It’s not as safe to drive in a storm as it is to drive in good weather. However, it’s not necessarily dangerous to drive in a storm, and it’s certainly not illegal to do so. Storms do introduce new hazards when driving though, and even light rain will reduce your ability to steer and stop your vehicle.
Luckily, there are precautions you can take and rules you can follow when you’re driving in a storm that will make it safer.
Get your car ready to drive in a storm
- Don’t let your tyres lose their tread. Bald tyres have almost no grip on a wet road, and will increase the risk of aquaplaning (sliding), losing control, and crashing.
- Keep your door seals maintained. A leak is the last thing you want to worry about when it’s wet and windy outside.
- Stay up to date on your general car maintenance. Breaking down is inconvenient at the best of times… breaking down in a storm is a nightmare!
Tips for driving in a storm
- Slow down to a speed that suits the conditions, at least 10km per hour below the signposted limit. Driving slow is unlikely to cause an accident, but driving fast in bad weather makes a crash far more likely.
- If visibility is low, put your headlights and hazard lights on. This makes it easier for other drivers to see you.
- Don’t be afraid to stop. If you’re not comfortable driving in the conditions, pull over and take a break.
Driving in a rain storm
If you’re driving through a torrential downpour, here are some other ways to make your trip safer.
If you start aquaplaning (sliding over water on the road) don’t brake heavily. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and keep your steering wheel straight. Driving slower will help prevent aquaplaning in the first place.
Don’t drive through puddles, especially on an unknown road. Puddles can be deceptively deep, or hide submerged potholes and debris. That said, don’t swerve around puddles at speed either. With water on the road, fast swerving should be avoided at all costs. Slowing down gives you more time to react when you see a puddle ahead.