Driving at night in the rain

Tips for driving at night in the rain, including how to see better when passing oncoming traffic

If there is one driving situation that I like the least, it has to be driving at night when it is raining. It was like driving into a wet coal sack and many of the environmental cues that I used to position my vehicle were unavailable to me. Although proper vision was my biggest worry, traction is also reduced and that must be taken into account.

Rain scatters headlight beams and makes them less effective than they would be on a clear night. This means that I could not see as far as I might otherwise be able to. Add the ability of wet pavement to reflect the light of oncoming vehicles and the lines that I need to see are no longer visible.

I knew from driver training that I needed to focus on the dark part of the road when I met other vehicles. My peripheral vision monitored their position and my pupils would not close as much. If one looks at the headlights of approaching vehicles you will be blinded briefly after they pass.

Tire traction is reduced on wet pavement, particularly when the tread is worn. This means that my ability to turn, stop or accelerate is compromised. I must leave more room and moderate my speed to anticipate and react to the other vehicles around me.

The author is a retired constable with may years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.