How to Drive in Rain: 5 Quick Tips (and One Suggestion)

Whether you live in America’s driest city or its soggiest, rain makes driving more challenging and dangerous. To help you avoid the rainy-day car-accident blues, here are 5 quick tips.

Windshield wipers moving while a car is driving in the rain.

It’s November and that means November rain. No, not the Guns N’ Roses kind, but the kind that creates puddles and slick roads and makes driving more difficult.

Of the 6.3 million car accidents that happen on average each year (hello, reason #1 to get car insurance), 1.5 million are weather-related. In other words, adverse weather conditions like rain, fog, and snow contribute to 24 percent of all crashes. And 75 percent of those weather-related crashes happen on wet roads.

All of this is to say that rain makes driving dangerous. To help you avoid the rainy-day car-accident blues, here are 5 quick tips.

How to drive in rain

  1. Go slow. Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Speed limits are designed for normal driving conditions, when roads are nice and dry. On rain-slick roads, you’ll need extra braking distance and plenty of time to react.
  2. Keep your headlights on low beam. High beams actually reflect off rain, fog, and snow, making it even more difficult to see. Using your low beam headlights, however, will help increase visibility (and make you more visible to other drivers) whether it’s day or night.
  3. Drive in the middle lane. Driving through even a few inches of water could cause potential engine damage and hydroplaning. Since water tends to pool along the sides of the road, use the middle lanes when you can.
  4. Maneuver lightly. Whether you’re steering, braking, or turning a corner, a light touch will help you stay steady in slippery conditions.
  5. Don’t cruise (control). Using cruise control can save you money, but on rainy days it can increase your chances of losing control and hydroplaning.
  6. Wear polarized sunglasses (if it’s daytime). Rumor has it that wearing polarized sunglasses when driving in the rain can help increase visibility. Because polarized lenses reduce glare, they help neutralize the scattering of light (reflected glare) caused by weather conditions like rain or fog.
    We haven’t tested this one to really see if it works, but if you have let us know.

And if you should happen to skid or temporarily lose control, don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go.

Related links

Some more tips for driving in the fall

Weather’s impact on car accidents

How to Drive During a Flood

The Science of Skidding (and How to Avoid It)

12 Responses to “How to Drive in Rain: 5 Quick Tips (and One Suggestion)”

  1. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    September 22, 2013 #

    Yes, wearing polarized sunglasses whenever it is raining, night or day reduces the glare of oncoming lights, any lights actually, as well as daylight. This comes from experience as a long distance truck driver for more than 47 years. A light gray for the daytime, and a light yellow for the night driving.

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      ke bers
      May 26, 2015 #


  2. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    October 2, 2013 #

    I use a rear red fog light on my cars. Audi has them built in by the way. They are very bright and it is unpleasant to be behind them. In heavy rain and fog is when they are used and then they are turned off immediately.

  3. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    Judith Robinson
    May 20, 2014 #

    You don't mention that roads have oilballover them when the rain first starts. You not only need to slow down when raining but especially when it starts as the roads are extremely slick in the beginning of the rain!

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      November 15, 2014 #

      Slow down in the rain

  4. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    Bill Tyree
    June 15, 2014 #

    And there is hydroplaning. When the tire tread is unable to break through the film of water on the pavement and the tire and automobile are supported on that film and brakes and steering are worse than useless.
    I looked it up for the curious and the speed is 9 times the square root of the tire pressure. Since I am a complete math klutz and can't do square roots without a calculator, I simply slow down on rainy days.

  5. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    Guy Latimer
    June 23, 2014 #

    Rain Ex is the very best invention I have ever experienced. Clean you windshield at least 3 times to remove any possible grease. Apply at least three coats of Rainex and rub until completly clear using at least three clean paper towels. YOUR WINDSHIELD WILL REPELL ALL WATER AND NEVER GET WET IN THE RAIN EXPECIALLY WHEN YOU REACH AT LEAST 40 mph. dON'T LEAVE HOME WITH OUT IT. FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO A TEE AND YOU WILL NEVER TURN ON YOUR WIPERS. LAST ABOUT 30 DAYS OR MORE. THIS IS THE BEST INVENTION SINCE THE SLICE OF BREAD

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      Hohese H
      October 11, 2014 #

      Rainex also makes a windshield wiper solution that works very well

  6. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    October 11, 2014 #

    If I start to skid I steer in the direction of the skid NOT the intended direction of the turn.

  7. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    November 25, 2014 #

    CA state law says that wipers on means headlights on. So, there is no option but to turn on the lights when raining in CA.

  8. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    November 25, 2014 #

    best safety 'tool' is your BRAIN,use it !!!

  9. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    November 25, 2014 #

    dont use the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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