Even with years of experience, you may still get a little uncomfortable driving in bad weather conditions. And for older drivers with disabilities, slower reflexes or vision limitations, driving in the rain can be quite dangerous. The best thing you can do is to be prepared.
In wet conditions, areas of standing water can cause your vehicle’s tires to lose contact with the roadway. As speed increases, water between the tires and the road can build up until the tires begin to ride on a thin film of water. This is called hydroplaning.
Even with adequate tire tread, hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 30 mph. Usually a driver has little warning that a critical speed has been reached until a slight turn or curve causes a skid.
Braking in wet conditions is tricky business. Sudden, hard or prolonged braking can cause a skid.
If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), all you need to do is press the brake pedal and hold it down. Do not pump the brakes, because ABS does that very rapidly for you. The system automatically senses if a wheel begins to lock and quickly releases and reapplies the brakes as many times as necessary to keep the wheel from locking up.
If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, the best way to brake under these conditions is to use squeeze braking. For squeeze braking, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure on the brake pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal to a point where they just release. Adjust pedal pressure as necessary. This gives you the best combination of braking effort and directional control.