How to drive in rain

In the car adverts it never rains, but sadly those of us who live in the real world have to put up with wind, rain and a whole array of adverse driving conditions. Once the heavens open you have to deal with all sorts of issues, such as reduced natural light, grip and visbility, and just slowing down isn’t enough. 

Once the heavens open you have to deal with all sorts of issues, such as reduced natural light, grip and visbility, and just slowing down isn’t enough.

Here, with the help of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), are the things you need to do to stay alive next time you have to drive in wind and rain: 


  • Before you set off, set your heater controls – rain makes the windows mist up in seconds. You don’t want to be fiddling with controls when you should be concentrating on the road.

  • Slow down. In the rain your stopping distance is at least doubled. Giving yourself more space helps you to avoid spray, especially when following a large vehicle.

  • Keep your eyes on the road ahead and plan your driving so you can brake, accelerate and steer smoothly – harsh manoeuvres will unbalance your car.

  • Strong winds can also unsettle your car and even change your direction of travel. Grip your steering wheel firmly and be aware of the effects of the weather on other road users.

  • If you have cruise control, avoid using it on wet roads – it may create problems if you start to aquaplane.

  • See and be seen. Put your lights on – as a rule of thumb, whenever you need to use your wipers you should also turn your headlights on, and before overtaking put your wipers on their fastest setting.

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* Also check out our page on the importance of maintaining visibility, as well as our page on how to deal with a skid and how to drive in flood water.