How to Drive in The Rain in Phoenix

A rainy day is a pretty infrequent occurrence here in the Valley of the Sun, and that’s precisely what makes the roads potentially dangerous when it does finally precipitate. Here are our top tips for driving in wet weather here in the Arizona desert. 

Don’t speed

For whatever reason, speeding is common on Phoenix-area roadways. While speeding isn’t safe in any weather, the dangers of speeding are amplified when the roads are wet. That’s because it takes longer to stop on wet roads than it does on dry roads, even more so when you’re traveling at high speeds. 

Increase your following distance

In addition to slowing down, you should give yourself plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. The Arizona Department of Public Safety recommends that you double both your following distance and stopping distance in the rain. 

Be prepared for slick roads

Oils accumulate on the road more in Phoenix than in other places that have more rain. When rain does fall, and especially heavy rain, the oils rise to the surface and make the road very slippery. If you’re used to driving in the rain in other locations, recognize this difference and make sure to follow the above recommendations to maintain control of your vehicle. 

Don’t slam on the brakes

If you do have to come to a sudden stop, avoid the urge to slam on the brakes when you’re driving in the rain. Because the roads are more slippery, slamming the brakes can cause your vehicle to hydroplane (when your tires lose contact with the road) or swerve out of your control. 

Keep your windshield wipers in good condition

Our dry climate means that wipers aren’t used particularly frequently and can become dry and cracked. Replace them before you need them in a rainstorm, and be sure to keep your windshield wiper fluid topped off, as well. Rain is often accompanied by blowing dust here in Arizona, especially during monsoon season, and this can limit your visibility and make your windshield dirty. 

Turn on your headlights, even during the day

Many cars have daytime running lights that are always on, but if your car isn’t equipped with these, it’s a good idea to turn on your headlights and taillights when driving in the rain so that your car is more visible. 

Don’t count on other drivers to know how to drive in the rain

Driving on wet roads is a skill that we don’t get much practice with, and many who have lived in Arizona their entire lives are uncomfortable driving in the rain. Be patient with others on the road, and if you’re concerned about your own driving skills or it’s raining so hard that you can’t see, pull over to a safe spot and wait for the storm to pass. 

Never drive around road closure signs

Because our ground is so hard in Arizona, a sudden rainstorm can cause flooding in some areas where the ground can’t quickly absorb the water. If you encounter a sign indicating that a roadway is closed, whether during or after a storm, it’s possible that there’s a flooded spot making the road impassable. If you ignore the signs and must be rescued by authorities, you will be responsible to pay for the cost of the rescue under Arizona’s Stupid Motorist Law. 

Avoid using cruise control

Even if you’re on a wide, open highway, using cruise control in any kind of wet-weather situation is a no-no. That’s because your vehicle will speed up if it begins to hydroplane, and this could cause you to lose control. 

Using common sense can help you drive safely in the rain, but having good driving skills is a must, too. Contact Stop and Go Driving School if you’d like to learn more about safe driving in the rain with an experienced, patient instructor.