Last Updated on January 13, 2023

According to the MET Office, 9 out of 10 weather-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads took place in the rain. Driving safely in a heavy rainstorm is a concern that almost every driver has had, and with these statistics, there’s no surprise. So how do you drive safely in the rain?

Rain increases the chances of skidding, but more alarmingly, it only takes 12 inch deep water to completely lift you and your vehicle from the surface. So the first thing you want to do is to remove any routes that are prone to flooding from your journey, if you can’t, we have the following tips, Check your mobile app store, as there are numerous apps out there to help you plan your journey!

Like other dangerous weather conditions, you need to reduce your speed to give you a higher chance to react to skidding or other unexpected hazards. Wet roads do make vehicles slide, and in the colder months will most likely turn to ice.

If you do come up to some water, slow down and drive in low gear to avoid your car from stalling, you can use the edge of the curb to estimate how deep the water is. That being said, it may not always be accurate as there are potholes, and some roads don’t have curbs.

It’s important to note if the rain is particularly bad, it might be worth waiting and driving when the worst has passed and to avoid flooded areas. Flooded water might seem shallow, but the public is advised to avoid it and the hazardous things it might contain (which can cause serious damage to your car).

Get a Learner Insurance Quote with Collingwood

Can I drive in floods?

The simple answer is no. If you drive through water that’s over a foot and stall, you could risk getting water into your engine, which will be an expensive fix and in some cases, water damage has led to cars having to be scrapped completely. So avoid!

What to do if heavy rain makes it hard to see?

If the rain is so heavy that you’re struggling to see, even with your wipers on, you should pull over somewhere safe until the rain calms down. If you’re unable to see you’re more likely to cause an accident.

What’s Aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning tends to happen when you’re at a higher speed, where water will build in front of the tyre and essentially lift your tyre from the road surface. For example:

Aquaplaning Graphic
Aquaplaning sourced from Uniroyal Tyres.

Tips for driving in the rain.

@collingwoodinsurance Driving in the rain can make driving a little more difficult! Here are out top tips to stay safe in the rain 🌧️ #drivinginrain #learntodrive #uk #rain #drivinglessons #drive #learnerdriver #passingtest ♬ I Think I Like When It Rains – WILLIS
  • Don’t overlook wet leaves! They may seem pretty harmless, but your car can skid on wet leaves just like ice.
  • Test your wipers – make sure they’re functioning properly before you start your journey.
  • Drive on the highest section of road (if you can).
  • Keep both hands on the wheel.

Should I be concerned about the wind?

An unexpected gust of wind is sure to make you uneasy, and in the UK, it’s a pretty common feeling. On a windy day, you’re likely to get a sudden gust of wind while driving, whether that’s because you’re by the coast or passing over a bridge or even through a gap in a hedge. You may even see branches falling down, or whole trees falling over – a common sight on country roads. So what do you do?

If you are in an area that has serve windy conditions, you need to avoid driving altogether. Deciding whether your journey is necessary – Is the first step. Waiting until the wind has calmed will reduce the chances of someone swerving into you or be it you swerving into them.

If your journey is crucial, then make sure you check where the safest route is by the following advice from local news sources. If you can, avoid routes that are particularly prone to intense wind, for example, a high open mountain road. Try not to leave yourself exposed, if you’re driving fast and on a wide road you’re going to be more receptive to the wind, so keep both hands on the wheel and stay alert.

High winds can get under a car and affect the braking and handling drastically. If you reduce your speed, you reduce the impact of these gusts. You may find that this makes the gusts a little less daunting.

When it comes to overtaking, be extra careful, especially past high sided vehicles (these are vehicles over 2.9m) this is due to the gust from the side as you clear past. In general, you should allow more room between you and other road users, especially when you’re near cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries, trailers and buses as they are particularly susceptible to being moved by high winds. 

Furthermore, hold your steering wheel firmly but not too tight. A common mistake when driving in heavy rain/winds is gripping the steering wheel too tightly – this is counterproductive. No matter what, a gust of wind will be unexpected, and holding the wheel too tight will only restrict your movement. So keep to a strong grip so that you remain in full control, but allow yourself to have a smooth range of motion.

What do I do if the wind keeps making me swerve?

For your own safety, it may be best to pull over somewhere safe and just wait until the conditions improve. If you feel that you may be in danger make use of emergency services.

What wind speed is dangerous for driving?

When stormy winds reach 60mph, it’s best to avoid driving completely as driving will become significantly harder.

Tips for driving in the wind.

  • Make sure you park your car in a safe place – ideally somewhere with shelter.
  • Try to avoid debris left on the road.
  • Keep your speed down (safely & legally).
  • Keep both hands on the wheel.

Need some extra practice?

Learning to drive in these conditions can be a challenge, but where you can it’s good to get experience in all conditions (if safe to do so). This is why our learner driver insurance does not have any curfews – so you can learn at a time that suits you.

Get a Learner Insurance Quote with Collingwood