< See all articles

Driving Safely in the Rain: 13 Things to Check on Your Car

Your car’s condition plays a significant role in your safety and performance on wet roads. In this article, we will not only discuss the importance of checking your car before driving in the rain, but we’ll also delve into the top things you should inspect to ensure a safe and smooth ride.

So, buckle up and let’s get started!

Why it’s important to check your car before driving in the rain

Rainy conditions pose various risks for drivers, including reduced visibility, slick roads, and the potential for hydroplaning. Accidents can occur more frequently during these times, especially when your car is not in optimal condition. By thoroughly inspecting your vehicle and addressing any issues, you can minimize hazardous situations and improve your overall safety on wet roads.

Your vehicle’s performance is also affected by wet weather. A properly maintained car will be more reliable and better equipped to handle the challenges that come with driving on wet roads. Regularly checking and maintaining your car’s critical components not only prolongs its lifespan but also ensures a smoother and safer driving experience during inclement weather.

Adjusting your driving style when facing wet conditions is essential for your safety. Always drive at a slower pace, avoid hard braking, and maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front of you. By being cautious and adapting your driving style, you can better react to any unforeseen circumstances that may arise on wet roads.

Driving in the Rain: Your 13-Point Safety Checklist

1. Tire pressure

Proper tire pressure is crucial for optimal traction and handling in wet conditions. Underinflated tires can lead to poor contact with the road, while overinflated tires may cause uneven wear and reduced traction. Check your tire pressure regularly, especially before driving in the rain, and adjust as necessary according to your vehicle’s recommended PSI.

2. Tire tread

Tire tread plays a significant role in your car’s ability to grip the road in wet conditions. Worn or bald tires can lead to hydroplaning and loss of control. Inspect your tires for adequate tread depth, and replace them if they show signs of excessive wear. Rotating your tires regularly can also help ensure even wear and prolong their lifespan.

3. ADAS system

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can provide additional support and safety when driving in the rain. Features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking can help you maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and prevent accidents. Before driving in wet conditions, ensure that your ADAS system is functioning properly and that all sensors are clean and free of debris.

4. Aquapel treatment

Applying an Aquapel rain repellent treatment to your windshield and side windows can significantly improve visibility during rainy conditions. This hydrophobic coating causes water to bead up and roll off the glass, making it easier to see the road ahead. Aquapel treatments are easy to apply and can last for several months, making them a worthwhile investment for drivers in rainy climates.

5. Wipers

Functional windshield wipers are essential for maintaining clear visibility during rain. Check your wiper blades for signs of wear or damage and replace them if necessary. Also, ensure the wiper motor is working correctly and that the wipers can effectively clear water from your windshield. Don’t forget to inspect your rear wiper, if your vehicle has one, as it is equally important for maintaining visibility.

6. Lights

Properly functioning lights are crucial for visibility in rainy conditions. Check your headlights, taillights, and turn signals to ensure they’re working correctly. Replace any burnt-out bulbs and clean your light covers to improve brightness. In addition, consider upgrading to LED or high-performance bulbs for even better visibility in poor weather conditions.

7. Brakes

Wet roads can increase your stopping distance, so it’s essential to have well-functioning brakes. Check your brake pads for wear and replace them if needed. Additionally, make sure your brake fluid is at the appropriate level and free of contamination. If you notice any issues with your braking performance, have a professional inspect your brake system.

8. Windows and mirrors

Clear windows and mirrors are vital for visibility while driving in the rain. Ensure your windows are clean, both inside and out, and that your defrosting system is working correctly. Check your side mirrors and rearview mirror for any cracks or damage, and adjust them to provide the best visibility. Applying a hydrophobic treatment to your windows and mirrors can also help repel water and improve visibility during rainy conditions.

9. Oil levels

Regularly check your oil level and ensure it’s within the recommended range. Oil plays a crucial role in lubricating your engine’s components and maintaining performance in wet conditions. Keep up with your oil change schedule to ensure your engine runs smoothly and efficiently.

10. Coolant

Monitor your coolant level to prevent your engine from overheating. Top off the coolant reservoir if necessary, and consider having a professional inspect your cooling system if you notice any leaks or performance issues. The cooling system is critical for your engine’s health, especially when driving in challenging conditions.

11. Brake fluid

Your brake fluid should be at the appropriate level and free of contamination. Regularly check your brake fluid reservoir and top it off if needed. Also, consider having your brake fluid flushed and replaced according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to maintain optimal braking performance.

12. Windshield washer fluid

Keep your windshield washer fluid topped off to help maintain clear visibility during rainy drives. A good-quality washer fluid will help remove dirt, grime, and other debris from your windshield, ensuring you can see the road clearly.

13. Battery

Rainy weather can put additional strain on your car’s electrical system, making it essential to have a properly functioning battery. Check your battery terminals for corrosion and ensure they are securely connected. If your battery is older or showing signs of weakness, consider replacing it to avoid any unexpected breakdowns.

Driving in the rain presents unique challenges, but by regularly checking and maintaining your car’s essential components, you can help ensure a safer and more reliable driving experience. Don’t let wet roads catch you off guard – take the time to check your car and address any potential issues before hitting the road.

Remember, being proactive with your vehicle’s maintenance will not only keep you safe during rainy drives but also preserve your car’s longevity and performance.

Frequently asked questions

How often should I check my car before driving in the rain?

It’s a good practice to check your car’s critical components regularly, regardless of the weather. However, it’s especially important to give your car a thorough inspection before driving in heavy rain or if you haven’t driven in wet conditions for a while.

What should I do if my car starts hydroplaning?

If you experience hydroplaning, remain calm, and avoid making sudden movements. Gently lift your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes, as this can cause you to lose control.

How can I improve my visibility while driving in the rain?

Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and functioning correctly, and keep your windows clean. Turn on your headlights, even during the day, to help other drivers see your vehicle.

When should I replace my windshield wipers?

Windshield wipers typically need to be replaced every six months to a year, depending on usage and environmental conditions. If you notice streaking, chattering, or other signs of poor performance, it’s time to replace them.

How often should I check my tire pressure?

You should check your tire pressure at least once a month and before long trips or driving in extreme weather conditions. Maintaining proper tire pressure will help improve your car’s handling, fuel efficiency, and overall safety on the road.

Additional reading: Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Road safety in the rain