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May 09 2020

Tips to Improve Visibility When Driving in the Rain


Driving in the rain always requires extra attention, because in this inclement weather a good number of conditions change that affect the behavior of the vehicle and the user's reactions. It has been shown that with this type of precipitation there are more accidents than with other phenomena such as snow, fog, hail, or wind (partly because it is more common). And one of the keys, when it rains, is the reduction of the visibility that affects the driver.

We've already discussed some tips for driving in the rain, so now we're going to focus on how it affects the visual environment from the driver's seat. It is clear that with a wet road there is a greater chance that the tires will lose grip and therefore suffer an accident. The well-known aquaplaning is also greatly feared. But many times what is underestimated is the reduced visibility that usually accompanies driving in the rain.

How Does Rain Affect Visibility?

We can start with the logic when it rains the sky is usually covered and therefore there is less ambient light. It must also be said that the drops when falling reduce the horizontal visibility of the user, which would be the maximum distance at which we can distinguish an object. These two factors already affect a lot while driving, but the effect multiplies at night. When the lighting comes from car headlights and street lamps, what the rain achieves is to filter out some of that light and reduce the lighted areas. It also changes the visual perception of surfaces or decreases the contrast between objects.

To this, we must add that all the vision that we perceive from inside a vehicle we do through the windshield and the windows. This is probably what affects the driver the most since the raindrops on this glazed surface cause the light to be distorted and the visual performance of the person is reduced. Unconsciously, the alert driver tries to pay attention to nearby points on the road, losing perspective, and the ability to anticipate in some situations.

How to Improve Visibility in the Rain?

We will start with the tips most related to vehicle maintenance, with having everything in perfect condition to prevent rather than cure. It goes without saying that the windshield must be in good condition, without any damage so that it does not adversely affect visibility. In fact, you can be fined for not complying. The wipers are in charge of evacuating the water on rainy days, so the brushes should not be neglected.

If you live in a rainy area it is no-nonsense to opt for a water repellent treatment. By using hydrophobic products, the drops can be slipped and the visibility through the windows can be improved considerably. It is also clear that the crystals fog faster when it rains. To avoid this effect, it is advisable to clean the windows and use ventilation correctly: with its specific function, air conditioning, and recirculation. There are also some other useful tricks.

A very general recommendation for driving in the rain is to turn on the car lights to see and be seen better. Long ones, like foggy days, do not improve the situation as they are reflected in raindrops and suspended humidity. The only fog in extreme situations, for the sake of all users and to avoid the fine associated with their misuse. Vision must be accustomed to these conditions and the driver must watch for puddles that may cause the dreaded aquaplaning. The type of asphalt also conditions the grip.

Considering the above, it is always necessary to increase the safety distance when driving in the rain. In this way, there is greater reaction time to unforeseen events. To achieve this you must always be aware of the lights of the cars ahead, so you can also anticipate possible dangers by seeing their reactions. Particular attention should be paid to large vehicles such as trucks and buses.

The reason is that its size and mass make its reactions slower. To this, we must add that they are capable of lifting large amounts of water when they pass through puddles, something that can frighten the drivers of passenger cars that come across them. If the situation gets too ugly, better to use common sense. There are times when it is best to proceed very cautiously to a safe stop and wait until the storm passes and conditions improve.


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