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Wet weather driving tips

Driving in wet weather can be challenging, so it pays to prepare—not only your vehicle, but your habits behind the wheel. Before you go driving in the rain, read up on these tips for handling wet weather driving.

Air pressure and wet performance

Tire air pressure has a big impact on how your tires perform, especially in the rain. We recommend checking your air pressure once a month and before any long trips. For the best performance, you should set your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure. Learn more about air pressure and wet performance.

Tread depth and wet roads

Particularly in wet weather, having sufficient tread depth allows your tires to perform their best. Check your tires' tread depth (while you are checking your air pressure) about once a month, and before long trips. Tires typically begin seeing a noticeable decline in wet weather traction below 6/32nds of tread depth. Tires below 4/32nds of tread depth will see an even greater decline in wet weather traction ability. Learn more about tread depth.

Driving in the rain

Driving in the rain increases the risk of hydroplaning and potential loss of control. (Learn more about hydroplaning.) These tips are good to follow in any weather but can be vital to your safety in wet conditions:

  • Reduce your vehicle speed: Reducing your speed can have a significant impact on your control of the vehicle. We recommend driving under the speed limit, using slow and steady maneuvers, and avoid any sudden stops, starts, or turns.
  • Increase the distance between you and other cars: Increasing the driving distance between you and the vehicle in front of you can help you avoid collisions. Should you need to make any sudden maneuvers, the extra distance should provide you with the space to do so.
  • Avoid standing water: When driving in wet or rainy conditions, avoid standing water at all costs. It is often difficult to tell just how deep the water is, and standing water greatly increases your risk of hydroplaning. If you cannot avoid driving through standing water, go as slow as possible to reduce your risk of hydroplaning.
  • Use your headlights: Rain can obstruct yours and other driver's line of sight. Making use of the headlights not only helps you see, but it also helps other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians see you. Some states even have the use of headlights while it is raining written into their motorist laws. Be sure not to use your high beams in the rain, as they can scatter light and reduce visibility. A good rule of thumb is; turn on your headlights if you are using your windshield wipers.
  • Use well-maintained windshield wipers: Visibility is fundamental to safe driving. Wiper blades help clear away rain, sleet and snow, but many drivers wait to replace them until they need them the most. Windshield wipers should be maintained and replaced regularly so they are ready for use when needed. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, they can begin to squeak, chatter, skip, smear, or streak reducing driving visibility. Be sure to look out for these signs to know when to replace your wiper blades.
  • Avoid using cruise control: Though cruise control can be effective to maintain a steady speed in favorable conditions, using it in wet weather can lead to hydroplaning and potential loss of control.
  • Avoid driving in severe weather: If the wet weather becomes severe, it is best to avoid travel if possible.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, stop by your local Discount Tire and we'll get you taken care of.

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