We all hear about the importance of safe and defensive driving during the wet road conditions brought by rain in San Francisco all throughout the winter season. Generally, all drivers are aware of the fact that it takes longer to stop a vehicle when it’s raining than when the road is dry, as water significantly decreases the friction between the tires and the road and the overall traction of the a vehicle. However, I believe that people only fully appreciate how difficult it is to break on the wet road and how much time and distance they need to stop their car abruptly only after they have to deal with this situation at least once.
Thus, in my opinion, every driver would greatly benefit by conducting an experiment on the road where they will have to face with the potentially dangerous conditions, so that they see how their vehicle responds to the need for a sudden stop on the wet road. Here is how you can make this experiment work for you. During one rainy day, drive your car out late at night to a safe area with no traffic. Position your vehicle straight on the road and mentally choose a point about 150 – 200 feet away from where you start driving. As you approach the chosing point, imagine that there is another car stopped in that spot and try to break as hard as you can to avoid colliding into that vehicle about 2-3 second before you arrive to the chosen point. This will simulate a common situation where the driver takes his eyes off the road for a few moments while the vehicle in front of him stops in traffic or at a stop light. You will be amazed to find out that your vehicle will likely skid far past the chosen point and that there is absolutely nothing you can do prevent your vehicle from skidding or almost sliding forward.
This experiment will provide you with an invaluable appreciation of the dangerous road conditions during rain and will likely make you drive slower and more carefully, keeping a large distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.