Driving in The Rain

Driving in the rain Safety Tips

The UK weather is unpredictable at the best of times - so it’s inevitable you’ll be driving in wet conditions throughout the year. When driving in wet conditions it’s important to take additional care – moderate to heavy rain can reduce the visibility of the road and sitting surface water can increase the chance of aquaplaning. Tyres that are designed to provide outstanding performance in wet weather will enable you to drive safely and maintain a level of driver experience and comfort. 

Discover how to drive safely in the rain by following these tips:

  • Check your tyres before driving/regular maintenance – Checking the condition of your tyres at regular intervals is crucial to maintaining the safety and performance elements of your tyres. Ensuring tread depths are within the legal limit of 1.6mm ensures the tyre can facilitate wiping out surface water and maintaining contact with the road. Regardless of weather conditions tyre pressure and general condition are essential for safety and performance, read our guide to checking your tyres here.
  • Check windscreen wiper blades are working and screen wash – Even light rain can reduce visibility so it’s essential to regularly check screenwash is topped up and wiper blades work correctly to ensure maximum visibility of the road ahead.
  • Reduce speed – It’s important to remember that braking distances are increased in wet conditions, travelling at an appropriate speed 
  • Maintain a safe distance between the vehicle in front – With reduced visibility and increased stopping distance, it’s recommended to ensure plenty of space between the vehicle in front.
  • Use your headlights on a dipped beam – For the safety of yourself and other road users, using dipped beam headlights can help to improve visibility and ensure you are visible to other vehicles.
  • Use your air conditioning – Turning on your air-conditioning and maintaining airflow around the cabin can prevent internal condensation.
  • Avoid heavy braking – Take your foot off the accelerator earlier to prevent the need for harsh braking which can be dangerous in areas of standing surface water.
  • Watch out for standing water – Try to avoid any areas of road surface where there are large amounts of standing water to minimise the risk of aquaplaning.
  • Delay your journey in poor weather – It is better to delay your journey in particular poor weather if possible.
  • Traffic updates – Listen to local radio stations for traffic updates.

Steering Feels Light When Driving in the Rain

Driving in wet conditions provides the additional risk of aquaplaning where there are areas of standing water on the road surface. Aquaplaning is where a layer of surface water builds between the tyres and the road surface, which means the tyres lose contact with the road leading to a lack of grip and traction. This will then make it difficult for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle – hence making the steering feel lighter than usual. If this should happen it is recommended to take your foot off the accelerator, do not brake harshly and allow the vehicle to come to a natural slow until the traction and handling returns.  

Stopping Distances in Heavy Rain

When driving in wet weather, stopping distances increase due to the additional surface water, reducing grip between the road and the tyres. For this reason, it is recommended to leave plenty of distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front to ensure you have additional stopping distance taking into consideration the weather conditions and the speed you are travelling at. The correct use of seasonal tyres on your vehicle can also greatly impact stopping distance where there are changes in the temperature.

Braking on dry roads
Braking on wet roads

(Tyre Safe, 2021)

Best Tyres for Driving in the Rain

The UK climate experiences rain all year round, which is why it’s essential to consider choosing a tyre that has design features designed to cope with wet conditions. Usually the sipes and tread of a tyre determine its ability to clear surface water to maintain grip and traction with the road surface. 

Dunlop BluResponse



  • 2.8 meters shorter braking in wet*
  • 3 meters shorter braking in dry*
  • 30% better fuel-saving design*
  • Lower noise due to closed shoulder grooves

Front Wheel Drive or Rear Wheel Drive for Driving in the Rain?

Due to the additional weight of the engine and transmission sitting over the front wheels of the car, front-wheel drive vehicles in extremely wet conditions can gain additional traction helping the car to perform better than a rear-wheel-drive counterpart. The weight distribution of a rear-wheel drive car means they are often prone to losing traction on wet or wintery road surfaces. 

Is it Harder to Drive at Night in the Rain?

Driving on a dark and wet evening decreases visibility even further, however by taking additional care and following the tips provided your journey should be made safer. It is recommended that if you do not feel comfortable driving in poor conditions in the dark to postpone your journey if possible until conditions improve.  

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* Tested by TÜV SÜD Automotive in September 2012 by order of Goodyear Dunlop. Tyre Size: 205/55 R16 91V; Test Car: VW Golf; Test Locations: Mireval (FR), Papenburg (D) and Garching (D); Report No. 76249744