to go.
3. Once you regain control of the car, touch your brakes lightly to dry out the brake pads.
Most importantly of all, don’t panic. If you keep calm, you’ll be able to navigate this stressful situation.
Tips for Preparing Your Car
There’s one more concept to remember before you take your car out for a rainy drive: make sure your car is ready. Here are some things to keep in mind:
· Make sure you have quality tyres. Worn tyres can make it harder to brake, turn, and accelerate in wet conditions.
· Check that your windshield wipers function properly. Replace them if necessary.
· Spread a rain repellent product on mirrors and side windows.
Driving in the rain can intimidate new and experienced drivers alike. Remember that if conditions get too intimidating, you should pull over and wait for the rain to pass. Drive slowly and calmly and you’ll arrive at your destination safely.
Ask your driving instructor for more tips on driving in the rain. He or she can help you feel confident in every driving situation.