Wet weather and driver safety: Do you know the basics?

Wet weather driving tips

Driving in wet weather can become extremely dangerous. Especially if you’re unaware of how the rain can compromise driver safety.

Here’s everything you need to know to stay safe on the road — even when it’s wet.

Do you know what your tyre tread is and why it’s so essential in wet weather?
Your tyre tread is essentially the grip on your tyre. It’s similar to how a pair of sneakers will have gripping on the underside of them.

Both your car’s tyres and your sneakers will have these zig-zagged patterns in their rubber to ensure they’re able to grip to hard surfaces.

When you wear your sneakers over and over though, that grip begins to smooth out and eventually, you might find it’s more difficult for your shoe to gain traction.

Your tyres are exactly the same. Except when that grip, AKA your tyre tread begins to wear, you might find your car taking longer to come to a full stop as you brake.

You might feel your tyres “slip” a little bit, or they might spin on the spot when you’re taking off.

The Queensland Government says your tyres should have at least 1.5mm of tread depth.

Tyre tread

A few tips to keep your tyre tread in tip top condition

  1. Maintaining your tyre pressure goes a long way in keeping you safe on the road. If your tyres aren’t at their optimal pressure, the tread will wear unevenly, causing more driver safety issues.
  2. Drive around corners and roundabouts at a reasonable speed. Zooming around a corner will encourage faster wear of your tyre tread — and put you at risk.
  3. Ensure your wheel alignment and wheel balance are up to date. These ensure your wheels and tyres are travelling in the optimal direction and minimise unnecessary tyre wear.

Do you know which setting you should have your lights on for optimal driver safety?
A super simple driver safety step when driving in the rain is to make sure your lights are turned on. It means your car is more visible to the other motorists on the road.

This goes for every motorist. However, if you’re driving a white, silver, or black car — it’s especially for you.

It’s important you’re using a low beam light in the wet weather though.

Low beam lights allow you to see better in wet weather and fog, and it prevents your lights from restricting other motorists’ visibility on the road. A win-win.

Here’s why using cruise control in wet weather is a huge no-no
You’re probably thinking, “Because I should be paying attention to the road. Duh.”

And that is correct. Bonus points if you guessed it’s about leaving a safe distance — we’ll get to that one shortly.

The biggest reason you should ditch cruise control in wet weather is actually that it can increase your risk of aquaplaning.

Cruise Control & Aquaplaning
Cruise control works by ensuring the car is constantly driving at a consistent speed. This is an amazing feature on the highway, where you’re travelling in a straight line for a prolonged amount of time.

However, if you don’t notice a slight puddle or build-up of water on the road, cruise control won’t either.

This is pretty likely to make your vehicle hit the water at full speed, causing you to aquaplane.

Your tyres can’t gain traction on a puddle of water and without traction, your car isn’t receiving all those individual commands from your steering wheel and brakes.

What is the optimal gap to leave between you and the car in front?
If you’ve ever been desperately slamming your right foot on the floor in the passenger’s side, then you’ll know what we mean when we talk about leaving a safe distance.

In dry, optimal weather, a two-second gap is essential to ensure that if all the motorists on the highway need to slam their brakes on, there’s enough time to stop without a collision.

Of course, in wet weather, you need to allow a little bit more time to stop.

The Queensland Government recommends you double that distance. So, leave a four second gap between you and the car in front for optimal driver safety.

Did you know in some Australian states, tailgating is the reason for almost one-third of all car accidents?

Our final tip? If it’s flooded? Turn around.

Driver safety is so important. By ensuring your own car is safe, you’re ensuring the safety of everyone else on the road.

Need more? Read this article: The importance of following at a safe distance

Claims made easier.
Claims resolved faster.