Driving in the Rain

Posted by on September 1, 2011

This is the summary of a few emails I got about driving in the rain.

Educational and fun but it just escalated!

1st email…

Driving  in the rain — this  may save your life


How to  achieve good vision while driving during a heavy  downpour.

We are not  sure why it is so effective; just try this  method when it rains heavily. This method was  given me by a Police friend who had experienced  and confirmed it. It is useful….even driving  at night. One method used by Canadian Military  Drivers for years.

Most of the motorists  would turn on HIGH or FASTEST SPEED of the  wipers during heavy downpour, yet the visibility  in front of the windshield is still  bad……

In the event  you face such a situation, just try your SUN  GLASSES (any model will do), and miracle! All of  a sudden, your visibility in front of your  windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no  rain.

Make sure you  always have a pair of SUN GLASSES in your car,  as you are not only helping yourself to drive  safely with good vision, but also might save  your friend’s life by giving him this  idea..

Try it yourself  and share it with your friends! Amazing, you  still see the drops on the windshield, but not  the sheet of rain falling.

You can see  where the rain bounces off the road. It works to  eliminate the “blindness” from passing semi’s  spraying you too.

Or  the “kickup” if you are following a semi or car  in the rain. They ought to teach that little tip  in driver’s training. It really does  work…

This next warning is a another  good one! I wonder how many people know about  this:

A 36 year old  female had an accident several weeks ago and  totaled her car. A resident of Kinburn , Ontario  was traveling between Kinburn & Ottawa. It  was raining, though not excessively, when her  car suddenly began to hydro-plane and literally  flew through the air.. She was not seriously  injured but very stunned at the sudden  occurrence!

When she  explained to the OPP Officer what had happened  he told her something that every driver should  know – NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE  CONTROL ON . She thought she was being cautious  by setting the cruise control and maintaining a  safe consistent speed in the rain. But the  Officer told her that if the cruise control is  on when your car begins to hydro-plane and your  tires lose contact with the pavement, your car  will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making  you take off like an airplane. She told the OPP  Officer that was exactly what had  occurred.

The Officer  said this warning should be listed, on the  driver’s seat
THE PAVEMENT IS WET  OR ICY, along with the airbag warning. We tell  our teenagers to set the cruise control and  drive a safe speed – but we don’t tell them to  use the cruise control only when the pavement is  dry.

The only person  the accident victim found, who knew this  (besides the officer), was a man who had a  similar accident, totalled  his car and  sustained severe  injuries.

NOTE: Some  vehicles (like the Toyota Sienna Limited XLE)  will not allow you to set the cruise control  when the windshield wipers are on. If you send  this to 15 people and only one of them doesn’t  know about this, then it was all worth it.. You  might have saved a  life.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- [Top]

1st Response…

The sun glasses might have to use Polaroid lenses which eliminate glare, and in this case light reflected from the myriad of droplets up front.

The obvious need to stop using cruise control in wet/slippery conditions, is driven by the power/speed mix when aqua planing is experienced. Engine power will always lag speed demands, confused by vehicle speed measurement which probably uses wheel revolutions not actual ground speed.  When cars aqua plane the tyres are pushed upwards off the road surface onto a layer of water, resulting in no control of steering or speed. That can feel like taking off but actual displacement upwards must be small, but loss of control is terrifying.  Incidentally aqua planing starts at 9 x square root of tyre pressure in lbs per sqr inch.  Result in mph.  So for tyre pressure of 36 psi, 9  x 6 = 54 mph.  So when sheet water expected, pump up tyres to max and know in advance what speed to stay under or reduce to.  That is as important as only use cruise control in the dry.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- [Top]

2nd Response (from Anna Imrie)…


I do hope this won’t, accidentally, become a discussion board! …….

Your friend CK is correct in his/her analysis of the mis-use of cruise control in wet/slippery conditions.  And, I’m sure that you’ll agree that from this point in the year onwards, these conditions are likely to occur.

Having spent many hours as a professional advanced and high-performance driver trainer and assessor, for those who are not scientists and want to drive safely:

The car, when aqua planing sits on top of the meniscus (the load bearing skin of the water’s surface).  It does not gain any extra forward momentum as there is no grip, but, possibly alarmingly, the sound of the engine note may change allowing the perception of increased speed.  This is, in itself, no danger.

The danger point comes when the tyres make contact with the road surface again.  If the driver has panicked and put on any steering, the car will shoot off in the direction of steer, and, at the speed at which it makes road contact, perhaps heading straight for a ditch.  I have regularly discussed collisions with drivers who have been through just such an experience and ended up with injuries as a result.

Cruise control, unhappily, does not allow the driver to solve the problem of aqua planing, because the driver is unable to vary the vehicle speed through the use of the throttle.

Right then, here’s the professionals’ advice –

In wet conditions, concentrate even more than usual.  Without cruise control on, on observing standing water, anticipate that aquaplaning may occur and if it does deal with it thus:

With a calm approach throughout, apply a firm grip to the steering wheel and steer a straight course. Ease off the gas to allow the weight of the vehicle to settle back down through the surface of the water to re-make contact with the road in a controlled manner.  Continue the drive with the same care and attention.

So there you have it – Concentration, Observation, Anticipation. The starting point for all good driving!

That’ll be £250.00 in coaching fees please!!!  But, I pass it to you with love – and for free!

A. x

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- [Top]

And so the debate continues. I am loving it.

Thank you A, especially for the advice and the “no fee” what it is to have friends in high places and oh so knowledgeable. . xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Any more comments anyone


Comments are closed.