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Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

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Cartoon man lifting his car in a flood
10 Aug 2015

Spring-time driving - with a little winter, autumn and summer, too!

Melbourne is often said to experience four seasons in one day and, despite its promise of warmer more settled weather, spring is the time when this can happen most. The new season's weather in Victoria really can "spring" from a sunny to driving rain and back to sun again, all before lunch time. So, what should you do if you find yourself on a leisurely Sunday drive and all seasons descend on you?

Adapt to the conditions

Speeds on Victorian roads are set at safe limits for normal conditions but you need to be able to adapt to changing conditions, such as lowering your speed should you be hit with foul weather. Driving at 100km/h isn't going to cut it when that dark cloud looms, visibility is poor and the rain comes down. 

Roads change throughout the day and you need to be able to adapt your driving style to suit the road you're on. Be aware that roads are often at their most slippery just after the rain starts. This is because all the oil and fluids that have built up on them over time are brought to the surface by the water on the road.

road after rain 

Give other road users more room, make yourself more visible

When conditions are bad we need to give ourselves and those around us more time to react. Simple things like increasing the distance between you and the car ahead, or turning on your lights to make yourself visible can make a huge difference.

car lights in rain 

Avoid sudden changes of direction and lane changing

When conditions are really bad, the risks in driving are amplified. There's less grip on the road when it is wet and sudden movements, like quick lane changes or swerving, can lead to loss of control.This is particularly true if conditions are icy.

Jim Morrison sang "Keep your eyes on the road, keep your hands upon the wheel" in 'Roadhouse Blues' and it's the best advice when road conditions turn particularly nasty. Like risky lane changes, the potential for distractions like phones' to mess with your driving is increased. And while cranking up the stereo can be fun while driving, turning the radio down or off is another way you can increase your concentration when you need to.

For more tips on driving in changing weather check out the TAC  and VicRoads websites.

The Doors Lyrics: Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel


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